As someone who support neither of the two gangs that pass for genuine political parties in Jamaica. I am nonetheless left shaking my head, wondering just how stupid Portia Simpson Miller and her party think Jamaicans are ? We will attempt to answer that question through out this post , making all attempts to be fair and objective to Miller, based on her record and that of her party. The People’s National Party (PNP) won the popularity contest decades ago over their rivals the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP),As a result they arrogantly claim Jamaica is PNP country. arrogant though that claim is, there is s significant amount of truth to it. As a boy my dear granddad who did double duties as my dad, told me numerous times that Bustamante said his cousin Norman Manley was like a snake and he did not trust him as far as he could throw him. Both my granddad and his brother my great Uncle told these stories, my youngest brother brings our great-uncle back to life with parody when he relives those stories. Busta obviously had little trust for his cousin Norman Manley.
One can reasonably argue that maybe Busta’s distrust was paranoia, after all Busta was not the glib articulate British educated Queens council Barrister his cousin Norman was. Jokes abound, (generally in the circles of PNP partisans), about Busta’s lack of intellect, Busta having honed his skills in the rough and tumble world of the trade union movement in its early days. Busta is not absolved from the stain of populism and charisma, his cousin was just better at it . Having been born Alexander Clarke to an Irish planter Robert Clarke and a Jamaican woman Mary Clarke Bustamante reportedly changed his name to Bustamante the name of a Spanish sea-captain whom it is reported adopted him. Busta reportedly spent some of his early years in Spain where he was educated and later joined the Spanish Army. He then went to Cuba and New York after which he returned to Jamaica in ,1932 he dabbled in a private business he founded which specialized in lending money, but poor working conditions , low wages , poverty and other social ills catapulted him into writing letters, organizing protest action, giving speeches and mediating on behalf of workers. His advocacy took him all over the Caribbean where he advocated on behalf of workers, In 1938 the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union was born. I detail these facts to show that on the question of populism Bustamante could mix it up with the best of them. The People’s National Party figured out how to win elections, like the JLP they claimed a mandate to defend the rights of the poor, they figured if the poorer class of people believe they are on their side they will most likely have more people supporting them, they have played that card perfectly, they have won more elections since Independence that the JLP has.
Many who support the PNP simply do not understand that Government cannot be looked at as a means to better their lives. Government can be a vehicle to effect change , by the laws it enacts, the impediments to growth it removes , and policies it follows, that are friendly to investment. Government however cannot be the employer of labor in a meaningful way that is sustainable, Governments take in taxes from taxpayers , it hires and pays workers from those taxes, it provides services like police , fire, and pays teachers , there can only be real employment and greater prosperity when the foundations are laid that are friendly to business allowing them to invest , hire workers , and pay takes , that is the way to economic prosperity, not from Government hand-outs through pork barrel, or criminal shoveling of cash to supporters, those are exactly how to drive a country into poverty ,and failed state status. The PNP has successfully done that after 181/2 years in office . I am left powerless, just shaking my head that this party which has literally brought this country to ruination, with uncontrolled crime , poverty, and corruption could even be considered as a credible alternative to the JLP after less that one term in Office. The JLP has done significant harm to the country in it’ handling of the Christopher Coke matter, what was revealed to the world is what Jamaicans had already known, that both political parties are really just criminal gangs, just gangs operating with different layers and responsibilities. The PNP could have done the patriotic thing and not contest the next election. They could use the time to retool the party, get rid of the old baggage , Portia, Omar Davies, Nicholson,Knight, Pickersgil, Buntin, etal. Michael Manley did not contest the general election of 1983, Edward Seaga called that snap election at a time when he thought he could win , Reagan had just invaded Grenada and Seaga had sent Jamaican soldiers as part of the occupying force. Manley was caught flat-footed and chose not to contest the elections, choosing instead to run around the world giving speeches and telling Jamaicans that the Government was illegitimate. Of course Manley knew he had no legs to stand on , any prime Minister can call elections whenever he chooses under Jamaican law. Manley chose not to contest because he felt he would lose, plain and simple. Arguing then that the snap elections were fraudulent, is tantamount to a boxer getting knocked out after failing to protect himself, then blames his opponent. Portia Simpson Miller and her party have now come up with another acronym [JEEP] Jamaica Emergency Employment Program.
