Jamaica Gleaner / The communication arm of Jamaica House yesterday hit back in relation to a video circulating on social media showing Prime Minister Andrew Holness responding to a question from President of the Love March Movement Dr Daniel Thomas.
Press Secretary Naomi Francis said that the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) had rejected “a spliced video that seeks to present the tone and candour of the prime minister in a negative light at the recently concluded OPM Live Youth Forum.”
Francis said that the video, which is circulating on social media, is a clear attempt to mislead Jamaicans into believing something that is not so: “The video was doctored in a manner that doesn’t reflect the tone and essence of the conversation and debate that took place. The interaction with the youth was engaging and positive. This spliced video is an intentional attempt to bring the Office of the Prime Minister and the current holder, the Most Hon Andrew Holness, into disrepute.”
According to Francis, the prime minister has always been respectful of all views and maintains that he welcomes discussion on all issues, including the National Identification System (NIDS).
Francis said that “well-thinking Jamaicans” should get the facts for themselves and not be misled by the negative use of social media by particular interests.
“There was robust discussion at the youth forum, and many important issues were addressed. It is sad that instead of a discussion of ideas and national issues, there is an attempt to inflame and mislead. The public should be wary,” she said.
At the same time, Floyd Green, minister of state in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, applauded Holness for his passionate and frank discussion with young people at the OPM Live town hall meeting.
In a statement, Green noted that it was the first time in recent history that a Jamaican prime minister had held such an engaging session with youth, which not only included presentations from senior government officials, but also included an almost two-hour long question and answer session.
He commended the young people for the extensive range of questions posed to Holness and his team, spanning issues such as NIDS, climate change, brain drain, and youth unemployment.
Green added that it was unfortunate, however, that some would seek to paint the prime minister’s exchange with an attendee as more than a passionate discourse about a critical issue.
“If the full exchange is watched, along with all the other responses given, one would realise that the prime minister, while passionate about the NIDS and moving Jamaica forward, was always respectful,” he said.
Green suggested that those who sought political relevance through press releases, which are less than faithful to the truth, should desist.