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More heads should roll, says Opposition

Published:Thursday | September 16, 2021 | 12:11 AMKimone Francis/Senior Staff Reporter
Mark Golding
Mark Golding

The parliamentary Opposition is calling for more heads to roll in the wake of the resignation of Agriculture Minister Floyd Green and government Councillor Andrew Bellamy on Wednesday after a video emerged showing the two among a group of people at a birthday party on Tuesday, a coronavirus no-movement day.

Opposition Leader Mark Golding and Spokesman on Finance Julian Robinson want a senior executive of the National Solid Waste Management Authority to be sacked, along with Richard Hamilton, a photographer employed to the Office of the Prime Minister.

Gabrielle Hylton, who was at the centre of the celebration and is a confidante of Green’s, has tendered her resignation from three government boards. She was also captured on the recording.

“Beyond MP Green and Councillor Bellamy, there are other public officials – people who are paid by taxpayers – who either work in central government or in government agencies for whom there should be sanctions,” Robinson told The Gleaner outside of Parliament on Wednesday.

He said that Hamilton, who works directly with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, was also captured in the 35-second-long video of maskless people toasting to no-movement day at the R Hotel in New Kingston.

“There should be action taken against them,” Robinson insisted.

Golding said, at the same time, that the prime minister had no choice but to ask for Green’s resignation and argued that others should follow.

He said that anyone captured in the footage who occupies positions of authority within the Government must step down.

“It cannot be a situation where the country is run with two different rules, with one set that applies to the masses of the people who have to stay at home and comply ... and the others being public officials who are being allowed to ignore them with impunity,” Golding argued.

He described it as a double standard and said that it has repeatedly manifested itself from the allowance of Mocha Fest in May, to the docking of the Carnival Sunrise cruise ship on lockdown on Monday, to the “braffing and flossing with champagne on a no-movement day”.

He warned that continued allowance of a flouting of the rules by those in authority risked eroding social cohesion.