Jamaica’s Democracy, Faults & All, A Model To The World…

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 mike​beck​les​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al web­sites.
You may sub­scribe to his blogs free of charge, or sub­scribe to his Youtube chan­nel @chatt-a-box, for the lat­est pod­cast all free to you of course.

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