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PM accuses JLP of 'mashing up local government'

Published:Wednesday | March 21, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Horace Fisher, Gleaner Writer

"If we can find the solutions for the communities, we will also find the solutions for the country," declared People's National Party (PNP) president and Jamaica's prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller, ahead of the presentation of Clarendon's 22 PNP local government representatives, in Frankfield, Clarendon, last week Friday.

Simpson Miller used the PNP's Frankfield spot meeting to question the sincerity of opposition leader Andrew Holness' call for "balance" that is, a PNP-controlled central government and a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)-controlled local government.

"I heard (Holness) begging for mercy and half and half, but I asked how and why the JLP didn't call the local government elections and say to the people, we (JLP) are in charge of central government, so vote for the PNP in the local government elections," asked Simpson Miller to a thunderous response.

"This local government elections isn't a simple one, it's rather a very important one, because you cannot have central government moving in a progressive path and local government being static and standing still; therefore, vote for councilor candidates who will represent your best interests, candidates who will push the agenda of local government," insisted Simpson Miller in front of a sea of orange-clad comrades in the Frankfield square.

Rubbished

Simpson Miller rubbished the JLP's recommendations that local government be accorded a mere department of government and accused the labourites of "mashing up local government" while pointing out the PNP's handling of local government portfolio since forming the government after the December 29 general election.

"The JLP mash up the local government system; four years ago, they put local government in the Office of the Prime Minister but as soon as we (PNP) take over, I made sure to appoint not only a minister of local government but also a minister of state for local government, to demonstrate this government's commitments to local government. Local government is critical for the renewal and development of communities in Jamaica," said Simpson Miller.

She also scoffed at Holness' characterisation of the upcoming local government elections as a referendum on Simpson Miller's stewardship, and instead suggested that the referendum took place from the December 29. She said the people of Jamaica gave her an overwhelming mandate, while rejecting the JLP's perceived arrogance.