So the PNP may well be a one term administration after all if the disgruntled party supporters who are still threatening not to vote at all coupled with the other factors.
I waited a while to make an entry in this series and boy so much has happened but now that the Prime Minister has effectively false started in announcing the date the opposition is going to pounce and my present concern is we are in for a lengthy campaign war which reminds me of the gas price demonstrations in January 1979 I was young but I remember them well while then opposition JLP with Edward Seaga on a roll and they kept up the pressure to the point that in February in 1980 Michael Manley had to announce an election as he felt he had to keep Jamaica afloat. This was right in the middle of the ideological struggle with election violence; the economy went into freefall and such. Then there are the IMF pre-requisites and the fact that the government whichever one has to cut the public sector in the reform process by April 2016 or thereabout and we remember what happened to the JLP when they did cut jobs prior to the 1989 polls and lost despite other developments in the positive. An inefficient public service is simply an albatross on development and we better recognise that if we intend to grow the economy in any serious percentages.
Fixed election dates anyone? The second week in August would be nice to me as Independence Day will not affect the season that much coupled with the tourism off season and schools would be out on holidays hence schools can be used as they are now as polling stations or for political meetings. We need to remove the stop and start foolishness every four to five years when we are held to ransom by a Prime Minister and where persons, businesses and such cannot plan. Too much uncertainty, Simpson Miller needs to learn what happened to one of her young MPs and the ‘tricks you’ trope Damian Crawford conducted now he is out and will not run as candidate for St Thomas. I wonder if the now available billions ($4.1) via the IMF’s decrease of the primary surplus target from 7.5% to 7.25% for the second half of fiscal year 2015/6 and down to 7% for 2016/7 was the reason why the election is also delayed. Apart from the polls showing the JLP over-taking the PNP as a whopping 11% of PNP supporters say they wouldn’t vote for both parties at all; the machinery made need time to try to recoup lost support.
see: Aubyn HilI: IMF Finally Concedes It Was Wrong (Gleaner)
We were told get ready by Miller and Peter Phillips saying even a blind man could see, then Miller’s comment last week comparing a horse race while listing all the pieces required. There is a cost that the electoral office of Jamaica has incurred simply due to the election date delayed; it costs to train persons and to retrain them for the future day according to the Director of Elections Orette Fischer adding to that are the businesses whose plans are impacted again.
The PNP cannot call an election now either as the dead babies issues, internal elections battles, raw wounds in terms of who has done them wrong internally, the austere economic reform program despite the freeing up of four billion and near eight billion next year so time is needed and the talk of elections by February may not be so sensible; it is too short a time to recover from the variables outlined.
Then I had to contend with a call from the electoral office about my application for my identification voter and national ID card that my photos and that of many others were corrupted. I was asked to return to the office to retake them of which I refused and demanded they send a team to my home as they did for the verification process to retake the shots; they did accede to my demand but this just goes to show the almost failing governmental systems and such. I am still up in the air as to who to vote for these days as the exploitation of buggery is the main thing that bothers me then are the jobs that were promised by the PNP in 2011 and a clearly campaign trail promise of 100,000 jobs by finance minister Peter Phillips when we now very clear that is not countable given the JEEP jobs are temporary and is a feeding tree for the same party. Long lotto lines are not jobs either. While passing the 10th IMF test what is to come is also worrying; yes we have heard announcements of investments on the hotel strip as a spin off from the opening up of Cuba or the so called freezone in St Catherine in terms of car parts processing (we have heard that before and none materialized) so the timing of these announcements leave me wondering based on previous promises that die the moment the announcement or election fever ends. Peter Phillips lied to us saying he or his administration created 63,000+ but when he was fact checked it turns out to be just under 40,000. I do not believe that when so many complaints come from qualified University graduates who have to either take jobs well below their degrees and or stay home and the small business avenues opportunities are rare and few in between; the wider masses are simply not in the loop.
The economy cannot absorb paying redundancy payments from laid off public sector workers whilst in the same breath the private sector has not developed enough such as in the old days one could jump from a public sector job and morph into a private sector job and still be able to make oneself up for promotional advancement. But we have had so many issues of this in previous times where accusations of political victimization where an opposition party cries foul where their supporters allegedly are laid off in such exercises.
Why are we not producing sugar in such a number to really earn form it despite health warnings demand has not waned yet we hear sugar factories closing and persons being laid off. What has happened to Cocoa especially when world market is demanding so much including the big names in chocolate products and hot beverages yet our plants are just barely surviving from disease or low production. We have so much potential and yet we are sluggish in development. We were paying 56 cents in every dollar for debt in 2011 when the JLP lost in that race now we are back to almost 75 cents again for debt servicing not to mention the renegotiation of the Petro-Caribe debt buy back which in 25 years may end up costing us more despite the present reprieve.
Then comes the Foreign Affairs, previously Justice Minister and senate leader A. J. Nicholson riding the CCJ buggery referendum train as exacted on Friday
“This referendum business, you know, it is full time that we get out of it. You know why? I hear coming from some quarters in your (JLP) party that you want an insane proposal, that you want to have a referendum in Jamaica on the issue of buggery! You crazy?” Nicholson asked the Opposition during the debate on the Caribbean Court of Justice Bills.
“You want people running up and down Jamaica on a political platform dealing with homosexuality, you crazy? Look here, let us wake up, man,” Nicholson stated. So the will of the people is a no no for Nicholson but his inconsistency on this matter is also worth recalling.
JLP MP Pearnel Charles (North Central Clarendon) was reported in the press recently as telling supporters that the promise by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller on the eve of the 2011 General Election to repeal the buggery law was purely vote catching.
Speaking at a mass rally in Alexandria, St Ann last Sunday night, and Charles said that the JLP would not countenance same-sex marriages.
"This will never happen here, not as long as I am alive," he declared to loud cheers from the crowd. Charles added that he would enlist the church to help him in "the fight".
Essentially the suggested conscience vote on buggery by the PNP and or the push for a rushed ill-prepared society towards a referendum by the JLP is what the LGBT lobbyists and people like me have to contend with. One waits with baited breath how the leadership debates that are scheduled in three tranches will look and sound like and will the question of buggery law reform or referendum as the case may be will come up? With disappearing foreign funding as well in as far as election support such as the last election in 2011 the subject matter at hand may not factor at all. And where oh where is my member of parliament who I have not seen in ages? When the roads where repaired earlier this year albeit with activists and supporters doing the job shabbily the word on the street was too many PNPs live on the avenue (barring the long held feeling the affluence on the strip and the well done houses breeding jealousy of some kind) so we did not deserve any repairs as voters did not do the right thing or voted for the right colour.
Why oh why Mr Holness’s house is coming up for mention as a campaign barb, sigh, I have no idea. That one is way over the top to me and if there is evidence as is implied that Mr Holness got his house or funds via ill-gotten gains then take it to the relevant authorities not on a campaign trail meeting.