The elections are over and people should be settling back into their routines, whatever those routines are.
There are a few issues that I would like to briefly touch on, but I want to do so within the context of where our country stands as a budding democracy today, as against where the trendlines seem to be heading. It is important that we speak to these issues that continue to stand out, despite our failures, we have much to be proud of.
Our country gained its independence in 1962, a mere 58-years ago. Some, including myself, argue that we are not a fully democratic and free nation, since we still pledge our loyalties to a foreign monarch.
The fact that we still pledge allegiance to a foreign power, is not a function of anything that power has done, but a function of our own refusal to shed the residual vestiges of slavery and colonialist domination.
The narrative the PNP has been pushing that the JLP won the election through vote-buying must be seen through the prism that the PNP still has not figured out that voters have rejected the Party on almost every instance that it contested a seat since 2016. Voters in 2020 sent the party an even stronger message, that whatever it is selling they are not buying.
If the PNP continues to make excuses for its losses, it must prepare to continue to lose, it is as simple as that.
On the other hand, charges of vote-buying are serious, if and when they occur, it should be stamped out.
The thing that makes the People’s National Party look pathetic and whiny, is that both political parties have engaged in vote-buying throughout our brief independent history.
The PNP may have been outdone this cycle because it may have had less money to dole out, but to profess shock and indignation at the practice, is the highest level of sanctimonious hypocrisy on the part of the PNP, and worse, it smacks of being a sore loser.
As repugnant as the practice of vote-buying is, we should examine it within the framework of where we are coming from, dead bodies, ballot boxes stuffed with fraudulent ballots, and election violence that forces voters away from the process.
Yes, I detest it as much as you do, but relatively speaking we are making progress.
Our fledgling Democracy has much to be proud of. After the second world war, America instituted what is known as the Marshall plan.
The Marshall Plan, also known as the European Recovery Program, was a U.S. program providing aid to Western Europe following the devastation of World War II. It was enacted in 1948 and provided more than $15 billion to help finance rebuilding efforts on the continent. The brainchild of U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, for whom it was named, it was crafted as a four-year plan to reconstruct cities, industries, and infrastructure heavily damaged during the war and to remove trade barriers between European neighbors — as well as foster commerce between those countries and the United States.
In addition to economic redevelopment, one of the stated goals of the Marshall Plan was to halt the spread of communism on the European continent. (History.com)
The United Nations, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization are only two of the powerhouse organizations that were stood up after the second world war ended.
As a consequence of these two institutions, the world has not been plunged into another world conflagration. The first world war began in 1914 and ended in 1918, by 1939, a mere 21-years later, the world was once again plunged in another worldwide conflict.
The second world war ended in 1945, it has been 75-years since then, because of the two aforenamed institutions, the world has not found itself in another worldwide conflict.
Nevertheless, both institutions have come under repeated attacks by Donald Trump, all with an intent to weaken both institutions. His reasons for doing so are anybody’s guess, as they are for the American Intelligence services to figure out for the American people.
The rest of the world looked to the United States as the nation that was a beacon of stability. As a consequence, the world trades in the American currency, individuals and nations bank in America, by banking in America, they are banking on America remaining a free and open society, in which they can continue to invest and be rewarded, not just with returns on their investments, but with the knowledge that their money will not be confiscated by some tin-pan dictator.
Whether that will remain true if Donald Trump manages to remain in the white house after the upcoming presidential elections, is anyone’s guess.
As America’s leadership in the world wanes, the world looks on in horror, Jamaica’s free and fair elections,(though flawed and imperfect) are a source of pride, for which all Jamaicans should be proud wherever they are.
There was no transfer of power as the ruling party retained power in Jamaica, nevertheless, the fact that the losing People’s National Party conceded immediately, is to the credit of Opposition leader Dr. Peter Phillips.
Two defining issues plagued the ruling JLP during its first term for which there can be no excuses going forward.
CRIME: It cannot be that the new administration intends to use that same playbook of Zones Of Special Operations,(ZOSO’s) & States Of Emergencies, (SOE’s) as a crime reduction strategy. It has been clearly established to the Prime Minister, his administration, and the country, at least by this writer, that at the very best they are merely stop-gap measures, a type of crime prevention tourniquet, that is designed to get you to real crime prevention and reduction measures.
Taking away the rights and freedom of entire communities to move about without governmental restrictions, supposedly to keep them safe, is old, tired, worn out, and most of all, unconstitutional.
It does not work, it disperses crime-producers to once more peaceful neighborhoods.
CORRUPTION: I previously accused Prime Minister Andrew Holness of having reneged on his promise to end corruption. I stated that in his 2016 inaugural, he pledged to ensure that there was no corruption in his government. At the time, the JLP formed the government with a single-seat majority.
Between that time and the last general elections, the ruling JLP won two other seats, giving the ruling party a more comfortable majority with which to govern.
I take this opportunity to apologize to the Prime Minister, he did not address corruption in that inaugural address. Having gone back and combed through his address, I realized that nary a word was uttered about corruption…
Having heard the Prime Minister’s address after his party was returned to power with one of the strongest majority in our nation’s history, I now understand why he did not speak to corruption in 2016.
Theft, graft, and corruption are a part of the Jamaican political landscape as white-rice & curried-goat is to nine-night. it is a part of both political parties. It is arguably a part of the reason there is such high voter apathy in our country.
Pushing too hard against one member suspected of engaging in corrupt practices, could have resulted in that member crossing the aisle to the PNP, effectively flipping control of the government in the early stages of 2016.
After all, I cannot recall how many times Carl Samuda one JLP member has crossed the aisle from JLP to PNP and back to the JLP?
None of those issues remain today. The Prime Minister and his party will be called upon to face the electorate again, “time flies,” my wonderful grandfather used to say. Next time there will be no excuses for allowing the scarce resources of the Jamaican people to line the filthy pockets of corrupt politicians, without ensuring that they are populating a prison cell for their efforts.
Neither will the country be tolerant of the increasing annual murder rate, facilitated by stop-gap measures, and a lack of testicular fortitude to get the job done.
Mike Beckles is a former police Detective corporal, businessman, freelance writer, he is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog mikebeckles.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
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