So I rushed to my PC when word came early yesterday that the eagerly anticipated People’s National Party, PNP manifesto for the upcoming February 25 election date was ready for viewing. I am been ambivalent on whether to vote or not or who to vote for or what issues that jostle for top priority in my mind; only to be perusing the rather shorter than usual document in only 72 pages a far cry from manifestos in times past from both major parties. The 2011 document came in two parts a longer version though limited available and then a subsequent 70 page condensed version.
And what the hell does the sentence in the PNP Manifesto saying 'Jamaica is at the intersection of hope and history’ mean?
Anyway I have to agree with the JLP affiliated Sharon Hay Webster with her views on identity politics she hinted to this morning on her Freshstart morning show on Newstalk 93FM when persons with those interests do not vote or make such matters a critical election item for to force political parties to have to address them, the so called pink vote has not really factored in many elections which was what led to the obnoxious comments and scoffing by first time MP Damian Crawford just two months into the PNP administration taking office in 2012. He dismissed the notion of any MP coming out or any conscience vote promised or otherwise happening; which was a sign of things to come in terms of deferring on the issue. Repeated sidelining persisted the years following to present led by information Minister (the worse one yet) Sandrea Falconer.
The PNP seems to think that persons are supposed to automatically know what the party intends to do, even after the December run of press conferences on the Ministries’ work and the Jamaica Information Service’s JIS bordering propaganda style but then again I am not surprised that entity has always been used even in the old days when it would have been renamed to API, Agency for Public Information depending on who is in power at the time. Words such as ‘continuation’ ‘improve’ ‘extend’ and so on to suggest an extension of work over time. But seriously the sticky matters of the buggery law even while some very minor if not incremental changes mostly forced by pressure externally and locally on the ground is one thing but as for policy that’s another matter. Just take a look at the now cooled guidance counsellors’ matter and allegations of non engagement (yet to be properly proven) and discomfort by allegedly counsellors with LGBT students and continued inappropriate use of the referrals systems in the Ministry of Education.
No details on issues were present, a point made in an interview with deputy General Secretary of the PNP Julian Robinson on Radio Jamaica’s RJR Beyond the Headlines yesterday, host and Media Association President Dionne Jackson Miller mentioned the lack of depth in the document. Mr Robinson responded in the usual well rehearsed manner that it was not for the lack of thought or the gravity of the hardships faced by Jamaicans as it was more about a continuation of the policies and programs ongoing. I texted in to the show to ask so what about the new developments and or programs that have failed or not gotten off the ground? But my text like many others I imagine may have been lost in the sea of reactions and queries.
The social issues were tucked away on the far end of the document that I had to rip from the internet as a downloadable version was not made available up until the time of the preparation of this post which bothered me as well. One would think that the urgency of this as time winds down to the faithful day such a document should be more public. Bearing in mind the debate flip flopping, barbs from both parties about the opposition leader’s house, dismissal as irrelevant political debates and as frivolous and a deliberate avoidance of LGBT matters of buggery this time makes one wonder if the avoidance of the debate with obfuscations is a move to are now be seen as making promises or suggestions on same for marginalized groups. We cannot forget the CCJ baiting on the altar supposed legalization of buggery if a constitutional challenge goes to the Privy Council as done by the Justice Minister late last year.
Justice Minister exploits homophobia to gain CCJ support
Despite the contents page displaying a list hinting to youth on page 34 it is on 43 and 44/5/7 that something is mentioned on psycho-social matters. It also depends on what platform you are viewing especially on ISUU.
Then page 60 deals with the behaviour and code of conduct of parliamentarians but given recent events such as accusations of Youth Minister’s Lisa Hannah ‘battyman’ comment towards opposition JLP colleague Warmington coupled with her long winded television paid ad last evening I found myself flipping channels to US cable shows and back and still seeing this woman after some twenty minutes plus.
Nothing was mentioned of one of my pet peeves homelessness either from a general populations standpoint of LGBT sides as well given recent high profile matters involving the latter; bearing in mind also the aforementioned Deputy General Secretary and member of parliament of the area where the populations have featured repeatedly Julian Robinson I was looking for something specific if it was even one sentence.
So we have been shafted for the most part yet again in this manifesto albeit behind the scenes negotiations and such may be ongoing as they were when I was more active inside JFLAG and other efforts but the proof of the pudding is not there yet in my eyes to suggest any real impact. Then we have to contend with a push by the Jamaica Labour Party, JLP to have a referendum on Buggery & the Caribbean Court of Justice, CCJ obviously pandering to the religious right movements and their anti LGBT rights agenda.
Bearing in mind they were complicit in cahoots with the PNP having remove the only protection in the draft in 1999 of discrimination due to sexual orientation.
Then the document went on to say on page 115:
Then on page 131:
So more specifics were available to chew on and questioning possibilities or achievability. The PNP plans to host if not bombard us with daily press conferences and the television ads are heavy on the ear while boring to me. Social media deluge has turned me off as well as nice glossy ads, flyers and such look great and lure one into a sense of a feel good state but it is far from reality; old foot like me lol are used to political parties trying to grab me or my ancestors. Yesterday for example a JLP decorated truck/town crier passed by and it was pitiful as the men aboard obvious thugs paid for to accompany the vehicle had nothing to say and the MP was missing for questioning or engagement.
Observer headline ... yet more le sigh!
The Line in the sand for the PNP part 6 .......Polls & die hards loyalty
I am left with several questions in my mind such as why is the PNP going out on a limb to attack the JLP (Andrew Holness) on the debate & now Holness house matters if it is that the Bill Johnson & Don Anderson polls suggest they are in the lead. There is something else bubbling that is impacting this move, the closeness seems to be the main one but could it be a nyam out (eat out) the machinery on both ends but do not vote for anyone as persons are willing to sell their votes; we know it happens if ever so discretely. Things are paid for, t-shirts are provided etc for example; or ink dipping prior to Election Day in poll divisions (pds) of the opposite party that is stronger which in turn restricts said voters from turning up on the faithful day as the ink does not wash off for days from fingers and one cannot vote by law thus reducing the impact. Oh boi!
This election is going to be close and I have to agree with Mark Wignall on this as he seem more balanced in his comments albeit he has publicly stated he has voted 4 times for the PNP and 3 for the JLP within the last 7 election cycles.
Peace & tolerance indeed required as the silly season goes on.