Peter Bunting, MP for Central Manchester, has issued a statement of clarification following the public backlash in response to comments he recently made relating to Dr. Nigel Clarke, newly elected MP for St. Andrew North Western, in an edition of his podcast, Probe.
The comments were made in response to questions posed to Mr. Bunting by the Reverend Garnett Roper, and were posted one week before the by-election on Monday, March 5, which Dr. Clarke won.
Below is the full statement by Mr. Bunting:
There has been a great deal of interest in a Gleaner report on an episode of Probe entitled “Hayle vs. Clarke”. This report selected a few sentences out of the seven-minute episode that in my view substantially misrepresented the tone and content of my remarks. Although the Probe episode was released a week ago, the report was not published by the Gleaner until the day of the N.W. St. Andrew by-election, and it immediately elicited an orchestrated political response by the JLP in both media and social media.
The episode of Probe was about contrasting the two candidates – Nigel through an orthodox academic/technocratic stream, and Keisha through a compelling personal story and extraordinary commitment to the children of Padmore Primary. I concluded that both types were needed in our Parliament.
Given the media storm that has been created, I wish to clarify the meaning and intent of certain references, namely:
1. Black Englishman/Black Royalty was a reference to a style of British elocution and behavior adopted by black Jamaicans in the early 20th century which facilitated their participation in certain professions such as law or medicine. Justice Small and Dr. Moody were pioneers in their respective fields and, among others, opened a pathway for future generations of black Jamaican professionals. They overcame unimaginable obstacles to succeed in colonial Jamaica, so their mention was in no way intended to be demeaning. On a personal note, Dr. Ludlow Murcott Moody was my father’s employer and mentor (whom my father honoured by giving me the unusual middle name “Murcott”). Hugh Small has been a longstanding personal and family friend and I have only respect for the legend of his father (whom I never had the opportunity to meet.)
2. There has also been the absurd suggestion that somehow the Probe episode was belittling the achievement of higher education when each of the candidates and Probe presenters have earned either PhD’s or Master’s degrees. This clearly was not the intention.
In closing, I would like to congratulate Nigel on his victory, and to say to Keisha “Well and courageously run!”