Friday 27 November, 2020

Hanna accuses Gov't of withholding water from PNP communities

The People’s National Party's Lisa Hanna makes a point during Tuesday's general election debate.

The People’s National Party's Lisa Hanna makes a point during Tuesday's general election debate.

Member of the debate team representing the People’s National Party (PNP) in the first of three nationally televised general election debates, Lisa Hanna, has accused the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) government of “sabotaging” PNP communities as it regards access to water.

Tuesday night’s debate was focused on social issues.

Hanna and Raymond Pryce, who were both last minute replacements for Peter Bunting and Krystal Tomlinson, represented team PNP alongside Dr Dayton Campbell. Team JLP was represented by Dr Christopher Tufton, Kamina Johnson Smith and Floyd Green.

Hanna made her allegation of sabotage as she responded to Green who, in his response to a question, had just outlined what he said were the achievements of the JLP in getting water to communities, some of which had been without the life-saving commodity for decades.

But, when she rebutted, Hanna noted that there were many communities still without water despite, she said, the JLP using the blueprint that the PNP left in 2016. 

“What the JLP does is sabotage PNP constituencies from not having water,” she charged.

Green would have none of it, insisting that the JLP had done a good job in the area of water, while the PNP merely talked about what it had in the pipeline. This was while he tried to make the point about which party was better at managing the country’s escalating water problem. He took a slap at the PNP by pointing out that it was the Opposition party, while it was in government, that laid a pipeline but never bothered to ensure that it was connected. That was a reference to a 1990s Washington Boulevard project where the pipelines were laid but not connected thus rendering them useless.

“They are the Pipeline National Party,” Green quipped.

Meanwhile, Hanna, in her opening two minutes, also charged that the JLP was merely a “great PR machine…that will tell you that there’s prosperity for everyone but it’s not true. It’s actually only out there for a few people and the majority of people are feeling desperate”.

Hanna argued that the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the problems in the country with many people being thrown out of work.

She said the PNP has been the party that has perennially taken Jamaica out of periods of adversity and will do so again. She said the PNP had a younger, more diverse team of candidates for the September 3 general elections. She also said the PNP’s council of spokespersons, which she said is "160 years younger than the JLP Cabinet", will get the job done to rebuild Jamaica.

Tufton countered strongly in his opening two minutes, outlining some of the achievements of the JLP over the past four-and-a-half years it has been in office as he made the case as to why Jamaicans should return the party to government.

“We’ve created over 100,000 jobs during that period with unemployment being the lowest it has ever been in history. We have done more for the poor; poverty has declined by some 40 per cent. We have delivered for education ….” Tufton began.

He also pointed to increased subsidy for students at the primary and secondary levels and noted the restructuring of students’ loans to create more loans, longer repayment periods and a lower interest rate. Tufton said the government has delivered in healthcare including in its management of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Minister of Health and Wellness, while pointing to opinion polls which show that a majority of Jamaicans are satisfied with the government’s handling of the crisis, asked “Do we really want to hand the management of this crisis to inexperienced hands?” 

The debate covered a range of topics including crime, housing, roads, the disabled community and women’s issues among others.

The second debate takes place Thursday night and will see Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke and Opposition spokesman on Finance, Mark Golding squaring off on financial matters.

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