KINGSTON — Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller yesterday described as “disrespectful and misguided” controversial comments made by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe about Jamaican men, but Opposition Leader Andrew Holness says Jamaica’s head of government has not gone far enough.
In fact, Holness wants the Government of Jamaica to demand an apology from the African leader.
A week after Mugabe’s comments triggered intense public debate, Simpson Miller hit back saying the Zimbabwean leader’s remarks were untrue.
Mugabe last week labelled Jamaican men as underachievers who get high on ganja, drunk on alcohol, refuse to go to college and spend time twisting their hair.
Simpson Miller yesterday said Mugabe’s statement was disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of Jamaican men who are excellent fathers, professionals and outstanding citizens.
In a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, Simpson Miller said Mugabe’s remarks, “regardless of whether they were spoken ‘in jest’ as was stated” in Wednesday’s edition of the New Zimbabwe, “were grossly unfortunate, misguided and untrue”.
It took eight days, since the president’s controversial remarks, for Jamaica House to confirm through “exhaustive checks” by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade that Mugabe made the uncomplimentary comments about Jamaican men at the launch of a 2012 Research and Intellectual Institute Expo in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare.
Said Simpson Miller: “We are confident that the remarks of President Mugabe do not represent the sentiments of the people of Zimbabwe, other African countries and the rest of the world.”
She added: “Our confidence is predicated on the fact that there are many outstanding and globally accepted examples of the character and contribution of Jamaican men who have set the benchmark as exceptional achievers.”
However, Holness suggested that the prime minister’s statement on the issue was inadequate. (Gleaner)