Empty Political Pronouncements Laid Bare – A Country at Risk?

JLP supporters (left) and PNP supporters.

Both the political parties in Jamaica appear to be terribly dissatisfied with the outcome of the recent local government elections in Jamaica.

Haunting headache resulting from empty promises.

A casual observer may conclude that never were so many major pronouncements for future planned developments ever made in the campaign run-up to a Jamaican election.

An acid test now awaits the ruling JLP (Jamaica Labour Party). Failure to deliver on the wide spectra of grandiose promises within the next year will lay bare the insincerity of intent.


Mega hotels will be built. New highways will be completed. Community farm roads will be resurfaced at a pace never imaged or seen in Jamaica. Everyday Jamaicans will have their pick of well-paying jobs.

Parliamentarians will have clearly defined job descriptions. The list of promises appeared to be endless. Missing was a decisive, clear commitment to correct the obvious limitations to the effective functioning of the Integrity Commission.

Or fuller acceptance and response to reports from an oversight body like that lead by Auditor General, Pamela Monroe Ellis. Her agency evaluates and reports on how resources are managed/misused by Jamaican government agencies.

It appears serious political capital was lost by prominent politicians who parroted empty promises in the heat of the recent electoral season. Regaining that political capital, and the respect of the citizenry, may be all but impossible.

The opposition spokesperson on finance Julian Robinson commented on all the announcements regarding planned projects. 

In the Jamaican Gleaner of February 6, 2024, he is quoted as saying “I am not going to complain or decry that because … people are benefiting. I do think people have come to a position in terms of this government, where I don’t know if that is going to make a significant difference in terms of how they vote”.

An abbreviated listing of some of the announced electioneering projected developments.

  1. Additional ballooning sums for the enormously expensive Cornwall Regional Hospital rehabilitation.
  2. The most wide-ranging repairs to agricultural/parochial roads in Jamaica.
  3. Upgrading of health centres island wide.
  4. New large housing projects including in Clarks Town Trelawny.
  5. Construction of at least one large hotel with housing and farming components in tow.
  6. Ongoing construction of the Children’s Hospital in Montego Bay.
  7. Modernising of the Spanish Town Hospital.
  8. Building of a new hospital in Portmore.
  9. Continued highway improvements in Hanover, St. James, Portland, and St. Thomas.
  10. Commissioning of water system in Eden, Moco Clarendon.

Anyone tracking these announced pre-election projects and the actual completions will have a distinct political advantage in the general election due in Jamaica in 2025.

Did the JLP lose the west because even the fully, gainfully employed feel hopeless?

In conversations with young, fully employed hotel workers in Hanover, Westmoreland, and Saint James they describe a deep sense of dissatisfaction.

They reported being underpaid, overworked, underappreciated and without any clear path to advancement. The jubilation, almost tearful, they expressed on receiving as small a tip as 5 US dollars was a reality check.

Some were afraid to openly accept tips as this was not allowed by management. Many worked six days each week with little time for themselves or their families. Workers universally commented on how guests acknowledged them for the superior quality of service they delivered.

Management rarely noticed, seemed not to care, and seldom provided any structured programme of recognition for exceptionally well-done work. Owning a home or a car are not reasonable aspirations.

Going back to school is impossible with the extended hours required from work. Assisting family members economically is impossible. So, these workers who are not allowed to enjoy the beaches in their own country trudge on. Rightly envious of the tourists from an array of countries who splash and frolic with abandon in the turquoise welcoming warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Jamaicans arriving at the airport in Montego Bay must access St Elizabeth, Westmoreland, and Hanover via pot-hole strewn roadways. Whether going via Lucea or Cambridge they experience the same indignity of long, bumpy, and dangerously uncomfortable rides.

Once beyond Ramble the upgraded highway from Ferris leading to Montego Bay is littered with potholes that are accurately described as treacherous, damaging to vehicle tires, front end parts and alignment. How could upstanding, caring, astute politicians wanting to win an election overlook this simple but glaring indignity?


Surely this daily reminder was viewed by road users and citizens as an insult and dismissive of their concerns.

Resumes irreversibly tarnished.

Some believe Prime Minister, the Honorable Andrew Holness is held captive by some in his party. The pronouncement of the member of parliament for a St. Catherine constituency seemed to uncover the true intent regarding some of the announced pre-election new funding arrangements for parliamentarians.

Had the JLP won as anticipated funds would flow. The magnitude of People’s National Party (PNP) success in unexpected areas requires their political representatives to be starved of government funds.

Otherwise, now well-funded, PNP representatives could successfully influence constituents by completing community projects prior to the next required election.

Well thought-out projects that can make a real difference require time. Gully cleaning and bushing projects which are established influencers of elections are still possible. Buying votes, which appears to have been prevalent during the recent election could also be an option. Unfortunately, there are no long-term benefits to society from these vote getting activities. Discreetly, the honourable minister Warmington quietly resigned.

Concurrently the PNP had to eject a neophyte-political representative as the intimate embrace of illegal scamming activity was embarrassing.  

Seasoned observers ponder the quality of political representatives when these abrasive and intolerable actions could even be allowed to exist or surface in established political parties. Less we forget, politicians are a sample of the society from which they are chosen.

The country must make a determined effort to extinguish these distorted thinking and behaviours from the culture of the nation.

People are hoping the future will be less scary than it looks.


The unfolding anarchy in Haiti should give pause to those in Jamaica who choose to misuse power.

The Duvalier reign from 1957 to 1971 is remembered for the unbelievable level of defrauding of the Haitian people. Unnoticed, slowly like frogs in a pot gradually warming to a boil, the society deteriorated until the most recent cataclysmic descent into anarchy.

Many quietly wonder if Jamaica will be next. When the local masters assumed power, the average Jamaican was assured of high-quality healthcare. The public bus service was reliable. Crime was of little concern. The education system was highly regarded.

Farm and parochial roads were regularly repaired and maintained at a satisfactory standard. All those realities had evaporated while politicians continued to gloat about the major progress being made in the country.

Some international agencies maintain a steadfast faith in Jamaica. The IMF recently extolled the progress made in management of the economy. Some media houses consistently speak to Jamaica’s beauty and potential.

THE UN supports the country’s investment in resilient arrangement to support tourism. So yes, the rare politician outperforms and appears to avoid suspicion despite intense public scrutiny of their actions and financial gains.  

Cloning and releasing into the political arena these honest, dedicated yet savvy politicians may save Jamaica from Haiti’s fate.

By Guest author: Leon Wright

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