MILE GULLY, Manchester — Opposition Leader Mark Golding says while he has no issue with recent calls by Prime Minister Andrew Holness for there to be a political consensus on crime, the Government needs to use existing mechanisms that allow it.
“I hear the prime minister the other day talking about the need for consensus on crime. It is easy to say things like that, enuh, but you have to be prepared to walk the walk,” Golding told the People’s National Party’s Manchester North Western constituency conference in Mile Gully last Saturday.
“I have been calling for the Vale Royal Talks to be a mechanism by which we can discuss issues of importance to the country. Yuh know seh is one time I meet with Andrew Holness since I became leader of the Opposition in November 2020… one meeting, for the Vale Royal Talks, in February of this year. Since then we have heard nothing about it,” said Golding.
He charged that the crime management and oversight committee “…which is the mechanism for consensus around national security”, had also been given scant attention by the Government.
“The private sector groups are on it. The Opposition is on it. The Government is on it. But I hear Minister [Horace] Chang stop come to the meetings. Months on months dem boycotting the consensus mechanism so how you talking about you want consensus and when the mechanism for consensus is there and you’re not attending the meeting” said Golding.
“We will always be constructive and try to help the Government when it comes to national security because we want Jamaicans to feel safe in their homes… Is this prime minister promised them that they could sleep with their windows and doors open. It was a cruel joke…,” added Golding.
He said the Opposition supports measures that will tackle crime once there are no human rights breaches.
“What we won’t do is join them on any kind of unconstitutional escapade to take away the rights of the Jamaican people; wi nuh inna that,” he said.
He said the national security minister had approached him “just this week” asking for a meeting to discuss proposals he (Golding) had made.
“Mi seh ‘No problem, man. We will work together and try to find a better mechanism for dealing with this problem, and ensure that the security forces have the right tools,'” said Golding.
He emphasised that the PNP, under his leadership, was committed to putting the country first, ahead of partisan political considerations.
“The country doesn’t have to worry about our approach when it comes to consensus; we will always work in the best interest of the Jamaican people. We put people before politics,” he said.