President of the People’s National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) Krystal Tomlinson has found herself at the centre on controversy over a tweet she made on Wednesday, May 15, seemingly comparing some actions of Prime Minister Andrew Holness to German dictator Adolf Hitler.
The tweet, which has since sparked a fierce online debate was made by Tomlinson as a reply to a tweet the PNP made in response to Holness’ presentation in Parliament on Tuesday, where he revealed that the then PNP-led government spent US$1.2 million in relation to the National Identification and Registration Law (NIDS).
“Holness’ track record suggests that he is a Prime Minister who has scant regard for the Court, the Constitution and the Separation of Powers doctrine. Reminds me of Adolph Hitler and his approach to designing a ‘New’ Germany. Just be a big man and admit you were wrong Mr. Holness,” Tomlinson’s wrote in the tweet.
Speaking with Jamaicatoday reporter Gavin Riley this afternoon (Wednesday), Tomlinson said she understood that the tweet may have caused discomfort and distress for some readers and offered an unreserved apology.
“I don’t hesitate at all to apologise for making that reference. It’s important that when you communicate, you don’t allow the point to get lost in the rhetoric. It was not an attack on his (Holness’) character or his intent as leader of Jamaica,” she told Jamaicatoday, adding, “I want to apologise unequivocally for causing any furore or disturbance in the consciousness of those who read my tweet. That was not the intent at all.”
At the same time, Tomlinson told Jamaicatoday that she still believes some parallels exist in the language used by Hitler and Prime Minister Holness. She says it is a pattern she finds most concerning in his three years of leadership.
“My point that I was attempting to make, that I fear has been lost because of the emotions that have been evoked when one hears certain names, is that there is a pattern of behaviour that led to Hilter’s consolidation of power in Germany,” Tomlinson posited.
“I was raising those points of similarity, [though] there are differences, in how our Prime Minister is approaching his own ‘settling of the waters’ on matters that are in the public space for concern and consideration,” she remarked further.
One of these matters, Tomlinson contended, was Holness’ approach to the national crime-fighting effort. While acknowledging she may be wrong in her interpretation of the Prime Minister’s rhetoric, the PNPYO President feels that Holness has too often painted a picture akin to the dream Hitler sold to Germany in the 1930s.
“His approach to managing crime and the language he uses, is eerily similar to the language that would have been used [by Hitler] in the late 1930s in Germany,” Tomlinson told Jamaicatoday.
“This is my own interpretation, I could be wrong; people may say it differently, but for me, too often his actions call into question his regard for the Constitution,” she added.
Tomlinson made mention of Holness’ two infamous losses in Jamaica’s Constitutional Court.
Back in 2013, when he was Leader of the Oppositon, the court ruled that undated letters that Holness had used to remove Opposition members Arthur Williams and Dr Christopher Tufton from the Senate were unconstitutional.
Williams and Tufton, who had supported Audley Shaw in his failed bid to oust Holness as Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Leader, were subsequently reinstated.
Fast forward to April this year and the court struck down the NIDS, declaring the framework as unconstitutional.
What’s more, Tomlinson slammed PM Holness for his supposed disregard for the principle of separation of powers when he controversially appointed Bryan Sykes to act as chief justice in February. Sykes was appointed to act as Chief Justice to replace Justice Zaila McCalla, who retired on January 31.
“Those are three clear instances, in my mind, that are too much. Now there are some who may be thinking it’s not so bad, but as a student of political science, I have much discomfort with any similarities in my democracy and any undemocratic, authoritarian or fascist state,” she said.
Interestingly, while Tomlinson does not believe Jamaica is becoming a fascist state, nor that Prime Minister Andrew Holness has intentions to replicate any ‘ethnic cleaning approach’ to solving crime, she told Jamaicatoday that she strongly believes that, “Jamaicans should [not] get comfortable with the similarities in approach to governance”, a pattern she says that could be found if one explores the genesis of Adolf Hitler’s own reign.
Tomlinson explained that the controversial tweet has not been deleted.