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An embarrassed PNP

Published:Thursday | January 21, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Opposition People's National Party - through a failure of strategic planning and the ineptitude of its inarticulate and intellectually flat-footed House whip, Derrick Kellier - turned what was a potentially simple issue into an embarrassing political defeat on Tuesday.

The Opposition had pressed for a parliamentary debate on the Government's economic programme in the face of recent big tax packages and the country's planned return to a borrowing relationship with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Mrs Portia Simpson Miller, however, did argue that the fashioning of a credible economic programme did demand the involvement of all sides.

When the Parliament finally resumed on Tuesday the PNP, having called for a debate, and knowing when the sittings would resume, said it was not ready. This, given recent developments, including the conclusion of the agreement with the IMF and the debt-swop initiative, ought not to have been a difficult matter to sell.

Fearful and in retreat

But Mr Kellier's muddled presentation suggested an Opposition fearful and in retreat, when someone of a greater grasp of context and nuance would have easily outlined his party's concerns in the face of the new developments. In any event, the PNP need not have sought to delay the debate, given that the Government side would speak first. They would have time to study the documents, unless there is an over-reliance on the absent shadow finance minister, Dr Omar Davies.

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