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 on Thursday, 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 came as a pulmonary shock. The symptoms they were showing: 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?
On 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 messages from the parties 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 seemingly 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 sharp disparity between the wealthy and the rest of Jamaicans and a growing gap of inequality led someone to ask the question: do you want to speak to the manager or someone who knows what’s going on?
That 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.
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