On Monday, October 30th voters in the St.Mary South East Constituency will go to the polls to chose a member of Parliament to represent them in the House of Representatives.
The seat became vacant after the sitting People’s National Party Member of Parliament Dr. Winston Green passed away. Green had won the seat against the Jamaica Labor Party challenger Dr.Norman Dunn by a mere five(5) votes on the last go around.
This election has much significance for both political parties. At issue is a significant fact that the Governing JLP would like a bit of breathing room over and above the one seat it has in the 63 seat Legislature.
At present, the JLP has 32 seats to the PNP’s 31, winning the St Mary South East seat would be a tremendous boost to the Andrew Holness led JLP which would be up 33 seats to the PNP’s 30.
Conversely, was the PNP to retain that seat the party would retain the status quo and retain a situation which keeps Andrew Holness and the JLP looking over their shoulders.
Retaining the seat would mean that voters want the PNP to be strong and vigilant in Opposition. Winning that seat would indicate a willingness on the part of at least the people in that constituency to give Holness some leverage to advance his agenda.
In the 26 years since I left Jamaica not much has changed for the better.
Politics is conducted the very same way, parochially, and appealing to the most base instincts of the poorest of our people.
Patching roads by the light of trucks at the last moment, handing out box lunches and red stripe beer ,de-bushing exercises, due to the upcoming elections is an insult to the intelligence of the people, yet those practices form part of the reality of electioneering Jamaica style.
Positively, it is worthy of note that political killings are a thing of the past although murder has gone up overall.
The traveling motorcades and revelry associated with the campaigns lend a bit of nostalgia, a feeling reminiscent of a simpler space in time.
Yet despite the passage of time, it appears that not much has changed since the first national elections were held on the Island.
Patronage, Poverty, and Puffery seem to dominate, despite the passage of time. In the end, the Jamaican people are still where Jamaica started in 1962 when the nation was first given its independence.
Bad roads, no roads, no lights, no potable water, yet ever the political junkies’ people flock to campaign events hanging from the sides and steps of vehicles, endangering their lives for a few moments of an adrenaline rush.
On Tuesday they go back to their lives as they were before, gone will be the long line of campaign vehicles, bodies hanging off with total oblivion.
Gone will be the horns and loud music one man will be the winner, the other the loser, what will be left is the horrid defacing imagery of orange and green paint splashed crudely on buildings and walls and even trees to make their point.
Stacks of stickers, flags, and campaign posters will remain, the only reminder of the campaign past.
The images of our nation’s chief executive and the candidate walking bare feet across streams is not an endearing image as I believe they were intended, rather they represent the lack of attention which has been placed on the people’s business since 1962.
In fairness to the Prime Minister, this cannot be laid at his or Dunn’s bare feet.[no pun intended]
What kind of real protection are those bare feet officers able to give to the Prime Minister considering the weapons in the hands of ordinary criminals and their brazenness today?
There need to be change reminiscent of where we are in time, none of this is it and the Jamaican people are worse off for it.