Portia Simpson Miller
As if we have not had our fill of PNP acronyms, and slogans they have now developed this new JEEP. There are however a few parts missing from this JEEP. Where are we going to get the money to fuel this jeep? anyone can make promises, Portia knows that there is nothing in this JEEP program that is paid for , If they are to be instituted then there would have to be massive tax increases or borrowing. There is absolutely no way we can enact a socialist program that puts people to work unfunded. The people’s National Party has learned nothing from events shaping the world over the last two decades. Globalization is the way forward, some refer to this new phenomenon as the new world order. It has at its core serious implications for small nations like Jamaica, smaller nations will have to figure out on whose side they are on and stick to that group. In order to compete in the areas of trade, receive concessions on fuel prices, and other areas of the economy, smaller nation must be part of a group to realize those concessions and receive those considerations. CARICOM by the way is a far cry from being that group, with some members of CARICOM looking out exclusively for their individual interest. European nations have come together as the European Union, a counter balance to what they perceive to be hegemony on the part of the United States after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Africans are talking about an African Union or some sort of United States of Africa, of course they can’t even agree to disagree. South American nations like Brazil are emerging as dominant forces on the world stage through production and their commitment to using alternative energy sources like ethanol , leaving more money in their coffers to grow their economies. Asia has come of age , China in the lead is benefiting from globalization , building their economy on massive production of cheap and inexpensive goods , manipulating their currency , as well as intellectual property piracy. Other Asian nations like Indonesia, India, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and even Vietnam are emerging as economic powerhouses as a result of cooperation , benefiting from outsourced manufacturing by large countries like the United States. These countries have seen their economies take on new life as they attract manufacturing through cheap labor and less government bureaucracy. Most importantly , at a time when all nations with the exception of stubborn autocratic few like Cuba, and North Korea, are moving their economies toward free market and open trading, the PNP is proposing a raft of failed Socialist entitlements. The former bastions of Communism/ Socialism China and Russia have now recognized that the only way to remain relevant is by opening their economies to the private sector allowing for international trade and cooperation, it was what made America great, they made things and sold what they made . Jamaica should now be looking to follow suit without selling off the country to China or any other large Nation with money. Our position ought to be, we have labor we are prepared to remove barriers to investment and trade. We must lower crime which will see an enormous influx of new entrapenurialship,essentially more players will want to come to the table. Instead the People’s National Party is proposing to take the country back four decades to the seventies, with a raft of unfunded entitlement programs that look good to poor people getting a little money for doing nothing, but it will certainly be the death knell of the economy this time . When you hand out money(paper) that you haven’t earned , you simply print it , it drives up inflation, cheapens the currency and forces businesses to fail. One would have thought that by now the proponents of these programs would recognize that the way to prosperity is not through socialism, but through education hard work and ingenuity. It is time for this party of Norman Manley and his son Michael Manley to stop with the (samfy) and tell poor working class Jamaicans there are no quick fixes to their problems, educating them that the only true path is through education and hard work. That is the decent thing to do, the patriotic thing to do, failing which we will continue to lose generations after generations to poverty crime and despair. Now is the time Portia, you say you love the poor !If you love the poor now is the time to use your influence to educate them, I know it’s not popular to do, I know it’ not in your DNA, but if you want to leave a legacy of caring, and concern for the people you say you love, use this opportunity to tell poor uneducated Jamaicans that you will not be giving them any more curry goat and rice to secure their votes, tell them you want them to understand that they will have to help in nation building, by starting now , right here , at this time, in this place. What Simpson Miller should be proposing at this juncture in the interest of our country is a simple plan that offers sustainable jobs, here’s how. Miller would first have to have an understanding of the debilitating effect crime has on society, she would have to have a desire and or the will to give law enforcement what they need to do their jobs. Will and desire that are necessary components that would enable the country to offer potential investors an environment not steeped in crimes to include extortion. Portia has none of those understandings, in interview after interview she has demonstrably shown that she does not have a full grasp of the issues , or even understand the process necessary to grow our economy. The fact that the very vehicle she choses to push on the Jamaican people, the socialist JEEP was designed by people other than her or other senior operatives in the party , suggest that this is nothing based on core beliefs, but a campaign slogan designed solely to win office. Here’s an idea, at a time when the world economy is reorganizing , old norms are out the window, and new realities have to be embraced Jamaica needs to look to the future to see how we can limit the amount of scarce dollars we pay out for oil. This is the time for both the Governing party and the Opposition to come together in the interest of the country and see how we can encourage a massive investment in solar, and wind energy, there is no shortage of either of those two types of energy. Investing in them at this time creates jobs , reduces our carbon footprint and benefits our economy going forward. I would be happy to supply a written plan on how this can be achieved to the Government and the leader of the opposition, if they are willing to work together for the benefit of our country. As Golding found out from the world’s economic down-turn making promises does nothing to improve the lives of Jamaicans, we are now living in an interconnected world where the cough of one country instigates the sniffle of another . Serious politicians must now stop with cheap posturing and tell the masses of the people there are no quick fixes to the country’s fiscal problems. We are a small country our problems are not insurmountable, if we fix our crime problem, fix our bureaucratic problems, we have a chance of once again attracting investments into our country. Portia and the PNP does not understand this . Bruce Golding the present Prime Minister understands this , but was unable to extricate himself from the criminal tentacles of Christopher Coke and his Tivoli Empire, he will go down in infamy as the little train that couldn’t.