Thursday the 29th of December was my birthday. I told my wife I did not need a birthday present, I am a simple man who really requires very little to make me happy. So as usual I went to work as I always did, something I absolutely love to do, particularly working for myself at my very own business. I was blown away that my 18-year-old son a freshman in college who just recently started working in retail part time told me excitedly on the phone “dad don’t eat anything today I’m taking you to dinner for your birthday and you can eat what you want”. I felt that somehow a part of my life had come full circle. I could hardly contain my emotions. What I really anticipated however was that the Jamaican people would continue on the path of accountability. Downward trending crime and terror, a revived agri-sector, three continuous quarters of positive growth,a buoyant tourism industry and optimism on the part of potential investors. Secure in the knowledge that Jamaica is a country on its way to first world status by way of a market economy . Instead of an ideologically driven cult-run, banana republic operating on failed policies of 40 years ago. After 5.pm I started listening to the radio on power 106 on the internet, it was a difficult task trying to decipher what was going on amidst the fake accents of the many experts all vying for airtime on that medium. I did however gather that the People’s National Party was leading in the raw vote, even as a child this was the norm during national elections, the PNP would run away with the raw vote , which is the direct total of electors who cast their vote. the raw vote in Jamaica however has never been clean, when one factors in voter intimidation,ballot box stuffing, the stealing of ballot boxes, dead voters on the voters list, electors voting a multiplicity of times,and a plethora of other anti democratic acts. Both Parties have been guilty of these practices, so to a large extent the raw vote was never a reliable barometer for measuring how elections would turn out,they generally resulted in showing up the disparity with the amount of votes coming out of garrison constituencies against the amount of electors living in those communities. However it would be naiveté’ of me to believe that if the raw vote total kept going up for the PNP that it would not seriously impact the elections in their favor, which is exactly what happened. So at 8.pm I logged off the internet closed my business place and walked out knowing that Jamaica had made the decision to return to a welfare state. I walked away feeling angry, I felt that the Jamaica Labor Party should cease contesting elections in Jamaica, let the country be solely the charge of the PNP and let them live in the squalor they vote for time and again. At that moment I wished that all labor party supporters should have a way of leaving the morass , and all who voted for Portia Simpson Miller should be forced to live with the consequences of their actions and certainly not allowed to leave.
Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller and parts of the constituency she has represented for decades.
Since Universal adult suffrage Jamaicans have gone to the polls 16 times, of those 16 times the People’s National Party have won 9 contests to the 7 of the Jamaica Labor party. Previous to the dubiously historic single term for the JLP, the People’s National Party held office for a fantastically historic continuous 181/2 years, Pundits, commentators, media types and plain PNP supporters arrogantly proclaim Jamaica to be PNP country. Some have argued that the JLP is simply a filler for the country when they are a little tired of PNP governance. The results of the last election seem to cement that notion and as one ecstatic crash program enthusiast crowed online quote “the whole country now orange”, referring to the tell-tale orange color of the PNP. To these die-hard it matters not that this is emblematic of how Jamaicans vote when they do not get their way , in 1980 Manley was only able to hold onto 9 seats out of a total 60 and came close to losing his, many argue to this day that Michael Manley actually lost his seat but was allowed to keep it to minimize the shame . In the 90’s Edward Seaga saw his fortunes erased and he was delivered a crushing defeat , managing to hold onto a measly 8 seats out of 60. This pattern of voting either points to an electorate that throws hissy fits, or one that has violent mood swings.. I would hazard that the former is closer to the truth. Jamaicans vote their own selfish interests. Their interests are usually as base as their bellies, If Jamaica was PNP country as some proclaim how could Edward Seaga have won 51 seats in 1980? The truth is there was no flour, sugar, rice , salt fish or any of the things we like on the shelves in Jamaica’s stores, that was the determinant in those elections.
Whatever the reasons for the disappearance of those items from store shelves is for the prognosticators and pundits to argue. Hungry people gravitate to where they feel they will get fed, people wanted their staples back , they voted for Seaga and they got their staples back. The PNP has always being the party that promises everything, Government jobs in abundance, of course to an unsophisticated electorate this is music to their ears, of course they are going to gravitate to that party. The fundamental difference between the parties is rather simple, one party offers promises , platitudes, and handouts, it appeals to the base needs of the most vulnerable to win elections , after which it misuses scarce resources to pay off hacks and loyalists, others are placed on the public payrolls where they continue to bleed the state without any returns on the resources handed out to them . In some cases many never did a minute’s work yet they have collected salaries for years .
