CaribZone Commentary: Aubrey Campbell –Monday, September 12th

Good morning and good day folks. To God be all the praise and glory due. If you are as privileged as I am, I have no doubt that by now you would have gotten your personal invite to the Town Hall Meeting (THM) with the honorable Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, on September 22, at 6.30 pm, at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, downtown Jamaica, Queens.

I know the place very well, right there at the corner of Parson’s Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue, and I have no doubt that some thought went into the selection process. It’s right there, at the crossroads to everywhere and so, my guess is that Jamaicans can pop in, for the three hours, on their way from work.

Bronx is not too far up the road. Long Island is around the corner and Brooklyn is just down the road.

Andrew needs an earful and he should get an earful. And it’s not because Jose Richards, Irwin Clare, Sr., Sadie Campbell, Tony Cobb, Neil Curtis, Alsion Roach, Christopher Roberts, Trudy Deans, Robert deSouza, Carlisle McKetty, Patrick Buddington and Sheron Pearson, are going to be there.

And let me hasten to clarify. Whatever their partisan political stripes, seen and unseen, they have a vested interest in the affairs of state. They are Jamaicans, first.

Laborites, Comrades, lend me your eyes, your uncorrected vision. Seven long months have elapsed and still not an iota about the new tenant at 767 Third Avenue (2/3 Floors), Manhattan. What is going on? Has the glitz and glamour suddenly faded to black on what used to be the plum of diplomatic offerings, not so long ago.

Oh well, I know what happened and this time around, Andrew does not want to awaken the ghost of Bruce’s past. Good for him. New York, the unofficial sixty-fourth constituency, needs good representation, the kind that’s lacking since 2009!

I want to be the ass here and assume that the delay is more pragmatic than dangerous, and I also want to not over-expect on the occasion of the PM’s tour of duty this time around. To be fair to him, he will be here wining and dining at the World Leaders Summit, as the United Nations opens the 71st session of its general assembly, there in midtown Manhattan.

Andrew will be there, at the THM, in person but I can just see all the questions and concerns being deflected to Kamina Johnson Smith, his deputy essential and to some extent, Derron McCreath, the acting CG, both of whom, I’m told will be left and right of the chief, on his Jamaica Avenue stop.

Now, this is where the smile disappears from my face. Derron is here. Kamina has been here two or three times since February 25, and still ‘nuttin nah gwaan fi di Diaspora’. Or, if something is going on, it’s the best kept secret since The Donald and Hillary were declared front runners for the POTUS!

I’m not feeling it because the fact that my invite is saying that the PM wants input on raising the profile of Jamaica internationally and enabling investments, tells me that the agenda has already been set. By the time speakers speak, you then hear some insensitive moderator telling you there is time for only one more (expletive deleted, stars and stripes) question and you wonder, why did you bother?

And what does Facebook have to do with a Jamaican town hall meeting? Are Jamaicans in New York and the Northeast USA still going ‘gahgah’ over Facebook?

Derron must tell the PM of the level of frustration that Jamaicans encounter in their attempts to do business or get help from the Consulate, that the staff there needs training in basic customer service. Kamina must come prepared to give a state of the Diaspora address, including a clear path to electing the next ABM and preliminaries on the 2017 Conference in Montego Bay. Andrew must be prepared to give a short list of the candidates or name the new CG.

I have information suggesting that the sitting ABM may need to spend more time with her practice. That being the case, Kamina must make it clear that no secret ballot or voting by SM will be used to elect/select her successor. Going forward, the process must be open, free and fair. Oh, and one other thing, there’s no need for an election post mortem at the town hall meeting.

By one seat or 11 seats, a win is a win, is a win. Tell a basketball team in game 7 of the finals that a one point win is not a win..! Move on, next year or next time. That’s it! I was going to say ‘run wid it’ but mi nah badda. Live with it! That a di new talk.

Folks, we remember the thousands of innocent lives lost by that act of terrorism in NYC, on September 11, 2001!

That’s today’s conversation. You have the last word. Share your thoughts.



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