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.









Georgia, USA:
I understand the public concern over telephone expenses incurred during the twelve (12) month period July 2013 to June 2014.  During the period, I went on 15 overseas assignments on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica.  I visited several countries, including the United Kingdom, Turkey and Indonesia.  The call and data charges were incurred as I executed my duties as Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

Whilst on overseas assignment, it is necessary to be in contact with, and be accessible to the Ministry, key stakeholders and the Diaspora by phone and email.  The concern of Jamaicans is fully understood and accepted, and without more information, I know the impression that such expenditure may convey.

I acknowledge that the bills are very high, largely attributed to data and roaming charges. However, it is important for everyone to know that these bills were incurred genuinely as I carried out my work and because of the high cost of roaming for voice and data services.  In going forward, I intend to put in place measures to ensure a reduction in the cost of these bills.
Currently, I am on official business overseas and I am more than willing to address this issue and to give a more fulsome response upon return.
Hon. Arnaldo Brown, MP.‎

Arnaldo-Brown-Phone-ldI have been watching like most people the comedy of errors being played out by the characters of politics, the latest is the ‘Phone-Gate’, investigated by a journalist that has caused a lot of emotional outburst by a mass of people and from the accused nothing less than insanity.

Let me commend the journalist for breaking this story. It is rare that you find investigative journalism exercised by a Jamaican journalist as in this country it can be costly to not only investigate but to expose corruption. People take it personally here. It may be how this country was brought up, not to expose your business in public. Our parents, if not anything else, certainly  nailed that in our thick skulls growing up. For a journalist to expose these hidden secrets of a ruling government it is earth shaking for the masses but for those that are mildly curious it opens up a can of worms- how many other misappropriation and mismanagement of public funds exists and are NOT investigated or at worst  not made public?

As a country we have never been honest in expressing or communicating our true feelings. We are a classic country that says one thing but does another. A classic example how many of the promises outlined by politicians have come to past for the benefit of those who were promised? If we move away from politics you can count on your hands how many times your employer, your family or even your friend actually do something they promise to do.

Our culture is not an honest culture of self expression so people tend to take everything with a grain of salt. From  our politician to our common folk, the majority of Jamaicans are scared of the power of democracy which was created as an ideal where everyone, from the rich to the poor, have a say and can express themselves honestly and openly without repercussions. Our political culture is even worse. If you want to test democracy in Jamaica in our political culture , just have a 5 minute conversation with a PNP or a JLP supporter.

Phone-gate is split right down the political divide in Jamaica and with such a divisive electorate there is no way this scandal can be truly expunged from our present economic debacle. Jamaicans have been led, indoctrinated and persuaded to take each of our differences with a grain of salt, despising those who think differently or ensuring that those who differ are marginalized , casted out , killed or maimed. It is our volcanic differences that lie at the crux of our maturity as a nation, a maturity that allows us to see when our politicians are pulling the cloak of ignorance over our intelligence. When we allow a  politician to think  that he is more  intelligent than the people that elect him, we have just created a monster and junior Minister Arnaldo Brown is the head of this Hydra.

talking_headsLet us be honest, if you are given $1000 and told to use as you desire, you would. A few days later you are given another $1000 and told the same thing. In time you develop a habit of spending    unconsciously as your gratification of wealth can only be measured by what you spend this wealth on. Minister Brown et al is no different. Their gratification of wealth can be measured in their use of the limitless source of funds to gratify their insatiable desire to TALK, and TALK claiming to do Jamaica’s business.  In this case the gratification of wealth is not found in mere possession of an unmonitored public cell phone  or in the lavish expenditure  accorded these Ministers  much less a “Junior” minister, but rather in its wise application of using cell phones from around the world knowing that roaming charges are like death, it spares no one, the rich or the poor.

The only difference between a private business and a government run entity is that the private business focuses on making a profit operating on the least expenditure. Any private business that takes its expenditure seriously understands that  any expenditure must generate a residuary profit for the company. Talk is cheap, It is also expensive and an expenditure of words without income of residuary profits in terms of ideas or positive economic impact to move our country forward in the short  and long term,  is nothing but  intellectual and actual bankruptcy, a situation this country is already facing. Where is the business Mr. Minister? Where does your talking on our behalf is making the lives of the least amongst us a bit bearable?

The extravagant expenditure of public money is an evil not to be measured by the value of that money to the people who are taxed for it, but rather to the sheer insensitivity of those in charge spending it with no regard for our present economic plight. Business must not only be done, it must be measured. The first responsibility of the leader of government is to define what is government business, the last is to say thank you for conducting the business. In between the definition and the thank you the leader and her ministers are a servant, servant of the people that they represent. The business they conduct is like all business, it must make money, it must move the country forward.  Running government, like a business,  is an art and good business is the best art. One million dollars of talk ought to deliver one million dollars of economic activity that is not only positive but real. The Junior Minister cannot and will not be asked to account for this real  activity, the government has never been accountable for its expenditures so why start now?

If we had built a culture where honest expectations are communicated and  accountability is the norm, then the people of Jamaica  would  address effectively and outrightly this poor performance and attitudes of the Junior minister et al and the leader would have no choice but to immediately correct this gross error of judgement and report to her shareholders the new SOP going forward. Instead we are fed with nothing but self approval and  attempts to justifying the expenditure of 5 million dollars of tax payers money with no real profit to show.

Insanity in individuals is something rear but  in groups, parties, nations and epochs It is the rule. Congratulations to everyone in showing the world and by extension the diaspora how insane we are in dealing with our economic plight. Jamaica has a government that is completely out of touch with reality and its people, through its political divide, conditioned, Indoctrinated, Manipulated to be the servants of a system we did not ask to be imposed on us, but is set up to divide and conquer. Jamaicans are not living in a democracy. We are living in a PNP/JLP autocracy where very little if anything  gets done , no one is accountable and the people either live in excessive wealth, ‘stush’ poverty or frenzied liberty where the rule of the  law does not exist.

Wake up Jamaica. We are sleeping. We can do better than this. We are a democratic country where we elect to govern the country, not a group of people. We must never forget the government is not an alien or in our case the PNP or JLP. The ultimate rulers of our country is not the PM, or the ministers of government but the voters of this country. Those that work for us are answerable to us. The voters cannot think like the government. We have to think differently, ahead of their game. If everybody were to think alike, then somebody is not thinking.

(c) 2014. All Rights Reserved.