By Mario Boothe
It’s been a staple in my “political diet” for some weeks now but, after overindulging on the United States government shutdown and possible default, I took a break to catch up on the local happenings of the Jamaican politico-sphere and found myself back on the campaign trail following (MP) Audley “Man-a-Yawd” Shaw’s challenge for the Leader of the Opposition and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) – throwing his deeply-rooted image as a talk first, stomp and roar politician under the proverbial bus, to persuade his level headed doubters.
Mario Boothe is a young aspiring political analyst, with a growing blog readership. He has been involved in the Jamaican political environment with his involvement in political organizations and groups. He has obtained an associate’s degree in hospitality and tourism management, majoring in travel and tourism
The incumbent (MP) Andrew “Youth-phoric” Holness was also on his ‘tippy toes’ almost giving tantrum-like performances for his faithful followers and his ‘backscratchers’, trying to convince the Labourites (delegates) that he was the “best man” for the goliath task of returning the politically tormented JLP to ruling status.
Road to Victory
Democracy seems to be a phenomenon for the JLP – favouring to anoint their leaders for a smooth transition of ‘power’ rather than leaving it to the delegates to decide.
As a product of that unholy autocratic -- Big Man -- system Andrew Holness, the self-proclaimed “transformational leader” should be using this opportunity to champion the type of “transformation” he’s willing to implement by announcing his full support for democracy and not politically favourable and acceptable democracy. Instead his surrogates propagate undemocratic messages of “betrayal, dirty money, questionable motives, bad timing and voter suppression” as to portray the Shaw challenge as something other, something un-labourite-like and break the spirit of the challenge; hoping that there is enough disdain for ‘raw politics’ among the population that Audley would not take the risk.
We have heard constantly that a challenge could possibly set back the party’s recovering and restructuring efforts after the surprising landslide defeat in the last general election, but yet the official report containing the reasons that led to the downfall of the JLP has not been released to members of the party, according to Shaw. It’s slightly possible that one of the recommendations involve delegate inclusion. The ruling Peoples National Party, as explained by Shaw, is not concerned with the internal mess that a leadership race may bring because they know they can only get stronger once democracy is applied.
This challenge will historically define the JLP for future reference and it history will not recall the outcome but the road to victory or defeat.
What’s the Point?
So what’s the point when we know that the Jamaica Labour Party will not form the next ruling government after the next general election or after any other general elections for that matter –unless something causes a major shift in the political paradigm of Jamaica?
As both sides declare themselves the saving grace of the party and, to a lesser extent, Jamaica, the truth that has been obscured by the fixating and sometimes nauseating internal party politicking, is that this race is more about publicity than anything else.
Expecting this race to trouble the waters is nothing but pure imagination, although some labourites would contend that it’s the second coming of Andrew Holness and the homecoming of Audley Shaw to his rightful place as head of the establishment. What happens after the race will certainly change nothing for ordinary Jamaicans – who see both candidates and their ideas as nothing new. Unfortunately the uncommitted, disinterested and the forgotten have little to no faith in the prospects of another JLP (no matter the leader) or PNP government.
So, it’s not that Jamaica is just a “PNP”, “socialist” or “anti-capitalist” country, with people depending on very big (ineffective) government, but it’s the barren and unhealthy political soil that has been plaguing our nation for years, because of the inseparability of corruption and politics causing many of our bright, creative and free minds to stay on the outlines and criticise a political culture that has distanced itself somewhat from the realities of true Jamaican life and has nestled itself in a state of unproductive cycles of pretend governance and dishonest democracy, creating an environment with a false sense of security.