The other party has the correct formula, it understands that prosperity cannot come through handouts, or political patronage, but will only be accomplished through low crime , investment opportunities, education and a market driven strategy, this usually means that the public payroll is purged of dead wood. There has got to be belt-tightening and in some cases austerity is necessary. This is generally seen as arrogant, cold-hearted and cruel, so back to the party of hand outs they go welcome to Jamaica. Business does not like uncertainty, it doesn’t like bellicose rhetoric, hence there is no one beating down Jamaica’s doors begging to invest there. The reason for this is that there is no continuity neither party wants to continue a program that will potentially bring credit to the other, in the end the country suffers
The PNP will form the next Government in short order, once again they will have access to all that they craved, demanded, and somehow believe to be their birth-right, the reigns of power and access to the public coffers. They will be forced to balance the demands of lending institutions that the workforce be slashed, against those who voted for their JEEP-full of jobs. It will be interesting to see how this will be accomplished , my guess is that there will be serious fallout in this balancing act , culminating into a withholding of funds from lending agencies and a return to a demonizing of capitalists and their institutions, upon which there will be hell to pay from those who sold their votes on the promise of crash program jobs in the JEEP. There are two classes of PNP supporters, the sacrificial lambs who consistently fall victim to the promises that are made to them and the elitists who actually becomes filthy rich from lucrative contracts, and payoffs. It will continue this way until the electorate realizes there are no free lunches, sacrifices will have to be made, sometimes those who sacrifice will not benefit from those sacrifices, but their children and the country will be better for it.
The Labor party has made tremendous miscalculations and mistakes, none more profound than the Manat Phillips and Phelps matter involving Christopher (Dudus) Coke. This has left an indelible scar on the JLP, a good friend of mine swears that the defeat of the JLP is directly because they have not moved to make the Opposition a party to how monies in (JDIP) The Jamaica infrastructural development program are spent. Really ? I was really unaware of that level of sophistication of the electorate, surely this is news to me , it may very well be true but I am more inclined to go with my instincts and my gut feelings , they simply do not understand the challenges of a weak world economy and the consequences to small dependent economies like Jamaica’s.
Those in the media ,let me be specific the Editorial board of the Gleaner, the country’s oldest news paper has now taken it onto themselves to be in charge of the post-election exhumation and post-mortem, of course they are very happy to dole out advice to young Andrew Holness about why he lost and what he should do to ensure that he will be relevant going forward. The gall and temerity of these arrogant Pharisees is shocking, never mind that Andrew Holness is the personification of success, at age 39 Holness is accomplished academically, has a stellar record as education minister and has demonstrably shown that he is capable of leading and achieving success. Their arrogance has no bounds when they presume to suggest to the JLP that the youth arm G2K is somehow responsible for the party’s defeat. At the core of this presumptuousness is the argument that because G2K revealed to the world the crass uncultured warmongering propensity of Portia Simpson Miller they somehow disrespected the Jamaican Queen (sic).
Whatever material G2K put into the public domain is fair game, as long as the material was not doctored , changed or otherwise adjusted to misrepresent the facts, Portia must account for her crass behavior in public, She cannot hide behind gender as her surrogates, and fellow cultists expect . Man or woman we are responsible we for our actions. Portia has benefited immensely from the largess of Jamaica’s tax payers, she is a carrear politician who has always been on the government’s cheese in one role or another, she ought to know how to conduct herself at least in public. No one will be terrified of her cult following when we talk about her boorish behavior, that is what her advisers at the Gleaner’s Editorial board need to talk to her about. I don’t need to be told of her disgustingly embarrassing behavior which I witnessed in the late 80’s when her thugs were not allowed to steal ballot boxes from the White Hall Elementary school. She rolled on the ground in the middle of the streets , of course claiming that her supporters were being harassed, never mind that her constituency is nowhere near Whitehall avenue in Saint Andrew North.
So to the PNP consultants/gay lobby at the editorial board of the Gleaner mind your business, you have done a tremendous job of electing a no idea washed up throwback to Jamaica House and placed a homosexual agenda on the front burner, your job is done, leave the labor party to do what it must. Labor did not lose because of G2K, it lost because there are not enough voters who understand the complex issues of the 21’st century, they understand the needs of “eating a food and running wid it”.
Former Barbados prime Minister Tom Adams(now deceased) put it best when he said he would not want to be prime minister of Jamaica because of the high rate of illiteracy , he was right when he said it in the 80’s ,though Tom is gone his words are as true now as they were then.