Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Holness says Spencer should withdraw controversial RADA comment

Published:Wednesday | March 21, 2018 | 2:31 PM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness with Senior Reporter Edmond Campbell during an interview today - Rudolph Brown photo

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter 

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says he is expecting the State Minister for Finance and the Public Service Rudyard Spencer to withdraw the controversial comment he made on Sunday that Labourites would now get increased services through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority with a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) member as chairman.

Spencer was speaking at a JLP meeting in Bellefield, Manchester.

In an one-on-one interview with The Gleaner at Jamaica House today, Holness distanced himself and his administration from the style of politics articulated by Spencer.

"I think it is a very unfortunate and inappropriate statement and I am expecting that Minister Spencer will make a fulsome withdrawal of the statement and will do everything in his powers to ensure that no such statement is made again," Holness declared.

Spencer has said he regretted that his statement was interpreted to be tribal and conceded that his views could have been otherwise expressed.

READ: It's a tribal interpretation, says Spencer

Holness told The Gleaner that he had not yet spoken to Spencer to hear his side of the story, but noted that he read the comments in the media. 

"It is on my agenda to deal with," Holness said.

"I want to make it absolutely clear that the Government that I lead will not use party politics to distribute public resources. We have had this accusation made before and I dealt with it and continue to ensure that the ministers follow the policies that I have set in this regard," Holness stated.

Pointing to what he said was a general challenge in local politics, Holness said some politicians believe that the distribution of public goods must be partisan.

"This is not what I believe. This is not what I authorise in any way in my Government and I will take action to ensure that there is nothing that is done that would suggest what is said is true. Politicians will talk, but the real thing is that you have to make sure that there is nothing done that would suggest that benefits at RADA are distributed along political lines," he said.


READ SPENCER'S COMMENTS BELOW:

SPENCER: Labourites, we have a system where we will now have our own chairman of RADA and things have been happening and things can happen at RADA. But naturally, you will meet some bottlenecks because we have just taken over the system and we are trying to find our way around the system. Where you never have a parish manager for RADA, you now have a Labourite being the chairman of RADA, so whatever problems you use to have …

(Spencer pauses to hear advice of someone reminding him that the media were present.) 

SPENCER: No, no I want them hear. 

MAN IN AUDIENCE: Mine weh you a talk seh

SPENCER: Whatever problems you use to have, I believe now most of those problems would have gone away because you have your own manager to assist in the management of RADA … So therefore, you can’t say that you are getting no attention, you can’t say nothing is happening, because in fairness, you have your own manager, to report whatever problems you have and expect him to solve those problem.

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