The political circus has left town.

Only a faraway braying sound and a lingering scent of eau-de-turd reminds that, up to November 10, yet another mad distraction from reality so consumed the nation that all else was ignored by our (m)ass media. Gazillions of dollars was thrown about like confetti; goats were curried by the thousand; and the armband manufacturing industry flourished.  Yessiree, Bob, the circus had come to town.

From the outset, I told you this circus, a.k.a. a JLP leadership challenge, was nothing but a doomed dice rolling exercise by Audley “Are You” Shaw backed by a Big Money Man who craved more political influence.  A lot of naive drivel about unity; JLP victory; and victory for democracy was churned out by Shaw during this lunatic fringe lunge for raw power but, if these were at the forefront of his consciousness, why didn’t he simply advise Big Money Man to donate the funds to the Party for the next general election?

Instead, he conducted a bitter, soul destroying attack on Young Andrew’s leadership thereby providing precious fodder for PNP advertising consultants.  In a column headlined Shaw putting self Above Party (September 1) I asked “Are You” Shaw questions the answers to which could help readers analyze his motives.  For example:

What’s all this about resigning as deputy leader? Is that a petulant warning that you want all or you’ll pick up your marbles and go home?…..Is THAT acting in the party’s best interests or your own?

I tried to expose Shaw’s actions which told a different story to his words.  I wrote:

When Bruce was dumped, you were front-runner to succeed. Again, you suddenly withdrew in favour of Young Andrew. The JLP was then in shambles. Was your decision to stand down born of an opportunistic desire to avoid responsibility for the shambolic beating you foresaw? Or was it in the JLP’s best interests?

As usual, nobody paid the slightest attention to my warnings.  Yet the signposts weren’t hidden.  It was only four months pre-challenge that the Gleaner reported Shaw as emphatically denying any leadership challenge plan (see ‘No vacancy’- Shaw downplays talk that he’s to challenge Holness for JLP’s top job come November; Gleaner, May 5)

 “There’s no vacancy for leadership,” declared Shaw when asked if he plans to             challenge Holness at the party’s next annual conference.

“…….so there’s no need for me to contemplate that,”

By September, he made it appear the JLP was falling apart and there was an urgent need for a leadership change.

Make no mistake.  This, like the second Peter Phillips challenge in the PNP, may have been permissible on a strict reading of the rules but, in real terms, was unnecessary, unsportsmanlike, ill-advised and, accordingly, to my mind, shameful.  If Shaw (or Phillips) had succeeded, it would’ve meant the end of political party stability and every sitting Party Leader (including Shaw himself) would be forever hesitant to lead decisively for fear of cliques and challenges.  This is why mid-term challenges to sitting leaders are coup attempts and not democracy in action.  Party Leaders should be allowed a full election cycle and their performances assessed after each general election.  Unless there’s retirement or death, no mid-term leadership challenge is, in my opinion, advantageous.  There’s no upside and disingenuous attempts to categorize it as “energizing the party” or “victory for democracy” are absurd.

Nobody listened.  Nobody read the signs.  Most importantly, our (m)ass media spent the campaign toadying to “Are You” Shaw as if he’d already won.  One popular radio station declared Shaw the winner from the day of his launch based on the large gathering that had come out in the rain “to support Shaw”.  Thereafter, that station’s daily sycophantic fawning over Shaw was a gruesome embarrassment.  Oh dear.  What do they know of politics who only politics know?

Jamaicans are more mature than ever about these things.  Ordinary Jamaicans can spot a sham a mile away.  But, if the sham offers free food and drink, we’ll turn up in the pouring rain, fill our bellies and then do what we think is best inside the voting booth.

                   “See Boops deh, yes we gwaan go nyam him out.                                    See Boops deh, oonu gwaan go eat him out.                                                       See Boops dey, gwaan go tek a set.                                                                    See Boops deh, give him hickey pon him neck.

William Maragh, The Don Dada, Super Cat, taught Jamaica the concept of “nyam dem out” in 1986 and political supporters have slowly but surely caught on.  Not so local (m)ass media.  Even after the results were announced, said radio station whined and complained about how unfair the whole thing suddenly was.  Legendary constitutional lawyer Lloyd Barnett was summoned to tell Jamaica that the Opposition Leader had no express constitutional power to remove Senators.  Lloyd pointed out there’d been no change in Opposition Leader.  But there was a sea change in the Opposition Leader’s declared support within the Party.  Ought he to ignore the vitriol spewed against him in private and public by his appointees and simply press on with business as usual?  What would “Are You” Shaw have done in Young Andrew’s position?

