Two Take-aways From The Elections Yesterday

TWO CRUCIAL ISSUES IN THE BY ELECTIONS HELD YESTERDAY IN JAMAICA

Dunn the JLP’s can­di­date

Issue #1

The elec­tion of Dr. Norman Dunn a son of south-east Saint Mary sends a strong mes­sage to those in the lead­er­ship of both polit­i­cal par­ties who would para­chute can­di­dates into con­stituen­cies and force them onto vot­er that this prac­tice will not be tol­er­at­ed.
Bringing in can­di­dates and ask­ing peo­ple to vote for them is not democ­ra­cy, allow­ing cit­i­zens to chose their own rep­re­sen­ta­tives is the begin­ning of the demo­c­ra­t­ic process.

Channelling the 1970’s George Nooks song “my father born ya” a pejo­ra­tive pop­u­lar­ized against Edward Seaga by the PNP, it should be stan­dard pro­to­col cod­i­fied in law, that only Jamaicans who live in Jamaica for a pre­scribed peri­od of time may be elect­ed to the Parliament.

The JLP though offend­ed by the 1970’s dis­par­age­ment of Edward Seaga, [a true son of Jamaica in every sense except by birth]by the Manley cam­paign , made the very same mis­take neces­si­tat­ing a by-elec­tion in 2009 for can­di­dates Vaz, Mair, Stern and Robinson.
It’s time now for the Legislature to act deci­sive­ly to fix this loop-hole in the laws so that there are no ambi­gu­i­ties as to who qual­i­fies to sit in the nation’s par­lia­ment.

Dr. Shane Alexis

Dunn’s roots in the Parish will not make him a good rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the peo­ple, that rests with Dunn and Dunn alone.
The man­date giv­en him as a son of the soil is a sol­id repu­di­a­tion of Dr. Shane Alexis, a Canadian cit­i­zen who has a Grenadian pass­port but could­n’t both­er get­ting a Jamaican Passport.
It should be remem­bered that this imbroglio may have cost the PNP that seat, as that seat has been a depend­able PNP seat for a long time.
Moving from a one-seat major­i­ty 32 – 31 to 33 – 30 gives the gov­ern­ing JLP the nec­es­sary breath­ing room it need­ed to push its agen­da.
That breath­ing room, how­ev­er, should be used to imme­di­ate­ly put the ped­al to the met­al in erad­i­cat­ing vio­lent crime.
The JLP sim­ply can­not expect to con­tin­ue to talk about what crime used to be under the PNP, they took over the reins of gov­ern­ment in March of 2016.

Issue #2

Mark Golding

The oth­er chal­lenge to our demo­c­ra­t­ic process is the fact that there were elec­tions process­es in three con­stituen­cies but essen­tial­ly there was only a sin­gle elec­tion which had any cred­i­bil­i­ty.
By-elec­tions held in the St. Andrew Southwestern seat made vacant by the for­mer par­ty leader Portia Simpson Miller and the Southern St. Andrew seat vacat­ed by Omar Davies due to retire­ment were the two seats also being com­pet­ed for as well.

Angela Brown-Burke

The ele­va­tion of Mark Golding and Angella Brown Burke to these seats should give nei­ther of these two indi­vid­u­als any sense of accom­plish­ment in these heav­i­ly gar­risoned con­stituen­cies.
Regardless of what they have to say they ought to be ever mind­ful that they are line-bene­fac­tors of two con­stituen­cies which were stacked with PNP sup­port­ers years ago at the expense of oth­er vot­ers.
Those who occu­py these be they JLP or PNP ought to take no pride in rep­re­sent­ing those con­stituen­cies, the peo­ple who live in com­mu­ni­ties which are zones of polit­i­cal exclu­sions are worse for where they live.
Garrison com­mu­ni­ties are usu­al­ly more impov­er­ished and under­served than oth­er con­stituen­cies.

It was refresh­ing to hear Prime Minister Andrew Holness pro­claim in 2014,“Zones of polit­i­cal exclu­sion are incom­pat­i­ble with free­dom and aspects of our pol­i­tics are an affront to lib­er­ty.” “It is time to end gar­ri­son pol­i­tics now”. 
Since then not much has hap­pened toward the process of dis­man­tling the gar­risons, the time is now for those com­mu­ni­ties to be opened up so that the lives of all Jamaicans can be bet­ter.

Failing to do so leaves large swaths of the Jamaican peo­ple slaves of the polit­i­cal par­ties. Failing to do so erodes our democ­ra­cy and make the result of elec­tions an exer­cise in pro­vid­ing answers we already have.
It dimin­ish­es our coun­try and our insti­tu­tions and ulti­mate­ly ren­ders us all slaves to the very insti­tu­tions we cre­at­ed and the peo­ple we ele­vate to serve us.