Tufton gets bringle - Minister tells journalist to leave his private life alone; PNP says it is not behind accusations
Following a series of accusations levied against Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton on social media this week, the People's National Party (PNP) said it was not behind the 'dummy accounts' from which the disturbing claims have been made.
"We would not concoct anything like that. We would not concoct a story as that, on the basis that it is because of political reasons and the upcoming elections. That's not us! Not the PNP! We are not involved in the suss. That's not what we are about," opposition spokesperson on health and wellness, Dr Morais Guy told THE WEEKEND STAR.
The PNP distancing itself from the alleged entanglement matter came mere hours before a bringled Tufton dismissed a question from a journalist who asked him, "Did you cheat on your wife ...?"
"First of all, that is none of your business," Tufton told 18 Degrees North's Zarah Burton. He then suggested that the journalists questions be restricted to the operations of the health ministry.
"Just as I leave you to your private life, I would like you to allow me mine," he added.
Tongues have been wagging since Tuesday when two Instagram accounts appeared online from which a raft of unsavoury accusations about Tufton were made.
The minister, in a media release, described the accusations as "vile, filthy and scandalous" aimed at tainting his good name and reputation.
"These disgusting, vicious and false attributions made under the cover of social media have caused great pain and suffering and are clearly aimed at damaging my career as well as causing emotional distress," he said.
The minister said that the matter has been reported to the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
"I have also instructed my attorneys to use all available legal steps to ensure the prosecution of these cybercriminals and in any event, to seek recourse in the civil courts, when their identities are ascertained," he said.
Meanwhile, Guy said the PNP is only interested in whether Tufton's relationship with the head of the public relations firm has affected the governance of his ministry.
"It's not about any personal relationship that the health minister may have with this person, if any. We would like to know how does that affect the relationship as it pertains to good governance," he said.
He says if the procurement guidelines weren't followed, then there's the suggestion of either cronyism or nepotism.
"We just want to know that everything is above board. So, we are asking the minister to declare what the relationship is," he said. "If it is a business associate, fine. If it's a friend, fine. But what is the procurement guideline that gave this particular person over others who might have sought to get that particular contract from the ministry and from the Government?"