The PNP lacks credibility on corruption

July 12, 2019

I had another column for today, but I had to stop and construct this because of something that happened in Half-Way Tree on Thursday. The opposition People’s National Party (PNP) staged what it described as an anti-corruption vigil in protest of alleged corruption within the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) government.

Now I am not going to suggest that the JLP is corruption-free, with the ongoing Petrojam debacle and the never-ending Ruel Reid/Caribbean Maritime University drama, which is possibly the mother of all recent scandals. However, how can the PNP, which still has members in court over Trafigura, pretend to have the temerity to accuse anyone of corruption?

The Trafigura case, which involved the $31-million donation to the PNP from Trafigura Baheer, first became known in 2006. That was the same year that I got married, and this November, I will celebrate my 13th anniversary. Still, the PNP is yet to testify in open court over the matter.

Before that was the Cuban light-bulb scandal that cost Jamaica hundreds of millions, and before that, a list of matters longer than my arm.

I say all this not to suggest that they do not have a right or just cause to protest but to say that a party that lacks credibility of any sort when it comes to corruption cannot suddenly be our moral arbiter.

If they decide to testify in the Trafigura matter and clear the air on that issue, maybe then, we will be convinced that the PNP is moving in a new direction. Maybe if they had investigated and successfully prosecuted the public figures involved in the many scandals that marked their 18-year term in office, they would have had a leg to stand on.

So from where I stand, this is just another ploy to turn people against the government, one that I don’t believe will be as effective as they believe because all those who would have gathered in Half-Way Tree yesterday are already party diehards desperate for a change in public opinion about the JLP.

Look, I am all for the fight against corruption, a scourge that has held Jamaica back for decades, but any such movement cannot be led by a party that has more skeletons in its closet than any of Jamaica’s graveyards.

In my world, the black pot of the PNP should not be calling the JLP’s kettle black.

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