Entrepreneur and social media personality Donna ‘Auntie Donna’ Gowe has apologised for being critical of Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
An edited 26-second video of an interview with Holness and journalists recently had shown Holness emphasising that the three weekends of lockdown were necessary because persons, such as those going to corner shops, were not adhering to the COVID-19 revention protocols.
“We have to lock down because the persons who are going to the corner shop on a Sunday or a Saturday, or whichever day, to buy the two pounds of rice, the big gill of oil, the half of bread… those persons are not wearing their masks, they are not social distancing,” he said.
Despite the wider interview lasting for over five minutes, the 26-second clip with those comments was widely circulated on social media over the weekend and stirred backlash against the prime minister, who was accused of using poor or inner-city residents as a scapegoat for non-compliance of virus prevention protocols.
But Holness on Monday uploaded the longer portion of the interview on Facebook to provide clarity to the wave of misunderstandings and criticisms.
“For clarity, in responding to an interview question I noted that I am aware and sensitive to the fact that many persons who shop from day to day, including those in my own constituency, are affected by the weekend lockdowns,” Holness captioned the interview video.
He added: “I also noted that these persons, by virtue of not wearing masks and social distancing, are also contributing to the spread of COVID-19. The message is that we all, no matter where we are, have a role to play in this national effort to combat COVID-19.
“Please see my complete response where I also noted that it’s unhelpful for us to create unnecessary social tension around issues that require cooperation, collaboration and cohesion to address and surmount,” elaborated Holness.
Gowe was among those who had criticised Holness’ remarks after seeing the 26-second clip. But having seen the longer video, she issued a “big apology” to Holness on Monday night.
“Mi a send a big apology to the Prime Minister… Yuh see today when unuh a send in my inbox mi never see the real video. Yuh know say the man right,” Gowe said.
While declaring her hand that she was a supporter of the Jamaica Labour Party, Gowe chastised those persons who edited the video.
“Unuh edit the video and mek it seem like the man (Holness) a lick out pan ghetto people. Him never a lick out enuh! Yuh know say when mi a watch it the man a put it into context a say the likkle corner shop dem inna the ghetto dem a dem nah wear nuh mask,” she pointed out.
“The man (Holness) a elaborate a say a di people dem in a the likkle corner shop dem nah go by nuh protocol. Him nah lick out against ghetto people. Him nah lick out against say him nuh response fi the poor…,” she elaborated.
The social media personality further begged Holness for forgiveness for her misunderstanding, and chastised those once more for editing the video.
“That’s why unuh nuffi cut out things ’cause unuh know mi love my prime minister,” declared Gowe.
In reflecting on her criticisms of Holness, she said: “Labourite and PNP mi nuh want unuh bias yah now ‘cah me see di likkle sumn today and me a say fimi prime minister weh mi run up and down fah ’cause unuh know mi a labourite and nobody can’t tell mi nutten wrong bout him.
“But when yuh watch it the man a try tell we say the big supermarket dem and those places dem yuh can’t ‘tep up in deh without yuh mask, but di likkle corner shop dem like weh deh Mountain View yah and all bout (yuh can)… Yuh one hundred per cent right… The man a talk the truth,” reasoned Gowe.
“Nobody nah stop yuh at ghetto shop and tell yuh to put on the mask,” she opined, while further pleading for forgiveness from the prime minister over her earlier criticisms.
Meanwhile, Holness, speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, lambasted persons in some quarters who are trying to undermine the measures in curtailing COVID-19.
Further, he warned that misinformation was dangerous to democracy.
Holness reiterated that the Government was not seeking to curtail the liberties of the Jamaican people.
“We have amongst us persons who peddle unreasonable and irrational ideas; persons who have a microphone in front of them; (and) some of them who are very influential who should know better who have peddled ideas that unsuspecting persons may be misled with and that is dangerous to our democracy,” he explained.