Sunday 8 December, 2019

Holness risks tarnishing legacy over integrity filings delay - Chang

Chang... It is ridiculous, it is downright foolish.

Chang... It is ridiculous, it is downright foolish.

Outspoken political commentator, Kevin O’Brien Chang is warning that Prime Minister Andrew Holness risks tarnishing his legacy over the inordinately long time it is taking for his integrity filings to be made public.

Two weeks after the filings of Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips and his family were made public and gazetted, those of the prime minister are yet to be made public.

This has led to speculation in the public domain about the possible reasons for the extended delay.

“It (the delay) is ridiculous, it is downright foolish,” said O’Brien Chang while speaking with Loop News on Friday from overseas.

Andrew Holness

“He has the potential to go down as one of the country’s greatest prime ministers; he has certainly made a good start in many areas so you can see that the potential is there but he has to think about his legacy,” O’Brien Chang remarked.

“Does he want to be somebody who was exceptional but flawed, or does he want to go down as a historic prime minister?” Chang asked.

According to the political commentator, Holness must now be thinking about that, despite all the good he is doing with the massive infrastructure works, a stable and growing economy and record low unemployment numbers.

“He certainly must be given credit for that but many men go down as exceptional but flawed because of other things that they did.”

O’Brien Chang was quick to point out that while Holness himself has not been accused of corruption, his administration has been beset with scandals over the past two years. These have forced two of his closet allies in the Cabinet – Andrew Wheatley and Ruel Reid - to be forced to resign in the past 12 months.

“Yes, he has booted a couple ministers but his name is being called too often in relation to scandals and if you (the public) keep remembering yes, the man is a good man, but look at the scandals associated with him (his government),” O’Brien Chang noted.

He said the prime minister’s legacy is going to be at risk if he allows his name to be called in relation to corruption within his government and not being forthright in dealing with it.

O’Brien Chang also noted that Holness came to power declaring that he was new and different "yet you have this thing here dragging on and on, you have to set an example man, you are the one people look at.”

According to O’Brien Chang, the prime minister cannot claim to have not heard from the Integrity Commission.

“If I were the prime minister, in this case, I would be pressing them. I would say 'guys, tell me what I need to do to clear my name, to get this thing wrapped up so I can go to the public and say yes, I am compliant with what the criteria supposed to be, with what I am supposed to do.

“It makes him look very bad and it’s tarnishing his image," Chang declared.

He argued that Holness must not give the appearance of a ‘do as I say but not as I do’ prime minister.

“Right now he is becoming a do as I say prime minister and it is foolish from every angle I can think of. It is inexplicably foolish.”

"Holness is like an artist painting a beautiful picture with a big 'dutty' splotch in the middle that spoils it," O'Brien Chang observed.

It has been two weeks since the integrity filings of the Opposition leader have been made public, having been gazetted by the Jamaica Printing Services.

The filings show that Phillips and his wife Sandra Minott-Phillips declared assets and income of roughly $185 million for 2018.

A breakdown of the numbers show assets valued at more than $60 million. There were liabilities and personal debt denominated in Jamaican dollars.

The Phillips family also reported the following:

*$819,550.08 in savings account.

*$770,074.37 being held in current account.

*$26,385,315.83 of securities.

*$3.6 million in real estate.

*$28,731,018.00 listed as motor vehicle assets.

*$169,948.92 listed as ‘other personal property’.

*$16,464,652.96 earned as salary in 2018.

$37,337,760.00 listed as ‘other income’.

$561,539.30 (Ja$75 million) listed as assets.

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