We have just endured weeks of polls and commentary on polls. Not so much politics as usual but politics to the point of nausea…….
However, to summarise (although you can hardly have missed them) the polls done by the Stone Poll team for the Jamaica Observer and by Bill Johnson for the Jamaica Gleaner more or less agree on the following:-
- Support for Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has declined
- Support for Leader of the Oppostion Bruce Golding has increased
- The majority of those polled are unhappy about the PNP accepting money from Trafigura.
Every possible interpretation has been put on these findings and every possible conclusion has been drawn. We now know that the polls prove that (1) the JLP will win the next election and (2) that the PNP will win the next election.
Thanks to all those pundits, commentators and opinion makers who have boldly committed themselves one way or another. It is you gentleman and ladies who provide solace for many of us on the day after the General Election when we are looking for someone to blame for our disappointment…..
So from the polls to the JLP Conference which ends today, November 19, 2006. The JLP Conference was on the backburner for much of the week as we all enjoyed the the slanging matches and puss and dog fights on show in the PNP.
Paul Buchanan (running for Karl Blythe’s old seat in Westmoreland) refused to respectfully move aside for Minister of Agriculture Roger Clarke ( a much bigger man in every way). It must be something in the water in Central Westmoreland as the retiring M.P. Dr. Karl Blythe claimed he was in direct touch with the Lord and Mr. Buchanan, after being the caretaker for less than two months, is behaving as if the Father had left him the constituency……
Mr Buchanan’s behaviour would be less foolhardy had not Len Blake (a sitting PNP MP, no less) already been forced to give up his seat to turncoat (PNP, JLP, PNP) Norman Horne. Not to mention the cautious and modest attitude of the PNP caretakers pushed aside to accommodate Messrs. D.K. Duncan and Trevor Munroe……Then, just as Mr. Buchanan seemed to have the media’s full attention (he declared that the party could NOT discipline him – and we were waiting for the party to show that it COULD....) Minister of Tourism Aloun Assamba indicated that she was bowing to ‘people power’ and would not be running again for her St.Ann seat. Big story.
Friday night Nationwide’s Cliff Hughes reported that the PNP leadership (including former PM PJ Patterson) was locked in a meeting to discuss the party’s problems and to “iron out” differences. And where were they locked in a meeting ? At the Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall, just outside Montego Bay, of course. If you’re talking long and bitterly, may as well be very, very comfortable…..
The Ritz Carlton Rose Hall, Jamaica
The suicide, on Friday, of Norman DaCosta, National Workers Union deputy island supervisor, served as a sobering reminder that the PNP power struggles have not been confined to the political representatives. Mr. DaCosta was campaign manager for Danny Robert’s losing team in the race for the NWU presidency and Mr. DaCosta was not re-elected to his Vice Presidential post (new President by a huge margin:Vincent Morrison).
On Saturday, the focus returned to the JLP. It was noted that the conference was well organised and well attended. Today’s headlines announced that the Dutch government is going to investigate Netherlands-based Trafigura’s donation to the PNP, and we all waited for the Leader’s speech this afternoon.
I didn’t watch Sister P at the PNP conference, so I’m not comparing his performance with hers. All I can say after watching Bruce is that, however sincere his heart, he has no fire in his belly.
Bruce Golding, Leader of the Opposition
His presentation was thoughtful and measured. He spoke of the need for constitutional change to fix some of the system’s worst excesses (separation of powers, strengthening Parliament etc) and he spoke of ensuring that the National Housing Trust is restructured to guarantee a housing entitlement to all who contribute. He promised to root out corruption and retool the Justice system. He reminded us that he will be 60 years old in 2 weeks time and that he is looking about for a successor. He mentioned that he lacked charisma and that he is who he is….
While grateful not to be subjected to the 3 or 4 hour ranting that is usual at party conferences, there was still something missing. Perhaps, it is just his lack of charisma but I could not help thinking that here is a man who has no particular desire to be Prime Minister. He gave me the impression that it is Bruce Golding, not Eddie Seaga, who has retired to wander the UWI campus and that it is Bruce Golding, not Eddie Seaga, who has withdrawn from the political rough and tumble and is devoting his considerable intellect to the problems of the day…..
Can such a man prevail against Sister P in full flight ?
Today’s pre-conference columns about Leader Golding (to be filed under ” With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies ?”) concentrated on how his shortcomings as a leader (zippo charisma, dull, tool of the white elite etc) match up with Jamaicans’ shortcomings as an electorate (lots of ignorant women, according to Kevin o’Brien Chang)…. We are in for another week of “All pundits, all the time”….
At this point, I’m still with the uncommitted and the unconvinced. God willing, I will vote. Just hope I don’t have to be holding my nose while doing it.
Puzzle of the week
Despite our best efforts (murder, pollution, bad mind), visitors keep flocking to Jamaica. I’ve given up thinking this has anything to do with superior marketing, exchange rates, tsunamis etc (all variously posited by those-in-the-know). I suspect it has to do with the same mentality that sends millions to France (the top destination on the planet) every year, despite the much canvassed rudeness and hostility of the French to the non-French….. Visitors come to Jamaica in spite of us Jamaicans….