The Jamaica Labor Party has been in political oblivion for decades, first under Seaga until he got the message that having a cohesive economic plan for Jamaica was not going to win him another go at the Tiller and he gave up. Seaga was no financial wizard, neither was he a Saint by a long shot as it relates to garrison politics. For Jamaicans opposed to the insidious corrosive nature of People’s National Party Politics, Seaga was a tolerable counter-balance. The general elections of 1980 saw Edward Seaga swept to power on a 51 to 9 seat advantage over Michael Manley. Many believed Manley actually lost his seat but was allowed to keep it by virtue of Seaga’s largess. Whether true or not, Manley was a vociferous opposition leader, agitating against everything. Seaga called snap elections in 1983 , just 3 years after winning the largest mandate ever in Jamaica’s history. Manley and the People’s National Party did not contest the elections. Manley knew the PNP would have lost that election, he also knew he was out of ideas. Manley chose instead to label the newly elected JLP Administration illegitimate, (Bogus Government) in common Jamaica vernacular.
Michael Manley and the PNP was unanimously returned to power in 1989 to continue the wrecking job it started in 1972 . Today Revisionist historians are busy sanitizing Michael Manley’s record of accomplishment , virtually canonizing and making him a Saint or the second coming of Jesus Christ for Jamaica’s poor and dispossessed. Ask the people who were in the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union about Michael Manley’s gangster tactics to control bargaining rights for the National Workers Union a PNP affiliate. Ask People like Pearnel Charles and virtually all the JLP political opposition, which was locked up at the Army Barracks Up Park Camp under trumped-up allegations of seditious activities by Michael Manley. Look at the rampant proliferation of zones of political exclusions (garrisons) which sprang up under Michael Manley and his side-kick Anthony Spaulding. Of course the proliferation of the Garrisons looked great to the casual onlooker, what’s not to like , poor people are being housed, right? Only problem was that those houses which were stacked with party supporters were being paid for by the country’s middle class. Teachers, doctors, firemen,Police officers , nurses bore the brunt of the taxation to pay for those housing units occupied by party supporters.
Percival James Patterson
Today Michael Manley is something of a folk-hero, of course the nation’s economy is in the toilet because of his Socialist Policies put in place in the 70’s and continued by Percival Patterson and Portia Simpson Miller. There are reportedly 11 PNP Garrisons to every 1 JLP garrison. I am not sure about that figure as the only JLP Garrison of Tivoli Gardens was dismantled in 2010. Somehow the trio of Manley Patterson and Miller never quite understood that when Government provides a safe environment free from bureaucratic red-tape, corruption, cronyism, and nepotism, and pay-offs the entrepreneurial spirit of the people soars. Instead they reduced our country to a nation of beggars. Many of whom believe Government holds the keys to their salvation. Despite this tragic malady the Manley name is plastered all over Jamaica, streets, buildings , airport, museums and yes the currency, bears the not so subtle indoctrination courtesy of the PNP.
Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller
Neither Michael Manley , Percival Patterson , nor Portia Simpson Miller won elections because they had better ideas on how to grow Jamaica’s economy. They did not win because they had a plan to lower taxes, improve education, lower crime and corruption, eliminating government corruption and bureaucracy, and embarking on massive infrastructural development. They read the electorate well, they realized that tossing a few dollars at the right time to the right group of people will have them holding state power. This strategy has worked perfectly . Over the last 4 decades they have held elected office for 28 years. The vast majority of the voting public are quite content to be thrown a couple of crash program bucks, and be allowed to break the laws to supplement those borrowed dollars. A tragic indictment on our nation , but one which suits the ruling People’s National Party. So don’t ask the Prime Minister about growth policies and her Administration’s plan to reduce poverty, much less eliminating the wanton killings which are forcing people to flee. They don’t want to be bothered with Governing, winning elections is what they know how to do and they do it well. That is the reason Portia feels she don’t have to be bothered with answering to anyone, least of all the peasants who are going to vote for her and her party regardless.
When Andrew Holness was handed the JLP , I offered my unsolicited advice on what he needed to do if he was to be successful.http://chatt-a-box.com/mywpblog/?p=2196. Holness called the elections and handed the reins of Government to Miller and the PNP. Whether it was a good or bad decision to call elections at that time may never be known, but it gave Holness a chance to rebuild and make the Party a focused party. I thought it would have been the right thing to do to solidify or shore up his support, which would put him in a better position to take on the PNP. He did not embark on rebuilding or re-branding which forced a challenge from Audley Shaw. Many argued it was bad for Shaw to challenge. I thought it was a good idea, both for the leadership of Holness and for the party to be seen as democratic going forward. I also thought that if Holness solidified the party around his ideas a challenge would have been averted . http://chatt-a-box.com/mywpblog/?p=5615.
Holness survived the challenge from Audley Shaw but not getting his hands and feet dirty will not return the JLP to Jamaica House. Simply put, the Jamaican voters are not going to elect the JLP to government simply because the PNP screwed up and continue to screw up. It took massive out-maneuvering for Bruce Golding to eak out a win, despite 18 1/2 years of colossal foul-ups by the PNP . Andrew Holness and the JLP would be well advised to roll up their sleeves now and seriously get to work. The Jamaican electorate will not simply hand them the keys to Jamaica House, They will have to take it.