Leader of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) Dr Peter Phillips is facing mounting backlash for Wednesday’s (May 20) statement that highlighted the unfortunate miscarriage of a Jamaican cruise ship worker.
The statement was quickly chastised by many social media users who felt the opposition used the woman’s failed pregnancy to score political points.
Dr Phillips, in the statement, said he spoke with the woman personally, who is among the 1,044 Jamaican cruise ship workers who returned to the island on Tuesday, after negotiations from the disembarkation of a Royal Caribbean vessel was approved.
“It was a hard occasion this afternoon to speak with a Jamaican woman who unfortunately had a miscarriage. She is one of the returning ship workers who suffered this tragedy. I would like to extend sympathies to her on behalf of – I believe – the entire nation, and certainly the People’s National Party,” he said.
See the statement in full, in Dr Phillips’ tweet below:
The sincerity was lost on many Jamaican Twitter users, and Peter Phillips became a trending topic on Thursday (May 21) as the conversation intensifies.
On one end of the spectrum are those who are disappointed in the direction taken by Dr Phillips and the PNP. They have outright condemned the statement and are asking for his resignation.
On the other hand, there are those calling the outraged hypocrites as a similar move was done by then-Opposition Leader Andrew Holness in 2015 during the #DeadBabiesScandal that rocked the public health sector.
The allegations of hypocrisy weren’t exclusive to the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) either, as some slammed Dr Phillips for doing the exact thing he asked the public for when it was revealed he was battling cancer: breach someone’s right to privacy.
And still, there are more who have sided with Dr Phillips, blasting the government for denying the Jamaicans their basic right to return home, which could have saved the pregnancy.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness, when pressed about the miscarriage during yesterday’s digital press conference, declined to comment.
The popular sentiment on Twitter is that the statement was ill-timed but what do you think, BUZZ fam?