The People’s National Party of today, has become the People’s National Poppy-show; and everybody from green to orange to neutral can see it for themselves. Just a small disclaimer for your preconceived notions, I am not a die-hard Labourite or a newly recruited member of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) who is attacking the People’s National Party (PNP) for political points. No. I’m just a young person, who is concerned about what once was the leadership of our country. Now, from readings on our Jamaican political history, it was quite evident that this was once a movement meant for the upliftment and progression of Jamaica land we love; putting all petty things aside to achieve this overarching mission. But the recent happenings over the last two years have left me in a state of bewilderment; and it leads me to wonder if these people really know what they are doing. The JLP being the underdogs for the last 2 decades have actually proved themselves over the last 7 months, and they must be credited for their style of politicking.
The current leadership of the PNP is the worst I have seen in years, and there is evidence to support my harsh words. Madam Portia Simpson Miller (PSM) and her senior counterparts have significantly dissolved the trust and respect comrades and Jamaicans alike once had for the party, with effortless grace and style. Values of integrity, accountability, transparency, unity and decency have been demoted to mere talking points to get the crowd going at a political rally; but we seldom see these values being put into practice.
As a young and neutral enthusiast of Jamaican politics I have to question Madam PSM’s integrity when I see last year during the pre-election period, her Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson and fellow comrade almost run the Health Ministry into the ground and escape any sort of retribution fitting for failed ministers. In fact, because they are such good comrades she gave the boss another Ministry to do a wonderful job with; presuming the Jamaican people would return them to government. Her arrogance as well during the political race, and the immaturity and mediocre political strategies employed by her team leads me to wonder again if this is a group of people who know what they are doing! All predictions from political pundits suggested beyond reasonable doubt that PNP had that election in the bag, but it was the wit and decisiveness of the JLP that gave them the extra inches in the race to clinch it.
Now, fast forward a few months post-election, and they seemed to be humbled and in a state of reflection and planning. But no one could avoid the bangarang caused by the former MP and State Minister of Entertainment and Tourism the Honorable Damion Crawford and two seniors in the party, General Secretary Paul Burke and especially Senator Dr. Angela Brown-Burke. What a hot mess! Husband and wife attacking the adopted son of the PNP, who was and still is arguably one of Jamaica’s most beloved young politicians. It was distasteful and eye-opening to see the bitterness and tension that existed between the young and old of the party. That is probably when the Poppyshow begun, and I think we’re in for a few many more episodes because this story line doesn’t seem to be climaxing any time soon.
And then there is now, this campaign finance scandal that the PNP seniors are actually trying to justify. It is corruption, CO-RRUP-TION; and I think they are still so caught up in their arrogance that they can’t seem to realize their wrongs. Norman Horne, the former PNP Treasurer, is a hero of democracy for releasing those reports, because wrong is wrong and right is right; despite the color it is dipped in. This is why our governance is so slow and retrogressive compared to other nations with even limited resources than us. This thinking that there is a place for corruption and dictator- style politics is how you erode a democracy, not preserve it. And the JLP is not innocent of corruption either; in fact they are probably worse.
So, here’s my advice to the PNP: fix your leadership if you want to move forward. Madam Portia Simpson Miller has been an incredible stateswoman and her contribution to Jamaica’s politics and development is unprecedented, and we appreciate her for that. But the fact is, her time has passed. The “Mama P” superwoman appeal she once had with the electorate has now been replaced by an old, stubborn grandma afraid to pass on the baton to the next generation. Dr Karl Blythe needs to have several seats also, because by no means am I implying he is the alternative. Youth, in the party like Lisa Hanna, Julian Robinson, Raymond Pryce, Damion Crawford and Dayton Campbell to name a few are the fixers the party needs and I can almost guarantee that if they are given a chance to make magic happen, it will. I’m not suggesting however that all the seniors be packed into a coaster bus and sent to retirement, but there needs to be a more equal blend between the young and the old. With that sort of structure, it invites new ideas and perspectives to contend the traditional ones and this is how they will create the contemporary solutions their party needs. Lastly, the bangarang and passa passa between old and new generations needs to end; indefinitely. Michael Manley must be begging Jesus to send him back after seeing the Poppyshow his PNP has turned into. Come on comrades, you all know and can do better than this.