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NIA welcomes removal of Meadows as PNP caretaker for Trelawny Northern

NIA Exective Director Danielle Archer
By Kimone Witter    
 
Executive Director of National Integrity Action Danielle Archer has welcomed the People's National Party's decision to remove Dennis Meadows as MP caretaker for Trelawny Northern. 
 
The PNP announced the decision in a statement on Thursday, noting that the action was to send a message of the importance of integrity and accountability among those elected to serve.
 
Mr. Meadows has been harshly criticised for comments he made during local government campaigning recently, where he appeared to condone lottery scamming activities. 
 
PNP president Mark Golding said the continuation of Mr. Meadows as the party's standard bearer was untenable in light of his egregious remarks on the platform, given that scamming is one of Jamaica's most serious national security challenges.
 
Reacting to the development, NIA Executive Director Danielle Archer praised the PNP for its decision, adding that "the bar must be set as high as possible". 
 
"We must have persons of unquestionable integrity seeking to represent us in Parliament. It cannot be the same approach every day where we say something and then apologise because of the impact it has had. Tom drunk but Tom no fool. And so there must be consequences, and if it is that he has been removed, then well done," she maintained. 
 
In the PNP statement, Mr. Golding said his decision should serve as a warning to all who serve under his leadership.
 
He said the party is demanding higher standards of accountability, adding that Jamaica will no longer tolerate weak, unprincipled leaders who say one thing but do another.
 
In a subsequent interview, PNP General Secretary Dr. Dayton Campbell said the precedent which has been set is in line with previous commitments by the party's president to have the hallmark of his leadership be integrity and accountability. 
 
"The comments made were egregious and an endorsement of a criminal activity which is also linked to crime is not something that the party could countenance, and we felt as if there was no other way in which this matter could be dealt with. As a noble institution, we thought it best the only appropriate action is the one that has been taken," he said as he thanked Mr. Meadows for his service to the PNP. 
 
Dr. Campbell said the public will be kept up to date on the selection process for a new MP caretaker for Trelawny Northern.
 
After facing stinging criticisms for the comments he made, Mr. Meadows subsequently issued an apology on Wednesday. 
 
Sanction for Warmington? 
 
In the meantime, Ms. Archer said the country is waiting to hear whether Works Minister Everald Warmington will be removed from the Cabinet for his remarks that taxpayers' money would be withheld from a PNP division within his constituency. 
 
She said Mr. Warmington's apology and the Jamaica Labour Party's statement distancing itself from the comments are not enough. 
 
"What we have not yet heard is what the prime minister has to say about such comment," she said, pointing to Mr. Warmington's history of controversial comments over the years. 
 
"We need to ensure that we have a code of conduct that has severe consequences for when Members of Parliament act in a manner that raises the questions of integrity, accountability and transparency when it comes to the use of public sector funds," she suggested. 
 


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