Holness finds Gov’t MP’s branded Easter bun gesture in poor taste

ROBERT Chin’s branding of Easter buns distributed in his Manchester Southern constituency did not go down well with his boss, Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

“When I saw it I made sure to enquire whether or not public funds were used, and I was assured that no public funds were used,” Holness told the Jamaica Observer last Thursday.

That assurance, he suggested, was satisfactory because the resources that were committed by the Ministry of Finance for parliamentarians to help constituents during the three COVID-19 weekend lockdowns — $2 million each — were made available only last Wednesday.

A week before, photos of the Easter buns in green boxes with a white strip bearing photos of Chin and four members of his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) team, a bell (which is the JLP’s symbol) with an X beside it, and the words “With the compliments of Team Manchester Southern” were circulated on social media.

The gesture was described as vulgar by many people, while others have defended the MP.

Last Thursday Holness, who is also leader of the JLP, made reference to Chin’s action when asked to assess the performance of his first-term MPs since the party was returned to power in general elections last September.

“I have said to them that we have to consider what is in good taste for the public and we also have to be respectful not just of the workers but the general population — what does the general population think,” Holness said.

He said that aside from what he had seen with the Easter buns, his own assessment is that the first-term MPs “are all eager to establish themselves in their constituencies, so they’re working very hard”.

“What I’ve tried to do is to give them a structure within which to work, so we’ve put a more robust structure in the CDF (Constituency Development Fund), so there’s greater accountability and greater targeting of resources. So, you’re going find that this crop of MPs will be able to show more on the ground than ever before,” Holness said.

“Internally, we’re also training them to understand Parliament, to understand their role in Parliament, so you will see them participating in debates from a much more informed position and making really solid contributions to debates,” he added.
Of the 49 seats won by the JLP in the general election 13 were secured by first-timers.

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