Over the years we have been fed with the nonsense that Jamaica is PNP country. The PNP of course is the People’s National Party, the older of the two main political parties which has shared power between themselves since adult suffrage. As our country look to celebrating 50 years of Independence it is time for the nation to take an introspective look at its accomplishments over this period since we have been unshackled from colonial domination. This is a golden opportunity for the country to re-calibrate and assimilate new perspectives into the national dialogue. this is an opportunity for leaders of the country to change the dogmatic attitudes they have and take a look at the outside world to see what works, with a view to see what may work for our people, in our unique circumstance.
On the other side of the political divide is the Jamaica labor party(JLP) which was soundly rejected by the electorate in national elections held December 29th of 2011. The JLP under the leadership of 39-year-old Andrew Holness can use the party’s defeat as an opportunity to re-calibrate and present itself to voters as the real party of substantive growth and development for Jamaicans, the way Alexander Bustamante intended.
The Jamaica labor party must start at the grassroots educating people at the community level , empowering them into selecting their own candidates. A new campaign geared at education must trumpet the achievements of the labor party . It must draw a sharp contrast between what has been tangible long-term policies it enacted over the years on behalf of the people as against superficial fluff policies of the other party. The JLP like its competition has made a lot of mistakes over the years, not least of which is its inability to shun garrison politics.
The party must not only eschew garrison Politics as Holness said he would , it must engage vigorously in the politics of transparency and accountability. Moving forward this will differentiate the Labor party from the PNP, a party drunk with cheap populism and the politics of nepotism, giveaways and payoffs.
Labor must understand that as more and more people are introduced to information technology they will eventually recognize that the brand of politics practiced by the PNP has been keeping them enslaved and chained to poverty. These more informed , better educated people will look to the labor party for a new direction, a direction that leads them down a path of sustainable growth and long-term development. The path the Labor party of Bustamante, Donald Sangster, and Hugh Lawson Shearer, our country’s best Prime Minister forged in the interest of all Jamaicans.
Former prime Minister Bruce Golding has done incalculable harm to the image of the party in his handling of the Christopher Coke matter. Golding unwittingly destroyed his political carrear and dragged the party down into the pits with him. The tragedy inherent in that debacle is that Bruce Golding did not have to do anything in that process, it was a matter for the courts.
Holness must not be intimidated into going door to door listening to the people, asking them how they feel about the issues. He must then incorporate that information into formulating policies , in cooperation with the private sector and other stake holders. The single greatest impediment Holness will face will be communicating a message of long-term discipline to a population that is always worrying where the next meal is coming from. The Coke case, better know as the Mannat Phillips and Phelps matter, is not the only scandal to have erupted in Jamaica, far from it. The PNP is a scandal plagued party which seemingly is immune from consequence in Jamaica, but that’s another story for another day.
Finsac, Cuban Light Bulb Trafigura are just a few of the scandals that have plagued the PNP to which they have been let off the hook.
One prominent commentator aligned to the ruling party suggested that the JLP is just a filler party which gets elected when people are a little tired of his party. Even though his comment is largely hubris, there is a certain degree of resonance in there.
ONE HAVE TO WONDER, IS JAMAICA REALLY PNP COUNTRY?
Edward Phillip George Seaga
The PNP have benefited for decades from a misconception that it is for the small man. A misconception nurtured by cheap populism, and fertilized by political giveaways and promises. The leadership of people like Hugh Lawson Shearer has been significant in setting a path for the country that has been deviated from, by some in the labor party when Shearer stepped aside to make way for Seaga. I have no fight with Edward Seaga, I am aware there is a significant portion of the labor party which is still aligned to that wing. I am just not convinced that the Seaga doctrine has been helpful for the party or the country overall. The leadership style of Seaga arguably placed the party in oblivion for 18 1/2 years and continued into relegating the party into the first single term for either party in the history of elective politics in the country.
1972 : The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon Hugh Shearer, cutting the ribbon at the official ceremony of the Jamaica Industrial Development Corporation’s, Small Industries Development Division at 2 Ruthven Road, Kingston 10. The division is a special new
department created to assist the small entrepreneur.
The labor party must prepare itself for tough slow slogging, if it is to change the perception it allowed to become reality. Despite the fact that the labor party is the party which stands for real growth and development through low crime, education, and low taxes, it has ceded too much ground over the years to the other party which follows a path of populism, crash program, intimidation and scare tactics aimed at the business class. Labor has a rich tradition which it must bring to the table. It must reintroduce young people to the labor party which believes in work and entrepreneurship over the dependency of a welfare state.(jamaica labour party.com)
Picture of the Cornwall Regional Hospital which was built by the Jamaica Labour Party
Many people do not know of the stellar history of the Jamaica labor party. The party has not done enough to educate and inform the people, it has allowed the debate to be shaped by its adversaries. It has allowed a false narrative to develop that it is a party for the rich. The reverse is actually the truth. A party which sets long-term goals of adhering to the rule of law, which believes in the free market, which believes that cheap handouts is not in the long-term interest of the individual, or the country by extension , is a party that should be supported.
Picture of The National Conference center which was built in record time (1 year) !
Factory workers sewing in a garment factory during the 1980s
In the 1980’s This was what inside factories looked like, production was humming towering edifices were being constructed that will be part of the national landscape for generations to come. Even if we are unable to get these labor intensive jobs back, we must find a way to bring technological jobs to Jamaica, this is the party that knows how to do that.
Go out and do it Andrew Holness.