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.

Andrew Holness Leader opposition JLP
Andrew Holness
Leader opposition JLP

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.

Bruce Golding
Bruce Golding

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.


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)

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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) !

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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.



  1. Mike , I have news for you, the labour party is at it again shooting itself in the foot . There is already talk about a challenge to Andrew Holness presidential position by Audly Shaw, perhaps I should use a much stronger language to describe the situation as it exist , still searching for the the adjectives . I guess Holness’ leadership style lacks the traditional confrontational fire that’s needed within the party to motivate its members . Nothing is wrong with a challenge, after all its a democracy and Andrew himself has declared that he welcomes that challenge and hold true to the principles of democracy . In the interim the country is starved of an effective opposition . Perhaps the prudent minds within the party , not sure if any is left, will move quickly to resolve this issue and get on with the business of keeping the incumbents on their toes . Indeed, they might learn a thing or too from suggestions you made in this piece .

    1. Audley Shaw should sit his old ass down somewhere and allow for new fresh Ideas from the likes of people like Holness and Chris Tufton. These old time politicians are all about self, his time has come and gone, a political party is not a monarchy, , this idea of succession is silly. In the meantime the inept corrupt Portia Simpson Miller Regime is destroying and grabbing what’s left to grab.

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