Phillips: Prosperity not reaching the average Joe
People’s National Party (PNP) President Dr Peter Phillips has painted a dismal picture of the Andrew Holness-led Government’s stewardship of Jamaica since 2016, telling a Gleaner Editors’ Forum on Tuesday that despite the buoyant economy, Jamaica was facing crises in several quarters.
“We have had two ministers who have resigned or [been] removed from office under the cloud of corruption allegations. There have been numerous other allegations,” he said, lamenting that the governance process was stained by corruption.
“We have many of our economic sectors in crisis, in agriculture, and elsewhere, with a dwindling space for local industry, in construction, in tourism, etc, despite the buoyancy. Prosperity is not reaching the ordinary people,” he added.
Phillips, who is the opposition leader, is facing a Peter Bunting challenge to his leadership of the party, which he received by acclamation in 2017 on the retirement of Portia Simpson Miller.
At the forum, he made the case for his continued stewardship of the party as a competent and focused man, saying that the PNP was only an election away from the reins of Government but must first hurdle the internal contest.
“In this critical juncture in which we find ourselves, Jamaica is in need of a unified, focused, competent People’s National Party. I believe I offer that leadership, that ability to unite, that vision that is the authentic PNP through to its historic visions,” said Phillips, who served as minister of heath, transportation and works, finance and planning, and national security.
He said a good balance of youth and experience is now evident in the PNP, and nearly all its candidates caretakers were in place.
Party delegates will cast their ballots in the presidential race on September 7 at a special delegates conference, two weeks before the PNP’s annual conference.
“My mission – since none of us will be here forever – is to encourage and propel not only young people in the party, but people who are committed to and embedded in the fundamental values of the PNP – values of up upliftment and the vision of a Jamaica that is inclusive,” he told Gleaner editors and reporters.
Phillips said that the majority of Jamaicans were vulnerable to shocks of every kind, especially corruption and crime and violence, which are now features of almost every community.