Rising Together: Jamaica’s Triumph Over Political Discord

The way to a slow, irreversible demise of Jamaican die hard political tribalism.

Based on recent news reports the seasoned, experienced, professional civil servant, soon to retire, Valerie Curtis, clerk to the Jamaican parliament was unexpectedly thrust into the headlines.

Farcically disciplined, some claim, by those without the requisite authority, and unable to do so. These news reports continue to emphasise the perception that her extraordinarily exemplary career is likely unfairly and irreversibly tarnished.

This the pundits assert, speaks to the misguidedly held view by some in political leadership that they are the law.


Since the people authorised them to pass laws this appears to be the only reasonable conclusion. When self interest and political objectives mandate the experts continue, laws correcting perceived inadequacies are enacted with lightning speed.

The changes to the political ombudsman act, dissenters cry, supports this interpretation. The opposite has been the case when dealing with constraints negatively impacting the effective functioning of the integrity commission (IC).

Now in fact many government politicians are on record excoriating the officers employed to that body because the employees/leaders of the IC seek to advance the interest of the society over narrow partisan political self interest.

Select politicians seem deathly afraid to have their above board, honest income, and income generating streams ventilated for consumption, and interrogation by the concerned voting population. For those with longer memories the Jamaican political landscape is littered with the expediency of self aggrandisement.

At least one prominent politician reportedly forgot being the recipient of a self executed, large multi-million pound loan from the Jamaican government. Other politicians were, it is believed, favoured by their own political party while in power during the establishment of the Financial Adjustment Company (FINASC) during the meltdown of the Jamaican economy in the 1980s-1990s.

And at least one party leader reportedly seized and assigned government land to their own real estate portfolio. In this context the fact the IC is gaining traction in the current Jamaican political climate is a truly remarkable accomplishment indeed.

For Jamaica to flourish and avoid the misdeeds of the remote and recent past apolitical Jamaicans agree, the role and functions of IC must be vigorously supported, and bolstered in a bipartisan way.



Born to die a party diehard.

Some literate Jamaican voters, obstinately loyal to party, fervently ascribe to the philosophy that the role of a governing party is to only, and solely, advance the interest of those who voted them into power.

The other Jamaicans who freely and loyally fulfilled their legal right and freedom of choice but voted for the losing party be damned, they declare!

Living in those communities which voted for the opposing party should be hellish. Awash with violence. Deliberately deprived of and hence desperate for basic services like water, light, good schools, useable roads, and reliable transport systems, that any good government is obligated to provide for all its citizens.

The fallacy of this myopic reasoning is exposed since the country is evaluated as a whole by international agencies and those with sane thinking. Tourism interests abroad see the entire country as devoid of good healthcare, ravaged with crime, and unsafe to visit.

These external agencies and groups do not recommend travel to PNP or JLP supported areas of Jamaica based on which party is in power. Unfortunately some in political leadership also ascribe to, and do all they can to foster this unsustainable garrison mentality.

Informed and morally enlightened politicians avidly and devotedly develop and implement policies to benefit all Jamaicans. This is the surest way to grow the political base of the party and continue to be perceived as a viable vote deserving alternative.

Jamaicans beginning to favour politicians with integrity.

For a long time Jamaicans appeared oblivious to the integrity of their politicians and those in positions of leadership in the civil service. The honourable Prime Minister, Andrew Holness may have ushered in a new reality.


During his incipient years as neophyte party leader he proffered this honesty expectation to the Jamaican people and they appear to have bought into his dream. Can the poor showing of the JLP during the last local government elections be thus interpreted?

The new traffic laws in the country were intended to bring order to the Jamaican roadways. There was, most agree, a temporary improvement manifested by decrease in accidents and disorder on the roadways and at government established bus parks.

Now, many fear we are back to the situation which existed prior to the enactment of the new road traffic laws. During conversations with some drivers they explain bigger unauthorised bribes when caught breaking the road traffic codes may explain the return to the prior chaotic situation.

This conclusion of the return to anarchy on the roads can be quickly confirmed by the police directorate as a drop in tickets issued should be easy to detect. Documented complaints by motorists of being shaken down may have also risen.

The need for a fully supported, effectively functioning IC is even more acute now. Politicians cannot reasonably declare this IC a failure, incapable of cauterising crime when they implement insurmountable roadblocks determined to neuter its effectiveness.

Positive signs favouring progress.

These cascading calls for the name of Valerie Curtis to be immediately exonerated appear refreshing. Baby steps to address increased skills training at Human Employment and Resource Training Trust/National Training Agency (HEART) by increasing funding to interested, invested participants, is a welcomed beginning.

The implementation of the reverse income tax credit is appealing and should expand benefits to those who have committed and continue to contribute to Jamaica’s development. Though stealthy, and thus probably not fully thought out, the minimum wage increase for some may be the positive life changing fillip they needed.

So despite the years of disappointing, gut wrenching under performance, Jamaica seems to be slowly, tortuously, but inevitably charting a new course to a brighter, more refreshing tomorrow.

By Guest Author: Leon Wright


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