Thursday 5 December, 2019

Phillips apologises for ‘derogatory’ Labourite comments

Phillips’ apology comes in the wake of mounting criticism, including from the influential Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), whose President, Howard Mitchell blasted the PNP which he said was still “training political dinosaurs”.

Phillips’ apology comes in the wake of mounting criticism, including from the influential Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), whose President, Howard Mitchell blasted the PNP which he said was still “training political dinosaurs”.

Member of Parliament for North West Manchester, the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Mikhail Phillips, has apologised to supporters of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) for derogatory statements he made against them on the weekend.

Phillips’ apology comes in the wake of mounting criticism, including from the influential Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), whose President, Howard Mitchell blasted the PNP which he said was still “training political dinosaurs”.

In his apology on Wednesday, Phillips said: “If this was interpreted as derogatory to my political opponents and generally offensive to others, I am expressing regret. I would like to apologise for any offence that my presentation may have caused.”

The usually reserved Phillips stirred controversy while addressing his constituency conference on the weekend when he declared: “No Labourite can come ya and go on like North West Manchester a dem yard because when we tek road, all boy haffi run weh and all gyal pickney haffi tek wey demself.”

Phillips made the remark while giving an account of his stewardship of the constituency.

For that, and recent comments made by the party’s caretaker/candidate for North East St Elizabeth, Basil Waite, the PNP in general, and Waite and Phillips in particular, have been soundly criticised by the PSOJ.

Waite was accused of using derogatory comments, including what in some other jurisdictions is considered a racial slur, to describe JLP supporters while addressing a PNP meeting in St Elizabeth. He was instructed by the Political Ombudsman, Donna Parchment-Brown to apologise.

PSOJ President Howard Mitchell

In a statement on Tuesday which was attributed to Mitchell, the PSOJ said “The recent disgusting, disrespectful and potentially dangerous outbursts by Messrs. Basil Waite and Mikael Phillips on public political platforms indicate clearly that the People’s National Party is still training political dinosaurs.

“Their unfortunate utterances represent the most regressive and ignorant behaviour that Jamaica had hoped to discard on the rubbish heap of our dark and shameful political history.”

Waite, a former Senator, is not new to controversy. However, according to Mitchell, the behaviour of Philips in particular, is extremely disappointing.

Waite

This, as Mitchell noted, Phillips is a vice president of the PNP and is someone who “hitherto, has expressed himself to be aware of the consequences of permissive and slack leadership in a society which is not anchored by strong moral principles or established cultural strictures against violent language and behaviour”.

Mitchell is once again cautioning the political directorate that the country’s fragile investor confidence, which has recently shown growth and improvement, is not immune to the negatives of arrogant and vulgar behaviour or to outbursts which incite and encourage contempt and hatred for others who hold different opinions.

“We call on all Jamaicans who respect themselves and love our country to condemn and shun politicians who promote divisiveness and antisocial behaviour whether in the heat of political platform conflict or in our Houses of Parliament,” he added.

“They must be required to apologise and to forsake public speeches until they can comport themselves as leaders, not rabble-rousers and demagogues,” Mitchell added.

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