For those of us living “on island” each week of 2008 seems to bring more bad news. Last week’s temporarily heart stopping news that the Commissioner of Police had resigned was followed by the “good” news that he’d withdrawn his resignation………leading some of us to remember the high hopes we once had of former Minister of National Security Peter Phillips – he who had fixed the local bus system and introduced some management to our health care system. Since Mr. Super Competent Phillips was unable to make a permanent dent in our ever rising murder rate, weren’t we fools to think that a new government and a new Minister of National Security – two so far for this JLP administration – would do the trick ?
Seems that we were fools. Far from denting the murder rate, the new administration has followed the path of every administration since the 1960’s and presided over a yet higher murder rate. Once again we have to recall that Prime Minister Bruce Golding represents a JLP garrison constituency – drugs, guns and dons rule his land, just as Portia Simpson Miller represents a drug, don and gun ruled PNP garrison. P.J. Patterson represented a rural western constituency and did he make a difference ? Not one whit………
In addition, to the Government’s fumbling management of the national security portfolio, Butch Stewart (he of the Sandals Hotels and owner of the Daily Observer) let the curtain fall for a moment and showed us how perfectly he controls Prime Minister Golding and the Cabinet: the Daily Observer said the Commissioner of Police should go and he went, albeit for less than 24 hours.
Butch is practiced at overreaching, and failing to understand the limits of his power. He it was who declared that he had seen heavy rains that wreaked more damage than last August’s Hurricane Dean, and he it was who had to withdraw that immediately and make a big contribution to hurricane relief. Back when he was a PNP supporter these gaffes and retractions happened so regularly that most of us ceased to notice.
The difference now is that Butch’s star is still ascending the JLP sky – this administration is 4 seats and a few court cases from oblivion and supporters with money cannot be dissed until after the next general election (scheduled for SOON).
The PNP is in disarray and fighting among themselves. Who could want them back in power ? And yet, I’m about to revise my New Year prediction that Jamaicans will never recover their enthusiasm for Leader of the Opposition Portia Simpson Miller.
Bruce seems determined to make Sister P look good.….and he’s also determined to do a disservice to Leader of Opposition Wannabe Peter Phillips….Because, after all, Bruce and Peter are supposed to have the same skill set (articulate, thoughtful managers who can deliver results)……This last week has reminded us that Peter Phillips spent many years (5 or 6) as Minister of National Security with very little (the Scotland Yardies and the locking up of PNP don, Zekes, apart) to show for it. And that while Portia was as absent from the controls as Bruce appears to be, at least she made warm, comforting inclusive speeches, while Bruce’s recent speeches seem designed to encourage hate and division (because we don’t have enough already…)
Forget food and fertilizer prices over which the government has no control……where is the leadership, where is the firm hand on the rudder, where are the good government promises ? This many weeks long sense of doom and chaos is what we elected the JLP for ?
P.S. Much thanks and blessings to Usain Bolt and Senator Barack Obama (Democratic Presidential nominee) for shining some light over our way……….