Mon | Nov 30, 2020

‘Crash programme’ manifesto - JLP on the attack as September 3 polls draw near

Published:Monday | August 31, 2020 | 12:17 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer

Prime Minister Andrew Holness might have been too courteous to People’s National Party (PNP) President Dr Peter Phillips in Saturday night’s leadership debate by not rubbishing the manifesto that the latter’s party has published, veteran Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) politician Karl Samuda has said.

“I had the great privilege of listening intently to the debates that took place over the past few days, and if I were a betting man, I could not find one single horse other than the Jamaica Labour Party horses to bet on,” Samuda said Sunday evening.

He was addressing a virtual JLP mass meeting being held mere days away from the September 3 polls.

On Saturday night, Holness and Phillips squared off in the leadership debate organised by the Jamaica Debates Commission.

“I found in that presentation a sense of maturity, understanding, compassion. In fact, it was his compassion that I hoped he hadn’t extended so graciously because the level of nonsense that was being promoted and the genuine intellectual robbery that took place by the president and leader of the Opposition, Dr Phillips, deserved to have been thrashed properly and sent to the boundary,” Samuda stated as he labelled the PNP manifesto another “crash programme”, likening it to the much-criticised welfare project of the Michael Manley era.

Holness, who spoke at Sunday’s event, claimed that some of the promises outlined in the PNP’s manifesto would destroy the economy. He was especially critical of the PNP’s pledge to give $48,000 to Jamaican households. Holness estimated that the total spend would be almost $200 billion.

CREDIT CLARIFICATION

The PNP has, since the manifesto’s initial publication, indicated that not all Jamaicans would receive the $4,000 monthly credit to their utility bills, but about 360,000 households. The party has billed that pledge at $18 billion.

According to Damion Crawford, a vice-president of the PNP, only those with electricity usage below a certain threshold would benefit.

Holness contended on Sunday night that the PNP could not be trusted, pointing out that the Simpson Miller administration had promised to remove general consumption tax from electricity but had reneged on that commitment.

“It is clear that there is one party, one leader, that has demonstrated the competence and ability to deliver to the people of Jamaica, and that is the Jamaica Labour Party,” Holness said.

The JLP leader promised that young people below the age of 35 would have access to 10,000 houses at zero per cent interest. He also said that the elderly would receive a social pension.

“This is something that we have planned and budgeted, and we will ensure that those elderly persons are taken care of,” he said.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com