Opposition urges Finance Minister to withdraw ‘Massa Mark’ comment and apologise
The Opposition People’s National Party, PNP, is urging Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke to withdraw the comments he made about the party’s leader, yesterday.
During the closing of the Budget Debate yesterday, Dr. Clarke referred to Mark Golding as “Massa Mark”, resulting in backlash from several members of the opposition who then walked out of parliament.
“Massa” was a term used to described slave masters during slavery.
In a statement this morning, the PNP said the comment is a racial inference and Dr. Clarke should apologize to Mr. Golding.
Speaking with Irie FM News, PNP Chairman, Dr. Angela Brown Burke said to add insult to injury, the statement was made as the world observed International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Meantime the PNP Youth Organization has also condemned the comment and is demanding an apology.
It says Dr. Clarke should also apologize to the Jamaican youth, who tuned in to the sitting of parliament to hear policies that would positively impact their lives, but instead were left disappointed by the minister’s theatrics.
Meantime, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, is to provide a ruling at the next meeting of parliament, on yesterday’s incident involving opposition Member of Parliament Dr. Angela Brown Burke, in relation to comments from Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke.
Members of the opposition walked out of parliament, upset over the reference to Opposition Leader Mark Golding as ‘Massa Mark’, by the Finance Minister.
During that period, Dr. Brown Burke in objecting to Dr. Clarke’s comment, was reprimanded by the house speaker for reportedly responding in an unparliamentary manner.
Dr. Brown Burke had told a member of the house to ‘shut up’, while giving her objection to the ‘Massa Mark’ comment.
Giving her take on the proceedings, Mrs. Dalrymple-Philibert said the behaviour of Dr. Brown Burke was unparliamentary and she is awaiting a report on the exact words that were spoken by the member of parliament, before a ruling is given.
Mrs. Dalrymple-Philibert said while she shares a good relationship with Dr. Brown-Burke, her comments were out of line.
She did not mention any disapproval of the ‘Massa Mark’ comment by the Finance Minister, which started the series of events.