People are asked to speak at events for any number of reasons. Usually, because they may have something important to say or that they may represent the organization in a good light, based on who they are and what they are likely to say.
From Presidents to recovering drug addicts, speakers of all kinds grace stages to deliver their message. Some are paid handsomely, others not so much and even others nothing at all.
Shoot, even I have been asked a time or two to speak to a couple of people, though I never knew if anyone bothered listening to anything I said.
And so I will never question the motivation of the People’s National Party ‘s decision to have Mr. Bakari Sellers as keynote speaker on opening night at their 80th annual party conference.
No one should doubt the bona fides of the 33-year-old Mister Sellers. He is an accomplished attorney, former state legislator, a CNN analyst and sits on the boards of several companies and organizations.
Naturally, a young up-and-comer like mister Sellers is an incredible draw for Organizations looking to deliver a message from someone young influential and even good looking who can potentially attract young people to their cause.
It behooves those who would summarily dismiss Mr. Sellers as a know-nothing foreigner, to rethink that strategy, particularly when one considers the resonance the words of foreigners generally have with our ordinary folks.
A well-delivered speech from someone like Bakari Sellers, a young educated, accomplished and personable foreigner is hard to countenance with a lazy dismissal.
Members of the JLP and followers of the party can ill-afford to make the mistake of simply dismissing, as an absurdity, someone like Mister Sellers can have on local politics.
I read today, Fabian Lewis’ brilliant article in the local Observer in which he did a point by point rebuttal on why Bakari Sellers would do better sticking to American politics.
In his article, Fabian Lewis did a masterful articulation of the reasons he feels that Mister Sellers was either misled or bamboozled by the PNP (my words).
1. Furniture scandal 2. Shell waiver scandal 3. Sandals Whitehouse scandal 4. Operations PRIDE scandal 5. Motor vehicle scandal 6. Finsac 7. Foreign exchange scandal 8. Trafigura scandal 9. Cuban light bulb scandal 10. National Housing Development Corporation scandal 11. Rollins land deal scandal 12. Sand mining 1 scandal 13. Sand mining 2 scandals 14. Montego Bay street people scandal 15. Zinc scandal 16. Telecoms scandal 17. Net-Serv scandal 18. Outameni scandal 19. Bad gas scandal 20. EWI Scandal.
There is really no need to yell at Bakari Sellers, except to say that if the young mister Sellers intends to have credibility going forward, he must pay keener attention to the causes to which he lends his voice. Not only will he be embarrassed by failing to do so, but his speeches will undoubtedly come back to haunt his career.
Mister Sellers whom I’m sure is right back here in the United States, having collected his speaking fees, did not do due diligence in ensuring that the history of the political party to which he was lending his voice was not antithetical to his own worldview.
As a Democrat who supported President Barack Obama, the only President in our lifetime who has had two terms in office without a scandal, I do understand how Sellers would have ” corruption” at the top his concerns in delivering a speech in a developing Jamaica.
The only problem is that Sellers delivered that speech in front of the wrong audience. Clearly, Mister Sellers had not done the preparation necessary. Had he scratched the surface, it is less likely he would have gone to a PNP rally to speak out against corruption against the still relatively new JLP Administration.
The PNP has been a cesspool of corruption since it’s inception. It is stunning that the Dinasours who have illicitly fattened themselves at the expense of the poor Jamaican people, still sit in waiting, to once again hold state power. That they would have the temerity to talk about corruption is absolutely Trumpian.
Let me be clear, however, Prime Minister Holness is doing a terrific job as Prime Minister, nevertheless, the incremental gains he’s managed will be swept away in a Tsunami of disaffection if he does not ensure that the Government he heads exercises full fidelity to the inaugural address he gave upon being sworn in as PM on the second occasion.
There can be no mistake about what the Jamaican people expect when it comes to the judicious execution of policies and the effective and transparent process which ought to exist as it pertains to state funds.
The Prime Minister as head of the Government and leader of his party has a responsibility and indeed a duty to act with utmost alacrity and dispatch to head off any negative press which would emerge as it pertains to corruption in his government.
As a consequence, where there is any sliver of evidence that there may be untoward behavior by any of his subordinates they must immediately be removed until an exhaustive investigation is done to ascertain the facts.
No member of Parliament or Minister has a right to be in any position of power. Public service is an honor, no one is entitled to it.
In the same way that mister Sellers did not fully acquaint himself with the facts before addressing the PNP’s 80 annual conferences, so too have many Jamaicans, [many within the JLP], hitched their wagons to the American Republican Party. They do so without the benefit of a full appreciation of the ways in which the two major Political parties have crossed ideological paths after the 1964 civil rights act was signed by President Lyndon Johnson.[https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/civil-rights-act/civil-rights-act-of-1964.html]
The signing of the civil rights act was followed by a mass exodus of white male Americans from the Democratic party, the party of Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to the Republican party.
It was Nixon who devised and pursued what came to be called the Southern strategy. This was, in the admirably concise wording of Wikipedia, an appeal “to racism against African-Americans.” Nixon was hardly the first Republican to notice that Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights legislation had alienated whites both in the South and elsewhere — Johnson himself had forecast that Southern whites would desert the Democratic Party[http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/nixon-bigger-crime-southern-strategy-article-1.1891611]
The evolution and juxtaposition of the two major parties and how the Democrats, the party of the Dixiecrats and the Klan, came to be the party of black Americans as a result of the civil rights and voting rights acts is a good case study.
Sufficing to say that whatever affinity blacks both in the United States and across the Globe may have had with the GOP, it must now be reexamined against the backdrop of what that party has become.
A far right-wing party which peddles Racism, Xenophobia, Misogyny, Religous intolerance, and hatred.
The romantic ideas some shared about the party of Lincoln who freed the slaves must be tempered with the slave-owning Lincoln stating ” If I could save the union without freeing a single damn slave I would do it“.
The romantic idealism about Ronald Reagan’s having Seaga as his first head of state visitor to the White House and later signing an amnesty bill which gave legal status to undocumented immigrants must be carefully scrutinized against Reagan’s advancement of Nixon’s southern strategy.
Sometimes the romantic notions and idealism we have about a person or a country is just that, romantic idealism. Before we hitch our wagons to some horses we better make damns sure we know where they will drag us.