Dr Peter Phillips yesterday used his first conference as head of the 79-year-old Peoples National Party to go to bat for Jamaica's NIS pensioners, noting that the last time they got an increase was in January 2013.
Dr. Phillips said there should be no more delays in granting an increase to the more than 100,000 national insurance pensioners. "You can tell a lot about a society by how it treats its elderly and those workers in the twilight of their years. It is unfortunate that the last time our NIS pensioners got an increase was in January 2013."
Dr. Phillips said that, since the last increase almost five years ago, the price of medicine, food and transportation has increased many times. He reminded the Government of its pledge in the run-up to the 2016 general election, to increase the minimum wage but to date it has failed to honour its commitment.
In his hour long presentation, Phillips castigated the Andrew Holness led government over its poor stewardship of the country since taking office in March 2016, describing the government as in over its head in terms of managing the country.
The Opposition Leader said this JLP Government came into office on a wave of false promises and remains there through corruption.
Phillips said the Government “scammed” Jamaicans with its $1.5-million tax break implemented last year; failed to double minimum wage as promised; and offered corruption instead of good governance.
“…Those who want to lead must demonstrate high standards of integrity,” he stressed.
He castigated the Government's attempt at crime management, arguing that it is rampant in every parish and, equally, that the entire Jamaica is becoming a crime zone.
He said year-to-date murders are up 25 per cent when compared to last year, noting that, under the current Administration “one Jamaican is killed every four hours”.
The PNP president said, while his party is not averse to the Zones of Special Operations — it is not a crime plan, and pointed to the party's five-point plan put forward to address the surging crime rate.
He again called on the Government to replace the $2 billion taken from the national security budget; replenish the $20-billion legal defence fund for police that his party started; mobilise the court system to facilitate speedier trials by having courts meeting routinely and for later hours to reduce backlog; fast-track the debate concerning legislation to guarantee independence for the operations of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency; and facilitate a national approach to crime.
“We are prepared, as a party, to meet with the Government, the trade unions, private sector, churches, human rights groups, and citizens' associations. Quite frankly, we are prepared to meet with anyone who is prepared to meet with us, because we are putting Jamaica first and we want to see crime go down in Jamaica,” he said.
“Even as the country is being overwhelmed by crime and violence, the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) has no crime plan. In a time when the country needs more tourist arrivals, the two airports have been closed because of incompetence. They promised a tax break without a tax take and we end up with two massive tax packages. In the economy they promised growth, but up until now all we have experienced is hardship. Jamaica is under the threat of gun violence and they give gun licences to known criminals,” Phillips said.
The PNP leader told the thousands of enthusiastic comrades, that “The People's National Party must not be just about winning power, we want to win power for the purpose of serving and building a better Jamaica… We are a party dedicated to serving the Jamaican people and uplifting the oppressed and the downtrodden.
It is clear that the current Government doesn't share our mission for the country,” he said to rousing applause from enthused Comrades.
- Countries: Jamaica