Elections are in the air. They will be called earlier than mandated, make no mistake about it. One gets a strong whiff of the stench of campaigning from both parties as they fight two very different battles. On the one hand we have the young PM who is starting to look more the typical Jamaican politician as the days go by (in contrast to what he promised ‘new transformational politics’), a man who leads an administration with a razor-thin majority versus a man who knows that his time at the head of his party is most limited and he may only have one chance to bite the cherry.
The campaigning (which is still unofficial) has been both brutal to watch and most interesting at the same time as both parties paint the other as the most corrupt, incompetent and unfit to rule. It is obvious why they are campaigning. There is much prestige and power at stake and those involved, as such, rightly take it seriously.
The question which I can’t help but ask is, how is this campaigning benefiting us? For while it is fun and necessary to learn about the various scandals, what we are basically hearing from both sides boils down to “not changing the flawed course” and “I have no map but I don’t like your course”.
What have either of these parties done for us as a people or the nation as a whole, and why on earth should we buy into the ensuing campaign rhetoric this time around when people don’t own up to embarrassing track-records or refuse to implement one iota of promised change? This campaign, which has yet to be officially announced, shows the two parties for what they are and have been for some time — devoid of any principle and only out for themselves.
That they can throw (rightful) accusations of corruption and incompetence at one another while totally failing to either address their failings or the failings of the nation shows how little they think of us.
While the governing party must be applauded for following through on plans implemented by previous administrations, it has been found lacking in many other critical departments. Policies regarding education and health, for example, show that whatever the plan is it just isn’t working (something a clear majority agree on) and yet neither the Prime Minister nor his Government wishes to admit failure on this front.
Crime also shows us how this administration refuses to admit again, that whatever course they have charted for crime management is not working and needs looking at. To simply state that we have no money to fix hospitals, that students shouldn’t be turned back (while user-fees and their type remain sanctioned) and that you have a plan for crime (while people get mowed down daily) hardly gives the voter a reason to give you the nod.
The Opposition, however, have been found wanting in all areas and are simply embarrassing themselves with their current posturing. For while they do a service in calling out government incompetence, they then render that service useless by having no alternative (not even a pie in the sky dream) and stating that they would continue the plan with slight modifications. They do us a massive disservice also when they refuse to oust party members who are clearly past their sell-by date and promote others who should never be placed near positions of power while stymying the chances of individuals who offer plans (however farfetched they may be).
What we are seeing now is nothing more than electioneering by two parties who know that they have done nothing to deserve our votes. In this time and until the election is over we will be witness to our politicians debasing themselves and promising the moon and the stars except for the one thing every Jamaican wants — good uncorrupted governance void of petty politics.
Do not fall for it, do not believe what they tell you. Instead, look at their actions. This is not a call to sit at home and not vote. If the decent candidate in your constituency is JLP or PNP vote for that person. If they are a third-party candidate or an independent, then all the better. A change won’t come through sitting at home or re-electing the same tried and useless candidate. It will only come through action, an important aspect of which is voting for MPs and councillors.
Sweet words about 60,000 jobs or highlighting the shortcomings of the other simply should not and hopefully will not be tolerated. Tell me how the jobs will be created, how well they pay and when to look out for them. Tell me how, if you are elected into office, you would handle issues of corruption, mismanagement and what your alternative governance plan is. The time for political theatre is long gone and we are in the realm of action now. Those who don’t act should not be given power or left in power.
So, when they come (and they will eventually) to speak ill of each other and state how they have the plan, demand to know what it is and how they are different, and if the answer is not satisfactory, then vote for the one who gives a satisfactory answer, or push them until you get concrete answers you like. If not, it will be the same old show with the same sad ending.