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PNP raps Gov't for failure to communicate

Published:Monday | April 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding
Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller and Dr Peter Phillips, opposition spokesman on finance, address members of the media during a press conference hosted by the People’s National Party at its Old Hope Road, St Andrew headquarters yesterday.

Vocal team members of the People's National Party's (PNP) Council of Spokespersons yesterday chorused concerns about the "information gap" marring governance.

"It is clear that we are going to have a lot of work to do," declared Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller as she addressed journalists at the PNP's Old Hope Road, St Andrew, headquarters after the council's first meeting yesterday.

"We will be keeping the Government on its toes," asserted Simpson Miller as Opposition Spokesman on Finance Dr Peter Phillips rapped the Government for keeping quiet on critical matters since taking office a little over a month ago.

Phillips suggested yesterday that lack of transparency on the part of the Government was having a crippling effect on public confidence.

Simpson Miller and Phillips were accompanied by several members of the 22-strong council.

The opposition leader said members assigned to portfolios have been mandated to establish task forces in each area.

But the focus was centred on claims the Holness administration had already fallen down on the job.


Focus on drought


Simpson Miller urged the Government to immediately focus on drought-stricken areas, a sentiment that was echoed by Ian Hayles, the new spokesman on water.

Phillips zoomed in on what he described as misrepresentations from Finance Minister Audley Shaw.

He highlighted concerns a perception that the Government was ill-prepared to carry out its mandate.

He stressed that Shaw, as a government minister, must be circumspect in language and transparent and accurate in action.

"The uncertainty and failure to communicate will not be good for public confidence," he warned.

Phillips stressed that the council was determined that the gains made under the PNP's watch would not be sacrificed.

He said there were signs of a slowdown of economic activity, evident in a slight upward movement in interest rates, reflecting some uncertainty and ripples in the retail sector.

Peter Bunting, the former national security minister, returned to his pet peeve - concerns about a spike in murders that he said, appeared to have broken a four-month trend.

He said he expected the Government to provide additional resources for crime-fighting and urged careful consideration about its plans to purchase second-hand vehicles for the police.

"Proceed very carefully, as this may be short-term value, as police vehicles are used extensively," stressed Bunting.

He also called for National Security Minister Robert Montague, his successor in the post, to discourage the politicising of crime-fighting.