Observer column for MON 25 April 2016 by Jean Lowrie-Chin
So here we were coming off the high of a fabulous Jamaica EXPO, and the unveiling at King’s House of seven new National Bakery Bold Ones of Manufacturing, when we see this foolish news item on Friday night’s TVJ news. It appears that MP Juliet Holness had arrived for a meeting at a community building in the East Rural St. Andrew constituency she represents when she was confronted with heavily chained and padlocked grille doors at the entrance. An activist declared to the reporter that this was a PNP area, implying that Mrs Holness had no business being there. Excuse me? Could we have heard correctly?
This dialogue on Twitter followed right after:
Former PNP MP Damion Crawford (@damioncrawford): “Dear East Rural if u block ppl from going to everything I built then they would go nowhere #FreeUpEducationCentre”. This was accompanied by ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos.
Leslie Crawford (@f2139b82669f41b: “Whatever u built Damion was not with ur money u should tell them that”.
Damion: “nvr use to see nothing done so maybe thats they think is my money (sic) + i raise private money too. Building there since 1983”.
Maybe so Damion, but unfortunately, some politicians brainwash followers that what they do with taxpayers’ money while they are in power, belongs to them, and not the people of Jamaica, hence the position of the man from East Rural St Andrew who quite sincerely believed that MP Juliet Holness had no business calling a meeting in ‘PNP area’.
This fanaticism exists in both parties, as witnessed at the opening of Parliament when a JLP supporter offered to sell everything she had, including “my children and myself”, to help PM Andrew Holness make good on his promise of the $1.5 million tax-free PAYE threshold.
Now, PNP and JLP representatives, clearly you all know better, and you all can look back on the 54 years since Independence and know that you have sown disunity and distrust among the Jamaican people whom you swore to serve, “So help me God”. God must be weeping – weeping at the energy being devoted to this continued strife. PNP and JLP alike should know that those among them who contribute to disunity and the preservation of garrisons are being keenly watched.
Our young people are watching. Students of tertiary institutions are volunteering their own time and resources to build their communities and are puzzled at where the billions announced in budgets go. Business leaders are watching, because no economy can be protected without an environment of meaningful collaboration. Some of those investors we see in the business news came from very humble beginnings and they are not going to allow careless politicians to fritter away their children's birthright.
So JLP and PNP, you have some very intelligent, well-meaning folks in your midst. Clearly you know better. Now, we expect you to do better, so that the misguided mindset of that man from East Rural St. Andrew and that woman at the opening of Parliament, can be redirected towards the harmonious and dignified engagement of all parties in our national development.