Commentators demand action against Meadows, Warmington

NIA Principal Director Danielle Archer, political commentator Lloyd B. Smith and Co-Chair of the Advocates Network Robert Stephens
By Halshane Burke   
Commentators have expressed outrage at comments by the People's National Party's Dennis Meadows and the Jamaica Labour Party's Everald Warmington as they addressed supporters recently.
They are calling for both men to be held to account.
Mr. Meadows professed support for people involved in scamming, while Mr. Warmington stated that taxpayers' money would be withheld from a PNP division within his constituency.
Both men have since apologised for their remarks.
But the apologies have not appeased many onlookers including several political commentators who are calling for greater action to be taken to hold both men to account.
Executive Director of National Integrity Action Daniel Archer said Mr. Meadows needs to face severe consequences as his comments have serious legal and criminal implications. 
"He said he can speak openly. He was being straight. And I think where we are as Jamaicans, you shouldn't be able to say that and get away with it as an aspiring Member of Parliament," she said, citing an incident in which attorney Isat Buchanan made unsavoury comments about Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn and was suspended from practicing law for two years. 
"The people we put up should form an example for our society and for our children. We ought not to be putting up persons who have criminal matters pending in court. And we ought not to be endorsing prospective Members of Parliament, who aspire to make laws, who are endorsing criminal acts. He needs to go," she insisted. 
Similarly, commentator Lloyd B. Smith said Prime Minister Andrew Holness needs to take action against Mr. Warmington. 
"This time round, it's not just a matter of apology from Mr. Warmington that is needed. It is for the chief executive, which is the prime minister, [who] needs to take very decisive action. If he does not, then we would be led to think that this type of activity is to be condoned as part of our political operation, and it is scandalous," he suggested. 
Meanwhile, Co-Chair of the Advocates Network Robert Stephens has called for the political code of conduct to be strictly enforced. 
"If we have politicians who are going to just throw the book out the window and don't stick with the code of conduct, they need to be removed by the leaders of the party. The leaders of the party need to institute rules that govern the way that politicians operate and they need to stick with it and give the people and the public and the whole of Jamaica some confidence in relating to and assessing politicians generally."
At the same time, Ms. Archer questioned the role of the Electoral Commission in light of the controversial comments made by Mr. Warmington and Mr. Meadows. 
"Where is the EOJ in all of this, who's supposed to be absorbing the duties of the Political Ombudsman? Can they manage? They can barely manage to count the ballots. They don't seem to have time to be able to comment, and even if they did, what would be the consequences to ensure that Members of Parliament don't make this sorry mistake again?" she queried.
The commentators were all speaking Wednesday on Radio Jamaica's Beyond the Headlines.

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