This is neither a legal nor constitutional issue.  It’s a political issue and I hope Young Andrew doesn’t shirk from treating it as such.  Nothing in the Constitution says he can remove Senators.  Equally nothing says he can’t.

But, legally speaking, Lloyd the Legend seems to have forgotten that, in the case of Eugennie Ebanks v the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission (Civil Appeal No 97 of 2003; Judgment December 20, 2005), he submitted to the Court of Appeal as follows:

…it is an elementary rule of statutory interpretation that, in a statute, a provision empowering an entity to employ also carries with it a right to dismiss.

Is this ‘elementary’ rule restricted to statutory interpretation, Lloyd?  Is it different when interpreting the Constitution?  If so, why?  Not only is it an elementary rule of statutory interpretation, it’s an elementary rule of common sense.  If I serve because of the pleasure of the Opposition Leader then I also serve at his pleasure.  How could it be otherwise?

With regard to Opposition Senators, section 35(3) of The Constitution provides “The remaining eight Senators shall be appointed by the Governor General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition, by instrument under the Broad Seal.

Despite the formal inclusion of the GG, it’s pellucid that, since the GG must act “in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition” the person making the appointment is the Opposition Leader.

Another great Lloyd (Lovindeer) fine-tuned the modern relationship between political leader and voters in Government Boops

                “Girls (calling):   Boops, Boops, Boops?                                                               Boops:    Me no have no corn!

                  Cost of living rises every  day                                                                        So, if someone call you ‘Boops’, don’t feel no way.                                            ‘Cause, whether yu ragamuffin or yu decent,                                                   all a we a boops fe govament…

The electorate, whether intra-party or nationwide, is tired of playing Boops to its Party once it’s been voted into power.  We’re tired of the regular increases in taxes whilst deficits widen.  We’re tired of price increases and frozen salaries coming at us hand-in-hand.  We’re tired.  Sick and tired.  So, when we get the rare chance to treat one of THEM as a Boops, we’ll be there in our thousands to do just that

                   “Easy Papa Tax, me sey easy nuh man.                                          Di girls vex wid yu all over de lan’                                                                     ‘cause yu tax de boops til him can’t function. 

                 See Boops deh taxes a nyam him out.                                             See Boops deh, govament a eat him out.                                                             See Boops deh, light bill a bu’n him out.                                                             See Boops deh water rate a wash him out.                                   

                 Sey t’ings and times really getting hard.                                                            Everyone a try fe go live abroad.                                          One time Boops used to carry de swing                                                       but now poor Boops can’t let off nuttin.

So we welcome any opportunity to turn the tables.  If a nonsensical political circus is coming to town, we’ll “support”.  We’ll “nyam out” the one spending the money and then vote for who we want to vote for. 

The media let Jamaica down with its kowtowing coverage of the campaign.  Anybody still wondering why? Remember Goodman’s Law?  Don’t ask if it’s about the money.  It’s ALWAYS about the money. 

With over 20 radio stations, 2 free to air TV Stations and numerous cable stations, Jamaica’s advertising dollars can’t share.  With Audley “Are You” Shaw’s campaign apparently awash with cash, he was the only one pursuing a national media campaign with media adverts.  True to form, stations, like moths to a flame, tailored their coverage in favour of the cash. Shaw had permanent access without challenge.  Young Andrew’s (or supporters’) infrequently broadcast quotes were almost always met with editorial derision.

But the circus is over.  Jamaica needs the JLP to focus on its job as Opposition.  There’ve been calls for unity.  Not from me.  Political “unity” is over-rated.  As Young Andrew discovered, unity is but another of this world’s illusions.  The reality is Young Andrew, momentarily in complete control, must use this opportunity to build an effective Opposition. If it’s also united, that’s a bonus.

Forgiveness is a charming Christian concept best left to the Church.  Those who, given a choice, simply disagreed with the leader can be given a second chance but not active back-stabbers.  In my opinion, Young Andrew will NEVER experience unity from any backstabber.  Ask the O-Jays:

                   “(What they do?)
                 (They smile in your face)
                 All the time they want to take your place
                 The back-stabbers (back-stabbers).

This is no time for reconciliation.  It’s time to purge the Party of deadwood especially those selfish, conniving plotters who exposed their thinly-veiled contempt for Young Andrew.  Nobody, including Young Andrew, is indispensible.  There’s no single source of funding.  If I’m wrong, then the Party dies whenever that individual should pass away so Young Andrew must keep him/her in vitamins for life.

No, Young Andrew, too much forgiveness will only ensure it happens again.  Identify the backstabbers and dump them now.  Seek replacements from Generation Next at your leisure.  You’ll be surprised how much better your organisation will be. 

Peace and Love


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: