Wehby criticizes opposition senators for not supporting expansion of state-owned enterprises
Government Senator Don Wehby tore into his opposition counterparts on Friday, lambasting them for their failure to support an extension of the States of Emergency (SOE) that were imposed on seven police divisions in five parishes last November .
Wehby, in an unusual way, berated opposition senators as he closed the state of the nation debate that began last June.
“When I look over there (the opposition benches) on the most important issue in Jamaica, two senators over there; two senators present during the vote on the most serious problem of crime and violence in our beautiful country,” Wehby began.
He was referring to the Senate vote that needed the support of an opposition senator for the public companies declared by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on November 14 to continue for another 90 days.
The government had already used its super majority in the House of Representatives to approve the extension, but a two-thirds majority was needed in both houses of parliament for the security measure to remain in place.
“We are discussing the most important issue in our country, crime, and when the vote came, there are two of you there. Shame! Shame! Shame!” Wehby thundered to loud applause from his government colleagues.
Wehby, while noting that he has heard colleagues claim that people have died in the past within state enterprise boundaries, said: ‘The question we should be asking is how many (many) more people would have died if we didn’t have state enterprises? »
He said the argument was never made that there would be no loss of life if an SOE was in effect. But, he argued, “we will never have the answer of how many lives would have been saved” if the November 25 vote had been in the affirmative.
Referring to the recent brutal murder of a nine-year-old boy who was found with his throat slit inside his mother’s motor vehicle in St James, Wehby said “these people are not normal. They are demons!
He said every Jamaican has been touched by crime, regardless of race or social status.
Continuing, Wehby asked rhetorically, “How many lives, may I ask, could we have saved if we had voted to approve states of emergency?” before answering his own question with “we will never know”.
The president of GraceKennedy noted that the influential Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) has called for the reintroduction of the security measure.
“If the demonic acts committed by these monsters are (on the whole) not an emergency, then I don’t know how much more chaos has to happen before some of us recognize (that) we are in a dire situation. emergency,” he noted.
He urged his colleagues to rely on the expertise of the security forces, whose leaders he noted said state enterprises were needed to bring the monster of crime under control.