Bad luck is reputed to be worse than obeah, but seeing the way that things are working out for the JLP in office I’m not sure recent events can be chalked up to bad luck alone. Some kind of obeah or “science” may provide a more convenient scapegoat for the series of unfortunate events that is befalling members of the Jamaica Labour Party, it is either that or they are intent on committing political suicide.
I am beginning to believe that before 2009 is over the JLP will give back the majority to the PNP either as a result of a series of forced by-elections or even a general election.
Consider what is on the horizon:
- Daryl Vaz will likely need to have a new by-election against Dabdoub or worse-case-scenario Dabdoub will be declared the actual winner of the seat in parliament which is currently the subject of a lawsuit.
- Robertson is likely to be charged stemming from his interaction with police in his district after, he alleges, a constituent called him for help. Who can say that he will not be convicted?
- Hibbert is under multiple investigations stemming from a stint years ago as Chief Technical Officer in a government ministry. Who knows where this will go?
- And Hibbert’s lawyer, his fellow MP Ernest Smith, is busy issuing what can only be interpreted as death threats against the Contractor General, that the CG will “one day digest the venom of his own spleen!” So it wouldn’t surprise me if the Opposition or the OCG files a police report regarding those menacing comments.
With friends like these the JLP needs no enemies! And the sad fact is that the examples above are not isolated incidents, but part of a pattern of self-destructive interactions with the media. Prior to the recent “death threat” from MP Smith, we saw Daryl Vaz ‘out-virago’ the Most Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller with his performance after the police interrupted a rally in the run-up to local government elections in 2007 — screaming and roaring “No badda Minister me nutten” in unrestrained anger while his wife was sobbing in the car next to him. I had hoped I was watching a cameo appearance on the TV show Royal Palm Estate when I first saw the video of that fracas.
And we have also seen The Everald Warmington One Man Humor and Heckling Show from the benches of Gordon House, his generally boorish behavior in parliament made worse by his famous declaration that “he doesn’t talk to the press.”
And all of this grieves me personally, as I watch a party with promise implode and wilt under the glare of the spotlight, the words not-ready-for-prime-time comes to mind. I have stated where my loyalties lie repeatedly, but I carry water for no-one in this space. There are times when I watch the verbal incontinence coming out of the JLP and wonder if they knew they were interacting with the media at the time the comment was made.
The JLP has had a horrendous press relations arm both for the party and for the Government. The Prime Minister is there to personally defend every infraction: from shady land deals that don’t seem to stand up to scrutiny at first glance; to being the one to address the Hibbert raid in parliament; which it is my opinion that some ‘deputy-so-and-so’ should have addressed. Where the PM needs to be is announcing the Ananda Alert and the recent Sex Offender Registry — didn’t see enough photos or soundbites from that. Nor have I seen enough photos and sound bites from a whole host of recent ‘good-news’ initiatives announced but not properly rolled out.
And it seems to me that the worst mistake the Prime Minister is making is to spend his political capital defending people who shouldn’t have been in such indefensible positions to begin with (see: Board of Directors, JUTC.) When the people no longer feel that Bruce Golding is a man of principle, he will be finished politically.
If this behavior can be such a turn-off for a supporter, how repulsive it must be to those who are neutral; further to the PNP-inclined it must function as a highly effective repellent. The JLP has members in the forefront of the party behaving like tactless, tasteless, classless, graceless, boorish, brutish buffoons. Every group can be expected to have “new orientation” moments during their honeymoon period; but there is a proverb that “whom the gods wish to destroy they first make drunk with power.” And the perception increasingly is that the JLP is heavily inebriated. I don’t know how else to describe it except in the words of Bob Marley “Ah wha mek dem a gwaan so? A wha! A wha! A wha frighten dem?”
The Prime Minister needs to act. I would hope that whatever else he does he takes the Information portfolio away from Babsy Grange, and gives it to someone else. Maybe Holness? Grange, who is by many accounts a wonderful woman, can keep the Youth and Culture portfolios, but Info has got to go!
I would also hope that the PM sends around a memo that media is the plural of medium, meaning:
Media: A means of mass communication, such as newspapers, magazines, radio, or television.
To that end a politician never really speaks to the media as he speaks with the masses through the media.
If Warmington continues to insist on heckling and boorish behavior from the Government benches, someone should direct him to St. William Grant Park to perform his routine, it is only a short distance away and perhaps he will catch the attention the person(s) responsible for booking new acts at Ward Theatre. Otherwise, Warmington might actually concentrate on governing while on the government side. The PM needs to act, a close majority doesn’t mean you can’t risk insulting anyone at all — especially not when they are engaged in behavior which will doom that small majority anyway.
Meanwhile if you notice, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller is scarce while the JLP is busy ruining themselves. Every now and then Pickersgill peers down from the window of his glass house and throws a few stones — but Portia is scarce. So if the JLP fails to take responsibility and implement strong remedial steps to increase the confidence of the people, I can only advise that they begin to come up with a creative excuse for the loss that is sure to come from any impending general election. My suggestion: Blame obeah!
Above all, please don’t blame voters, or pretend it’s because the uneducated are not sophisticated enough to understand global finance. If the JLP refuses to blame party leaders, since bad luck is not sufficient to explain the fact that they have lost their damn minds: just blame obeah!