Anatomy of elections 2016 – the final cut – Jamaica Observer


Los conceptos vertidos en esta sección no reflejan necesariamente la línea editorial de Nodal. Consideramos importante que se conozcan porque contribuyen a tener una visión integral de la región.

Felix, raconteur, advocate for the poor and my Dad, told me: “Don’t worry, in the end the worms win and we only live in the hearts of those who love us!” This is brutal but it means we must live loving, even in politics.

History is unkind. It may note Bruce Golding’s role in the happenings in Tivoli in May 2010, but not the many he served well — life is a tool! With egos trippin’ and promises aplenty, who will we remember?

Guy Fawkes almost blew up the British Parliament, but not one name of hundreds of MPs makes history, only his? A party leader matters, for though the local candidate is valued, on the 25th one leader will win, and on the 26th we start the perilous road to economic success with our new positive indicators. Political independence was easy, this economic stuff is grief, and no leader mastered it in 54 years.

Next week Portia Simpson Miller or Andrew Holness will lead. Both speak feelingly and have plans; but in politics a plan is just a promise well argued. Neither party achieved prosperity in many decades, so tales of Seaga or Manley are of no value today, as each generation lives in its own time.

This is our time! Selah. The 1.2 million voters under 48 when the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) was in office 2007 to 2011, or People’s National Party (PNP) from 2012, must use this as a guide. The nation, though healing, is still fragile. The goal is Manley’s economic independence, which the JLP did not achieve despite 20 years in office, nor did the PNP in its 20-plus years prior to the 2012 International Monetary Fund/PNP rescue term. None has bragging rights.

After nine prime ministers and glossy manifestos we are still in the deep. Many are fed up, will not vote but we need government. So, trust yourself, check who added value from 2007 to 2016 and vote. We may cuss an MP for cock-ups, but the issues Bustamante argued in 1962 — roads, water, bread, jobs — are still with us; as no JLP or PNP genius minister solved them. Development is not an event, but a process.

On radio, a politically illiterate aspirant promised to fix roads and water, unlike the current MP; yet 10 MPs agonised for 54 years in his area, yet he will glibly fix them after the 26th. He rants that the MP had put not four, but just one inch of tarmac on a road, so it broke up — wow! Name one road with four inches of asphalt?

There is no quick fix, and sadly our resource dilemma does not inform election campaigns; so corrupt politics and illiteracy mean aspirants promise just as old fogey’s did and get the same result. An MP’s remit is not to “claim” a road or bridge, but to add value to what he inherits, make sure it cumulates, and pass on the baton of public service.

The 2007 to 2011 term made history as a prime minister’s fight for a crime don led to shame, ruin, and Cabinet used State power that caused deaths. Have you ever asked how did Holness vote? Cabinet papers are not open, but are you curious? He is in a mood to reveal things, so ask him, nuh! Did Pearnell, Delroy, Mike or Desmond vote for it?

We are talking growth but can’t exclude values. Does the JLP Cabinet take collective responsibility for its decision to invade Tivoli? Selah. The tale of the tape is Holness vs Simpson Miller. Holness gave us the bitter medicine and he threw the election. Now, four years on, he is not penitent — “a nuh nutten!” Today, after years cussing IMF tests, Daryl Vaz says they now plan to pass all tests and grow the economy.

Maybe Saul is now Paul? The PNP/IMF realignment term 2012 to 2016 has put us on the cusp. Who will lead the Jamaica/IMF growth plan? The excitement grows as each party woos the uncommitted, but their endgame is power; our endgame is jobs, growth, and to be safe in our homes. So who do we trust, Holness or Simpson Miller? JLP or PNP? Think, then vote. History will show Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller as our most successful prime minister.

Forget prejudice, check the data. Why? Jamaica tends to misogyny as man run t’ings; Nanny was an afterthought to men; why not Susan of Stracy? Mary Seacole? Portia will get flak as a female until we emancipate ourselves. She is no genius; was Busta? All male PMs got respect, but Portia defies the old order.

On her watch the economy is aligned for the first time in 54 years — massive! Men jump to attention, “Captain, my Captain”, for men; not women. So arise, ladies, as if Portia is disrespected, so too are you! Men are born to rule, she an unlikely prime minister; a pat, “well done, back to your typist desk”, was not for her.

She beat men at their game. Holness had no such disability — a man in a man’s world; yet he did not stay the IMF course for his people in 2011; was not the brightest, promotion was “sethand” not performance. Compared to Bustamante or Manley, Portia is phenomenal. The distance from Blenheim or Drumblair and Jamaica House is politically short; to be born in Boston is a cakewalk and male lawyers had a shoo-in.

To men, it’s easy; to women, daunting; to a poor girl unthinkable (almost)! Woodhall is far, far! Boys are a family’s hope; socialised to lead, “ah boy pickney fi duh dem tings!” Prime ministers to Holness were privileged; focus of parent’s dreams. Girls with drive, like Portia, had to work and study back then.

Male PMs went to elite schools; Portia makes Woodhall Primary elite. Selah. The joust for the nation’s soul is palpable. Holness has testosterone and testicles; females are eye candy. Women must give this vapid mindset a bloody nose! Holness had opportunity: Michael’s free education; from basic school to UWI on our taxes, yet his peers beat him.

MP Chuck topped his peers and my win of the Rhodes opened it up for bright poor kids; no disrespect, but Andrew was not among them. He talks frugal, we see excess; he talks progress on merit; we see a Godfather’s hand? The IMF plan ends soon and we are poised for growth.

Portia has a management style which suits a paper-based enterprise as the civil service. She empowers her team, hugs the world to bits to create safe passage for investors, but cracks the whip in Cabinet. Holness has plans and talks, but he signed an IMF deal then deserted us.

Can we hold him to promises when a binding contract could not? Happy voting! Stay conscious! Dr Franklin Johnston is a strategist, project manager and advisor to the minister of education in the interregnum.

Jamica Observer


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