Sunday 15 September, 2019

G2K/PNPYO standoff in the making over ‘Hitler’ comparison with Holness

G2K President, Stephen Edwards.

G2K President, Stephen Edwards.

Stephen Edwards, President of Generation 2000 (G2K), the young professional arm of the governing Jamaica Labour Party, has decided not to share any platform with Krystal Tomlinson until she issues an apology directly to Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Tomlinson, the President of the People’s National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO), came under fire for her recent statement in which she described Holness as a dictator whom she liked to the world’s worst ever tyrant, Adolf Hitler.

Edwards, in a post on his official Twitter page on May 24, said the political ombudsman sent a letter to G2K calling on him to attend a forum to be held under the theme, ‘Dialogue and Women’s Political Participation Project’.

Stephenson said he turned down the invitation.

“Today I declined an invitation from the political ombudsman to participate in a focus group,” the post from Edwards stated.

“NB: I will not be sharing any platform with Ms Tomlinson until she issues a full apology directly to the MHPM (most honourable prime minister) and to the victims of the holocaust for making light of their suffering,” continued the post from Edwards.

In his letter of response to the political ombudsman, Edwards pointed to September 2018 when he said he participated in a forum on political code of conduct in Jamaica that was organised by the ombudsman’s office. Edwards said both Tomlinson and Opposition and PNP leader, Dr Peter Phillips, also participated in the forum, which he said “preached the importance of political tolerance”.

In claiming that verbal commitments given at the forum “have not been translated into action by some,” Edwards said he is shocked that Tomlinson’s “reprehensible remarks” against the prime minister “have seemingly gone unchecked by the Opposition leader, the PNP general secretary and yourself (the Political Ombudsman, Donna Parchment Brown),” whom he said were all at the forum last September.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness and People's National Party (PNPYO) President, Krystal Tomlinson.

While Edwards may be right about the PNP officers, it should be noted that reports have emerged that the political ombudsman will be investigating the statements from Tomlinson.

The G2K president’s comments have since triggered mixed reaction from social media users.

One social media user, for example, said she agreed with Edwards.

“Straight, and furthermore I see the ombudsman comment on frivolous matters against the JLP, yet not a letter in the alphabet, much less a word on the prime minister’s disrespect,” said the user in reference to the comments Tomlinson made about Holness.

"Stand up for what you believe in," said another user, Janice Richards

But another user disagreed.

"Two fools make many. Stupid reason to decline. Is the PM beyond criticism?" asked the user who was identified as ‘WinJnr’.

There were other critical perspectives, along with some middle-of-the-road opinions.

"You are so shallow and transparent. Just (like) many of your colleagues on both sides of the (political) divide. How depressing," said another user, Yani H.

“Interesting how politics often mirrors religion. Each side is right, all the while ignoring the bigger picture. Your religion/love for the country should bring ppl together, not divide them. The focus group is another opportunity to show such. With all due respect, put ppl first. P.e.a.c.e,” said a user.

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