Protestors in the PNP-led anti-corruption vigil, Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips and political commentator Dr. Paul Ashley
More than 30 bus loads of protestors who descended on Mandela Park Thursday morning to speak out about the corruption scandals plaguing the government are demanding that Prime Minister Andrew Holness take strong action.
The anti-corruption protest was led by Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips and other officials of the People's National Party (PNP).
Chanting "Lock dem up and dash weh di key", they gathered there for about three hours before marching to the Police Officer's Club on Hope Road, where their buses were parked.
Some spoke with RJR's Hotline as they waited to board the buses. They highlighted some of the scandals plaguing the JLP administration, noting that they were "tired of the corruption".
Among the protestors was former member of parliament Heather Robinson who brought up the issue of the Prime Minister's filings with the Integrity Commission.
"Well, the first thing that we want is for the Prime Minister to tell Jamaica why it is that he has been unable to file his Integrity Report in the proper way," she questioned.
But there were other supporters who seemed unaware of the reason for the demonstration.
One such supporter said she was there "to support Peter Phillips straight, and the party itself."
Amid allegations of corruption against the Andrew Holness-led administration, the parliamentary opposition is calling for Commissions of Inquiry into the affairs of the Ministries of Education and Energy as well as related agencies.
Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips, who made the call on Thursday, in a letter to the Prime Minister, said it would appear that the anti-corruption architecture in Jamaica has broken down.
The Opposition Leader delivered the letter to Mr. Holness following the march, via Senior Superintendent of Police Steve McGregor.
In the four-page letter, Dr. Phillips said he wants the Government to cooperate with the Opposition in convening a Parliamentary Oversight Committee next week to improve the operations of the Integrity Commission.
Dr. Phillips chided the Prime Minister for what he said was his ineffective responses and in some cases silence on allegations of corruption which he says have frustrated Jamaicans.
He added that some employees at scandal-hit ministries and agencies should be sent on leave to facilitate investigations.
The Opposition Leader said no impediment should be placed on agencies investigating corruption, including MOCA, the FID, the Auditor General's Department and the Integrity Commission.
Dr. Phillips said Jamaicans are concerned that there has been no punitive action in any of the cases.
He said the Opposition will not rest until there is accountability.
Waste of time
But political commentator Dr. Paul Ashley is not amused by the PNP's anti-corruption campaign.
He argued that both political parties have had "a deep reluctance to hold anyone accountable and to define these actions as criminal."
"There seems to be widespread acceptance that a lot of political behaviour in the government space may be corrupt but not criminal. Until corrupt public acts are recognised by criminal law, then it is a waste of time," he contended.