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Holness stands firm on access to information claims

Published:Tuesday | October 8, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has pushed back at statements made by Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips about private discussions they had about two controversial resolutions.

The resolutions, which would have increased the wait time for members of the public who want to access Cabinet documents from 20 years to 70 years, have since been withdrawn in the Senate by the Holness administration following public backlash. It is expected to be withdrawn in the Lower House today.

The public row between the two leaders began after Holness claimed that he had sought and received Phillips’ support for the two resolutions when they met behind the speaker’s chair in the House of Representatives last week.

Phillips rejected this assertion in a scathing statement on the weekend, describing Holness’ account of their talks as untrue and “an incomplete and unfaithful representation of the conversation between us”.

But Jamaica House insisted yesterday that Holness “stands by his statements regarding his briefing of the leader of the Opposition and the response of the leader of the Opposition”.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Phillips intimated that he would be seeking to have a third party present during any discussions with Holness going forward.