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 débâ­cle 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 coöper­a­tion 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 12 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 par​ty​.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 .

    • 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 Régime is destroy­ing and grab­bing what’s left to grab.

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