MIDDLE QUARTERS, St Elizabeth — Cabinet Minister Dr Christopher Tufton is urging Jamaicans to be patient as the economic growth now taking place will eventually address poverty in the society.
“This debate that is taking place about growth and poverty is a debate that I don’t think is necessary. In fact, I have a message for my colleague and my friend who I respect — the clean, clean Minister of Finance Nigel Clarke — stop arguing with dem people a talk about growth versus poverty and claiming seh we a grow, but we have poverty at the same time and how you explain [it]. One simple explanation, you have to have growth before you solve poverty. You have to grow the economy before you address the people who are poor,” Tufton said at the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Brompton divisional conference in support of Councillor Withney Smith-Currie at the Middle Quarters Primary School on Sunday night.
“We don’t need to get into a highfalutin PhD-type of conversation. Under this Andrew Holness Administration we have grown the economy unlike any other Administration and the mango deh pon the tree, the mango a ripe, nuh listen to the voodoo economics about the fluxy mango. The Jamaican people are better off under the Jamaica Labour Party because of how we have managed the economy,” said Tufton, the Member of Parliament (MP) for St Catherine West Central.
“Let us continue on this journey, because to stop this journey is to make the Jamaican people worse off. I am making a passionate plea to you; don’t allow anything or anyone to sidestep from the vision of the Labour Party that will carry this country to the prosperity that it deserves. We are on our way, we are doing well and don’t make no voodoo economics fool you up or make you have doubts about what we are doing. Prosperity comes first before we solve the poverty issue and we are on our way to prosperity to make it work,” he added.
Dr Tufton urged Labourites to remain focused and not allow the party to lose its footing in St Elizabeth South Western.
“It is not that Jamaicans are excited about the [People’s National Party] or excited about the gentleman [Mark Golding] who says he is their leader. We must be careful as Labourites that we do not allow them to win by default [meaning] we take things for granted,” he said.
Tufton, a former Member of Parliament for St Elizabeth South Western, lost that seat by 13 votes in the December 2011 General Election.
In the 2020 General Election, the JLP’s Floyd Green won the seat over the PNP’s Ewan Stephenson by 2,090 votes, the largest margin of victory in the weathervane constituency since 1989.
In 2016, Green defeated former PNP MP Hugh Buchanan by 2,057 votes.
“I am alright in St Catherine West Central and Floyd Green is alright in South West St Elizabeth, but I lost South West St Elizabeth because of complacency of Labourites who never went out,” Dr Tufton said.
“Don’t make it happen to this lady [Smith-Currie] right here, because we have enough Labourites to retain the Brompton Division and for Floyd Green to retain South West St Elizabeth when that time comes in a year or year-and-a-half time. Tell your neighbour and tell your friend we are better under the Jamaica Labour Party Government,” added Tufton.