Two-mouthed Peter Phillips
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I have never witnessed such level of hypocrisy and unabashed political opportunism as I have witnessed from opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, during the current contentious period of wage negotiations between the government and public-sector workers.
The once champion of fiscal prudence and staunch apologist of the notion that government ought to stay within its means, is now pressuring the Holness-led government to yield to the appeals of public sector workers. The minister is quoted by The Gleaner on June 17, 2015 saying, "It might appear to some to be far easier to listen to the voices of political expediency and make commitments to wage increases which the present level of resources could not support. To proceed on that path, however, would only end up reversing the progress we have made and betray the trust we have built locally and internationally. We would lose all the gains that the country has made thus far." This has been the message of Dr. Phillips during his tenure as finance minister. The economy is still fragile and for the minister to add pressure to the government is pure hypocrisy!
What's the difference now?
Certainly, the same public sector workers were equally deserving of a significant wage increase in 2015 as they do now. However, Dr. Phillips did not see it fit given the "present level of resources", but the government, I believe is still not able to give the most deserving public sector workers the increase they deserve.
I can understand Dr. Phillips' position as he is obliged within the context of Jamaica's political environment to use every opportunity to put the government under unwarranted pressure to remain relevant, but many are looking on and taking note of his politically-motivated support for a significant wage increase that has the potential as it would have in 2015 to "betray the progress we have made".