Jamaica Needs To Be Committed To Regional Alliance…

Yesterday I talked about the fact that the Jamaican Media has been noth­ing but syco­phan­tic cheer­lead­ers, unwill­ing to pro­fes­sion­al­ly hold the polit­i­cal class account­able for the actions they take.
My com­ments were par­tic­u­lar­ly aimed at what I thought was the mis­char­ac­ter­i­za­tion by the media of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s vis­it last January.
The Media col­lec­tive­ly billed Pompeo’s vis­it as one aimed at (strength­en­ing the bond between two friend­ly nations)[sic].
That was the expla­na­tion out of Jamaica House. It was the sto­ry the Media pro­mul­gat­ed.
There was zero crit­i­cal think­ing as to the real rea­son the US Secretary of State vis­it­ed the Country at the time he did.

(1) No one won­dered whether or not the United States had a vest­ed inter­est in a frac­tured CARICOM, or that China’s influ­ence in JAMAICA and the region need­ed to be blunt­ed.
(2) No one thought it odd that the vis­it was done at a time when the United States des­per­ate­ly need­ed some­thing of a con­sen­sus of region­al play­ers against the Maduro gov­ern­ment in Venezuela, even as it lines up a pup­pet to take over in that coun­try?
(3) There were no ques­tions as to why it took the Secretary of State of the United States to vis­it to shore up a rela­tion­ship that has exist­ed for as long as Jamaica has been a nation?
(4) There were no raised eye­brows at the idea that Pompeo would decide that he would only meet with cer­tain lead­ers of the CARICOM com­mu­ni­ty and not oth­ers.
(5) No one asked what was gained from the vis­it of such a high pro­file mem­ber of the American Administration, that could not be worked out at the Ambassadorial lev­el.
(6) And it cer­tain­ly did not perk any­one’s inter­est that the Jamaican Prime Minister out of the blue just decid­ed, “Ah, I think I will just skip this 31st CARICOM con­fer­ence in Barbados.
(7) What did Pompeo offer the Government to stay away from Barbados? After all, a frac­tured CARICOM region is a region less sus­cep­ti­ble to China’s roman­tic entreat­ments.

Look, Andrew Holness is not a hor­ri­ble Prime Minister, he is arguably run­ning neck and neck with Edward Seaga for who is the bet­ter of the lot that suc­ceed­ed Michael Manley.
Kinda like a nov­el line from Kris Kristofferson’s
clas­sic,[ Sunday morn­ing com­ing down].

Then I fum­bled in my clos­et for my clothes and found my clean­est dirty shirt.“

He may be the best of a bad lot. His eco­nom­ic poli­cies are not bad. As it relates to infra­struc­tur­al devel­op­ment, he is sec­ond only to Hugh Shearer who built the most schools and oth­er infra­struc­tur­al projects per capi­ta than any oth­er Prime Minister in the Nation’s brief his­to­ry.
Holness’s short­com­ings are National secu­ri­ty, like many of his com­pa­tri­ots he believes he knows enough to insert him­self into the intri­ca­cies of polic­ing, to the detri­ment of the coun­try.
As a con­se­quence, vio­lent crimes have con­tin­ued to esca­late on his watch.
It bears men­tion­ing that the Prime Minister’s most impor­tant func­tion is the secu­ri­ty of the nation.
It is incom­pre­hen­si­ble that any­one would give him a pass­ing grade con­sid­er­ing that he is fail­ing at his core respon­si­bil­i­ty.

Andrew Holness is not out of time, he may yet become a great Prime Minister. In Fact, I am root­ing for him, for the coun­try’s sake.
That is, if peo­ple are will­ing to for­give the thou­sands of peo­ple who have been mur­dered on his watch, who need­n’t have died.
If the local media has some­thing to do with it he may very well be san­i­tized and made a nation­al hero.
The local Observer who cheer led Mike Pompeo’s vis­it with flow­ery non­sense, also explained away Holness’s absence from the 31st CARICOM Conference in Bridgetown Barbados.
In response to ques­tions raised by us and oth­ers about the real rea­sons that Holness, the leader of the largest Nation with­in CARICOM was not in Barbados, the Observer’s Editors decid­ed to take on the role of Spokesperson for Jamaica House on Thursday.
Caricom meet­ing: The sky is not falling” they declared.

Some are view­ing his deci­sion to stay away as his refusal to delib­er­ate­ly walk into the lion’s den of angry lead­ers who are in Bridgetown with more than the usu­al agen­da. The fret­ting about the Jamaican lead­er’s absence, and the refusal to take his expla­na­tion at face val­ue, is clear­ly relat­ed to the tim­ing, because the recent con­tretemps regard­ing the vis­it of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has not yet com­plete­ly sim­mered. That vis­it to Jamaica by Mr. Pompeo was crit­i­cized by the Caricom Chairman and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley and a hand­ful of oth­er lead­ers as an attempt to divide Caricom, while Mr. Holness explained it was a nor­mal bilat­er­al meet­ing between two friend­ly coun­tries. The sus­pi­cions about Jamaica’s motives as being nation­al­is­tic per­sist and nerves are still raw. As we say in Jamaica, some of the Caricom heads are just being ‘jumpy’. But we believe in this space that too will pass.(Observer)

What a load of crock. The Jamaican Prime Minister had a duty to attend the con­fer­ence. The Editors, act­ing as the Jamaica House offi­cial organ, and by its own admis­sion, agree that Jamaica needs CARICOM despite what some sil­ly polit­i­cal min­ions have been say­ing.
[Jamaica is sen­si­ble and prac­ti­cal enough to under­stand that the coun­try is bet­ter off with Caricom than with­out it. indeed, Canada has just announced it wants an annu­al meet­ing with Caricom lead­ers to strength­en its rela­tion­ship with the 15-mem­ber region­al inte­gra­tion group­ing. Why would Jamaica not want to be part of that? The Editorial con­ced­ed.
The region­al alliance is a net pos­i­tive for all sig­na­to­ries, even as mem­ber states retain their cher­ished sov­er­eign­ty. The ben­e­fits of trade, trav­el, and oth­er coop­er­a­tions can­not be overem­pha­sized in the 21st cen­tu­ry.
The idea that Jamaica can stand on its own and does not need part­ners, is the kind of think­ing that has got­ten the coun­try into this death spi­ral of crime it is now in.
What the Jamaican Prime Minister must be care­ful of, is not to allow him­self and our coun­try to be used as a pawn against our neigh­bors with­in CARICOM by those with sin­is­ter motives.
Even as the drum­beats con­tin­ue about the ben­e­fits of the rela­tion­ship between the USA & Jamaica, the human car­go of depor­tees con­tin­ues from the United States to Jamaica.
Many of those being deport­ed are inno­cent of the crimes they were con­vict­ed of. Many left Jamaica as babies. Many com­mit­ted sim­ple infrac­tions American tourists to Jamaica com­mit dai­ly.
None of that mat­ter to American Authorities, not in State, and damn sure no one in the so-called Department of Justice.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer Jamaican police Detective cor­po­ral, busi­ness­man, researcher, and blog­ger. 
He is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog chatt​-​a​-box​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al web­sites.
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