The People’s National Party (PNP) says it is outraged and repulsed by the “racial inference” used by Finance and the Public Service Minister Nigel Clarke to characterise Opposition Leader Mark Golding in Parliament on Tuesday.
Describing it as “a premeditated act of prejudice and racial discrimination”, the PNP said in a release Wednesday that Clarke read from a prepared text, thrice referring to the Opposition leader as “Massa Mark”, inferring that the Golding is a “racist oppressor”.
The PNP said the attempt by Minister Clarke to “malign the character” of Golding is “reverse racism” and could not have come on a worse day, as the world yesterday observed International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
It added that using the chamber of Parliament to “hurl racial invectives” was appalling behaviour by Clarke and called on well-thinking Jamaicans to condemn it.
In the release, PNP Chairman Dr Angela Brown-Burke said the Budget debate is a serious matter.
“Tabling a trillion-dollar budget that will be financed on the backs of Jamaicans through high inflation and taxation, is not a laughing matter, and ought not to be polluted with political gimmicks and insults,” she said, adding that Jamaica’s history of slavery and colonialism is also not a laughing matter, and politics should be used to contend with and correct the injustices emerging from that history.
“Mark Golding’s political career shows him to be on the side of the descendants of Africans enslaved in Jamaica. The Jamaica Labour Party would do well to contend with its own history of actions against those descendants. Such actions by their first leader Alexander Bustamante against Rastafarians and other black nationalists are well documented. So too, are the actions of their first black leader, Hugh Shearer, against the Black Power advocate, Walter Rodney,” Brown-Burke insisted.
She also contended that Tuesday’s occurrence was not the first time that the JLP has made “racial jabs” at Golding, adding that the Speaker of the House, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, “abandoned even a veneer of impartiality when called upon to adjudicate the matter”.
“Mr Golding is a born Jamaican, whose family has contributed distinguished service and sacrifice for the most disadvantaged Jamaicans. Like any other Jamaican, he is deserving of respect and regard and should not be made the brunt of cheap political PR jabs by anyone, much less a Jamaican holding the high office of minister of finance,” Brown-Burke said.
She called on Clarke to withdraw the comments and apologise to Golding and all Jamaicans, including those of a different hue from his.
“Minister Clarke’s words are signalling to Jamaicans that it is acceptable to once again divide Jamaicans based on colour. Under Golding, the PNP will be the party seeking to build a national alliance with anyone willing to work for a better Jamaica,” Brown-Burke said.