Thursday February 25, 2016 will be highlighted in the history books as the day democracy and the people of Jamaica grew one day older. It was the day that Jamaicans, articulate and otherwise,  understood that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a Prime Minister , members of the House of Representatives and government officials, but the voters of this country.

An election is simple. It is the time when those who are selected to represent the people of Jamaica gather for an evaluation on their performance. Politicians never lie so much as before an election. It is the people who must decide how they will evaluate their performance after getting rid of the slush and lies.

Many politicians use the party’s  perceived popularity as references to boost their resumes. I am a member of the PNP therefore I must be good, they say. But as many of these politicians learned yesterday, popularity of a party is by no means a measure to elect them. If it were so then the fabled Anancy the Spider would have seats in parliament.

The defeat of the PNP, despite being the popular party with the populous inarticulate came as a pulmonary shock. The symptoms they were showing,was pride and arrogance.

There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents our dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance. (John c. Maxwell)

The two parties were faced with coming before the people  with a program for their intended work. Andrew Holness decided through his interactions through social media that the only way to win this election was to make a big leap. If you don’t go out on the limb… how are you going to get the good apple?

portiaOn the  other hand the PNP decided that  every election, must have a bogey man. If you haven’t got a program, a bogey man will do. Their campaign to the people was nothing more than selected bogey tactics that made no reference to how they would impact the lives of their constituents.  This tactic backfired.
For a party expounding that theirs is the party of the future, when you line up the little chickens in the PNP, all you see is your grand father’s party.  The PNP ran an antiquated campaign reminiscent of the 80’s, including the ole party standard anthem. They seemed completely disconnected by not embracing technology and how to reach today’s generation. As one person puts it, the JLP was advertising for people to download their App, while the PNP was still wondering what was Appening?
No one told Mr Phillips, the party’s campaign manager, that people do tweet, not just birds. Neither was he told that even the inarticulate majority live on social media. Mr Holness realized that social media is the ultimate equalizer and so he dived in head first.
Whether it was by design or just poor judgement, the latter only revealing itself as the truth, the PNP  decimated its youth from its power line up to the people, ousting two progressive youth MP’s Raymond Pryce and Damion Crawford to replace them with unknowns or undesirables much to the chagrin of party comrades. They were warned the voters would retaliate. The PNP did not listen.
The two party’s message to the people of Jamaica were drastically different. On one side the PNP was expounding the bogey man tactics while the JLP was selling  political chocolate. Andrew Holness went out on a limb. He touched people’s pocket book. He promised real change to manage a depressing economy. The PNP spent their time describing Holness’s plans as a Three Card play, offering no real value. “beware the Bogey Man’ they preached.
The irony of this bogey man tactic is simple. It is hard to tell people to hold on to suffering  caused through the growing pains of progress whilst when they look at you who is expounding to hold strain, they see otherwise. Thousands of people have to make simple choices every day. They range from do I send my child to school or buy chicken back for dinner? Do I purchase 2 lbs of rice or 1 lb and buy 2 tins of mackerel?
Every pocket book decision is based on serious evaluation of pros and cons, this or that, go or stay. It is a reality so few of the party comrades in the PNP do not understand. Jamaicans have been so indoctrinated on the Culture of Poverty that the only way out is to obtain a visa to go abroad or a passport to go to another country. The Jamaican dream is to leave this country behind. It is no secret that the country’s inflow of cash from Western Union is the single most sustaining economic activity preventing a total collapse.
Jamaicans are not beggars and they are not monolithic except in one thing- we are all ambitious and desire to earn our own wealth not by handouts but by hard work and achievement. Jamaicans have been walking with their head in the cloud of poverty searching for a ray of sunshine. The youth refer to their country as alms house and so they accept the democratic socialist principles of the party as the only way out of poverty, and immersing in wild abandonment of entertainment to forget their hard life.
The disparity of  wealth and the rest of Jamaicans is  so decidedly sharp and a growing gap of inequality that eventually someone had to ask the question do  you want to speak to the manager or someone who knows what’s going on?
andrewholnessThat someone was Andrew Holness. He listened and he responded. The evaluation simply ended  with  some comrades  not going to the polls whilst others  went and technically joined the rest of the 60% and gave a protest vote and voted for the JLP.  That evaluation  was the ultimate slap in the face to those in power. The comrades reminded the league of  Grand Pa who was in charge.
Copyright 2016 Kwesi All Rights Reserved.










