Opposition Leader Blasts Wasteful Government

Release Date: 
Monday, October 20, 2014 - 17:00

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness has come down hard on the government of Jamaica for their recent handling of the deportation of Abu Bakr.  He observed, ‘We probably will never know the intelligence which guided the decision to return Yasim Abu Bakr to Trinidad without delay.  Mr. Abu Bakr must have been a very great threat to Jamaica's national security, greater than Chikungunya and apparently much greater than Ebola.’  He continued by asking “Was Mr. Abu Bakr so great a threat that the Government felt it more important to spend J$4 million to hire a private jet to get him out of the country immediately than to use that money for a far more clear and present danger?”

Mr. Holness went on to note that the sum of J$4 million expended could easily augment Jamaica’s preparedness efforts to deal with the real and more important threat of Ebola, and that the government doesn't seem to have considered this alternative way to spend $4 million.

He said "Given that the government has just acquired seemingly for show, a couple of handheld infrared thermometers, and that there are from reports a clear lack of protective wear available in the country, this does not in any way inspire confidence in the government's ability to plan and implement the country’s emergency health management programme, which is so critical at this time."

The Opposition Leader insisted that the PNP does not have a culture of frugality or of setting priorities anchored to the identified needs of the Jamaican population and this has become a feature of their government. He reminded  ‘They will buy expensive vehicles, and travel excessively during a time of proclaimed belt tightening. They will never volunteer a pay cut in solidarity and as a moral example to the people of Jamaica. They will pass legislation to fund political parties at a time when public expenditure is insufficient in critical areas such as health and justice. However, the PNP because of their culture, will never consider the strain on the public purse and forgo accepting state funds for political parties.’

Mr. Holness concluded that the PNP led government has a distorted sense of priorities. He questioned, ‘You have $4 million, do you spend it on hiring a private jet to send home someone who could easily be placed on a commercial flight, or do you use it to acquire several hundred bio hazard suits, a couple hundred handheld infrared thermometers, or better yet a standing body scanner that could get someone's vital signs as they pass by without too much delay, contact or intrusion at our major airports?.’

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