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Friday, December 30, 2011


Late last night, the preliminary results indicated that the PNP had won 41 seats and the JLP 22 or almost two thirds majority compared to the razor-edge majority by which the JLP won in 2006.

On a personal level, Andrew Holness was my friend during my college years at UWI. I campaigned for him when he ran for the position of President of the UWI (Mona) Guild of Undergraduates. He is not necessarily anywhere close to my “industry-standard” politician; but he has come a long way in respect of his political maturation. I had a feeling that despite his admirable performance as a Minister for Education et al, compared with Golding and Seaga, he was still a “Prime Minister in training” and he was yet to complete his political novitiate; in that context, he was light years away from his predecessors, Seaga and Golding.

Sometimes, I feel tempted to believe that he was turned into a sacrificial lamb for Golding’s prime ministerial sins.

Having said this, I must confess that I have a deep personal liking for both Golding and also Seaga. They both are very talented leaders who have impressed me a great deal.

I was a student in Jamaica when Golding broke away from the JLP to form his own NDM party. I thought that he initially made a dramatic and profound first impression with his political philosophy, rhetoric and appeal to academia; but in the end, his NDM political experiment was not sustainable and it failed.  

I had the honour of listening to Seaga at a Hall Dinner; and I felt that I could listen to him “forever”. He was a veritable no-nonsense leader; but his “its-my-way-or–the-highway” idiosyncrasies might have compromised his political credibility. On the Jamaican political landscape, however, he was highly likeable, very charismatic and hugely popular. He was a sort of legend who was loved by the USA.

Seaga was well-known for his “sublime” don-manship. I say “sublime” arguably because while his opponents might have thought he was controversial for his embrace of garrison politics, he somehow paradoxically kept his national honour intact - just as John Compton did. He – like Sir John - was never found guilty of, neither was he embroiled in any indictable or atrocious offense or crime even when it was alleged that his “disciple” Dons like the late Lester Coke pursued their “garrison agenda” on his behalf.

Personally, I am not a fan of the 66-yr old Portia Simpson. I preferred PJ by light years. I have always had issues with her leadership of both country and party. It is noteworthy that Like Seaga, she is/was a Don, earning over 100% of the votes cast in her constituency!

On the charismatic plane, Portia is arguably the antithesis of Golding and Seaga. She lays no claim to academia; and she does not pretend to be intellectual, even when she is the holder of a degree in Public Administration and an honorary doctorate in humane letters. During her debate with Holness, most people thought she had made a fatal mistake when she ventured into the “taboo territory” of buggery law review. She was blasted by homophobic elements across Jamaican society and also online readers of major newspapers.  

Even if I am not a fan of Portia, I might be more inclined to embrace the philosophical plane of her party than that of the JLP. My political philosophy is largely asymmetrical with the philosophy of the JLP - even if it portrays itself as a Labour Party. My view is that the JLP is not a genuine labour party; but more like our UWP.

In spite of all the badness Jamaica is alleged to be known for, I am not aware that there was/is a single convicted criminal or a candidate with questionable or checkered background running for political office – as were the case for St. Lucia. In fact, the Minister for Mining honourably and gracefully stepped down from his Ministerial and political office on his own accord when his US Visas were revoked.

In any case and notwithstanding, because of the “comparative maturity’ of Jamaican democracy, it is inconceivable that any of the political parties would tolerate that quirky situation; neither would the press or the electorate remain mute about it. Only in St. Lucia!

Late last night, the preliminary results indicated that the PNP had won resounding 41 seats (or almost two thirds majority) compared to the JLP's 22. In 2006, the JLP  won by a razor-edge majority.

Congratulations to Honorable Portia Simpson!

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