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'Shut it down!' - PNP president tells Holness to give up power if he cannot replace Wheatley

Published:Sunday | August 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has told Prime Minister Andrew Holness to shut down his administration if he is unable to find a competent minister to replace Dr Andrew Wheatley at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy.

It has been more than two weeks since Wheatley resigned as minister amid a scandal at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (Petrojam) and other agencies under his portfolio.

Since then, Holness has assumed responsibility for the ministry as reviews of the board and other ministerial matters are being conducted with the promise that within two weeks of completion, a new minister will be named.

But addressing a People's National Party (PNP) constituency conference in North West Manchester on the weekend, Phillips chided Holness, charging that he has been unable to manage the affairs of the country.



"The prime minister ... . I don't know what he saying about other ministers, but if him can't find one, him four up at Jamaica House. Mike Henry was a minister before, Warmington was minister in the previous administration, Karl Samuda was a minister in the previous administration.

"What the prime minister is saying ... that he cannot decide, then not one of them [can be minister]? Are they so incompetent?" Phillips questioned as supporters in the crowd speculated that Fayval Williams and Juliet Holness, the prime minister's wife, are the front-runners to replace Wheatley.

"If all his ministers are incompetent, close down the Government. Shut it down and make a proper government go in place," the PNP president suggested.

The administration is approaching mid-term and general elections are not constitutionally due until 2021.

Phillips also rejected Holness' intervention into the affairs of the ministry through a review of boards and the laying out of policy direction.

"Is that not the job of the minister to be appointed?" Phillips questioned.

Phillips complained that while the prime minister has been silent on the matters of corruption and on who will replace Wheatley, "dem talking about dress code".

Last week, Holness announced the suspension of the no-sleeveless policy, which was being arbitrarily imposed at government agencies.

The announcement has been welcomed with open arms by some stakeholder groups and individuals who have heaped praises on the prime minister for the move.