PM Portia Simpson and Opposition Leader Andrew Holness. Pic courtesy Gleaner Publication 

It’s the beginning of the silly season in Jamaica. In reality, there seems to be #SillySeason year round as our government and opposition consistently do silly things, but the season takes on a special aura especially when elections are called.

The PM , who promised she would  not call elections until she was ‘touched by God’ finally got  the heavenly touch  and elected to ‘Step Up the Progress” on February 25, 2016.  The opposition disagreed claiming their vision was the right vision as they would take the country from “Poverty to Prosperity”. Both parties  laying out  two road maps that are as far apart as the East is to the west coast of Jamaica.

The divide between the parties  are not unusual. From our independence  both parties have colored themselves with different color of prosperity- The PNP choosing the color orange , the JLP green. These colors have become so politically engraved in the psyche of ordinary Jamaicans that many have died wearing them. The silly season takes no prisioners.


Photo credit: Gleaner photograph. 

The colors represent battle grounds and despite calls and breakfast to pray for unity, during the season these colors never meet. Indeed it is not unusual that people of both parties refuse to even wear clothing of the colors for fear of being called a ‘sell out’ or accused of being a traitor. It was therefore not surprising when an image published by the Gleaner with supporters of both parities hugging and even kissing on the cheek made headlines. Was this a sign that Jamaicans can enjoy the season without fear or repercussions and more importantly co-exist peacefully despite their respective leader’s rhetoric?

This unusual display of unity proved only to be fantasy as no sooner than 24 hours later the leaders of the parties indicated that nothing has changed and silly season rhetoric took center stage on the political grand stand.

At issue is the agreement for both parties to participate in the National Debates and the ruling  PNP is refusing to participate because the PM , on one side is threatening lawsuits and demanding apologies to her integrity  and answers to personal matters relating to the Opposition leader and on the other Andrew Holness refusal to submit the answers and calling on his lawyers to protect his legal rights.

The lines are once again drawn. The supporters are hugging and kissing , the leaders are fighting with legal daggers drawn. I guess the best things in life are silly.

Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a Candidate of a political party; but  I just repeated my self .  To say I am disappointed is an understatement. Politics have no relation to morals. Our entire political history rebels at the thought of somehow giving politicians the power to control men’s minds.

This power was the cause of a torrid history of political violence that made the transition from the politics of violence to peaceful democracy a rather messy one. The name calling by the leaders does nothing to improve the understanding or move the political debate forward and they both know this. Consequently the refusal by the PNP to participate in the National Debates does nothing to advance their political trademark , ‘Step Up to Progress”.

Is it that the PNP seems to have found a political ploy: picking up whatever issue the JLP is vulnerable on and champion the cause? Is the real reason for this posturing a deliberate attempt to divert their own short-comings? The PM  knows the silly season has no morals and name calling is commonly practiced on both sides as cooking ackee with salt-fish.

Both are pandering to their side of the political divide and that only brews up continued political violence from the uneducated mass, and both parties have a surplus. Andrew by his comments clearly seems to be playing the man and not the politics and Portia, by her retisence is putting her feet in tepid waters of paranoia whereby the same uneducated mass will feel justified to turn to violence to remedy imagined threats.

In the silly season one thing is clear and that is political civility is not about being polite to each other . It is about reclaiming  the power of both JLP, PNP and all the other P’s to come together , debate the common good and call  the Jamaican democracy back to its highest values amid our differences.

The silly season does not have to be silly and the voters have already tasted that savory fruit as evident  in the picture above. In the very end this political stand off is only trumping one thing – Whose policies will serve Jamaica best? No debate means no answers. It would therefore seem the 51% of independents  may have a point to their stand off and refuse to participate in this political season of silliness.

No part of a politicians ego is more indispensable than fighting for an informed  electorate and ultimately peaceful elections.

Copyright © 2016 Kwesi. All Rights Reserved.