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Bloomfield says Outameni answers insufficient

Published:Thursday | November 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Jermaine Barnaby/Photographer East Portland MP Dr Lynvale Bloomfield in Parliament on April 9, 2014.

A GOVERNMENT backbencher on Tuesday declared that Jamaicans should engage in deep introspection and deal decisively with issues such as the Outameni saga which is unfolding in the country if they are going to be in a strong position to deal with issues such as reparation.

Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, the member of parliament for Eastern Portland, closed his contribution to a debate on reparation in the House of Representatives charging that the country should deal with internal issues such as activities at Coral Gardens, Pinnacle, and Outameni, which have become a blot on the country's image.

"(There are) some issues that need to be addressed in our whole healing process before we can bring closure. We must deal with Coral Gardens, we must deal with Pinnacle, and we must deal with Outameni. Regardless of the perspectives, these suggest to us that we are at a place in our history and our psychology when confrontation is necessary - not to be violent, not to be antagonistic, but rather to move hand in hand, as we go forward to seek reparation," Bloomfield said.

He told legislators that it is of critical importance that Jamaicans find themselves and create a national image, which he argued would be given impetus through reparation and repatriation for some.

"All of what I am saying is that we need to do the introspection to come to terms with who we are. Some people look at Coral Gardens differently, others look at Pinnacle from a different perspective, and Outameni is the most recent issue," Bloomfield said outside of Parliament.

The parliamentary opposition has been riding the Outameni horse, holding it up as an example of bad governance. The matter revolves around the purchase of a nine-acre plot of land by the National Housing Trust at Orange Grove, Trelawny, which housed the Outameni Experience attraction.

"I don't intend to get into the pros and cons. It is the principle of how we approach it. There is an issue, it's a major issue," Bloomfield told The Gleaner even as the Opposition tabled questions to get answers about the deal.

"Right now, a lot of people have become overly emotional, taking some facts out of the whole thing. A text out of context becomes a dangerous pretext," Bloomfield said.

"Nobody seems to be getting all the facts, nobody is admitting 'yes you were right' ... you just say something because you were in possession of something and let it out there almost irresponsibly. I think what is missing in the first place in getting the truth is to look at the facts, line them up chronologically, put them together, take ownership of what is there, and then we can move forward," the government backbencher said.

He added: "Right now, we still don't know some of the things. Some of the things are just being put together; we never knew that some board members were never present. We never knew that the board in general never knew some things; we did know the outline of what the purchase involves."