Sun | Dec 3, 2023

PSOJ reluctant to criticise gov't, claims PNP president

Published:Tuesday | September 20, 2022 | 6:15 PM
The PSOJ has its renewed its call for the country's political leaders to come together to devise short-term strategies to combat crime. -File photo

Opposition Leader Mark Golding has accused the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) of being unwilling to criticise the Government, while being "fixated” on the People's National Party (PNP).

"The PSOJ seems reluctant to ever criticise the Government, don't you find?" argued Golding at a press conference today. He is also PNP president.

The PSOJ today renewed its call for the country's political leaders to come together to devise short-term strategies to combat crime.

It said citizens are living in fear and with anxiety and that it has been patient and constructive in supporting the nation's leaders, “but this situation is now becoming untenable and is taking a serious psychological and physical toll on us all”.

The PSOJ said it has not seen any Vale Royal talks nor has the public been advised of any “behind closed doors conversations” to take the country towards consensus. 

However, Golding said the PSOJ has been on a crusade around consensus on crime despite there not being a lack of common ground on policy.

He said the Opposition supported the firearms bill despite some "draconian" aspects to it as well as the Crime Monitoring and Oversight Committee (CMOC), a coalition of government and civic leaders. 

The PNP president argued that the government representative on the committee has frequently been absent from meetings.

Golding also said despite his repeated calls for continuous Vale Royal talks, where government and opposition discuss key national issues, there has been only one such meeting that was held in February this year. 

Nothing came out of the meeting, he contended. 

The PNP leader said that the responsibility for follow-ups lies with the Government because it has the administrative machinery to ensure that it happens.

"So, as far as I'm concerned it's not a situation where there is a lack of consensus. The only issue which we have not seen eye to eye on was the use of States of Emergency as a policing tool," he noted, adding that "...there's broad consensus on crime. There's no lack of consensus. So I'm not sure why the PSOJ is fixated on this issue and almost like they are trying to say it's up to the opposition to achieve consensus". 

"We have always been in favour of Vale Royal talks. We have always sought to be proactive and helpful at CMOC. We have been active at CMOC. It is the Government which has treated CMOC as something they don't believe in."

- Kimone Francis

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