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NATIONAL POLITICAL DEBATES - Sharp attack! Pryce, Malahoo Forte trade insults

Published:Sunday | December 11, 2011
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Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

The Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Marlene Malahoo Forte and the People's National Party's (PNP) Raymond Pryce traded sharp verbal attacks that threatened to erupt into fireworks during last night's National Political Debate at the Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC).

Pryce criticised the JLP for wasting funds in the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme instead of changing "inner cities to winner cities", employing one of many common political rhetorics throughout the debate.

He defended the action of five PNP officials, including President Portia Simpson Miller, to use the court to avoid being forced to answer questions about the Trafigura donation to the party, saying it was their constitutional right to do so.

But Malahoo Forte suggested that the action of the PNP showed that it was paying "lip service" to the fight against corruption.

Pryce retorted: "As a former resident magistrate, to so callously disregard the rules of the court and our Constitution is shameless, graceless and vulgar."

That comment would draw a terse response from the JLP debater: "What Raymond has done demonstrates the old politics of nasty attacks and getting personal, and it is so wrong. I know many of you, like me, are just tired of that old politics," said Malahoo Forte.

Five PNP officials are now before the court regarding the donation of $31 million to the party in 2006. The PNP has claimed that it returned the money, which it said was a contribution, but the Dutch authorities are probing Trafigura for bribery and want to question the PNP officials about the donation.