JAMAICA’s VOTE 2016. A Race To The Finish

CaribZone Commentary: Aubrey Campbell –Wednesday, February 17th

The clock is ticking and Jamaica is in a frantic race to the finish line. The headline grabbing events of the last ten days, no doubt, making for a rather robust ‘debate’.

At the National Stadium, Kingston, World Championship sprinter Yohan ‘The Beast’ Blake, spoke of his disappointment with his current form during a post race interview, after a seventh place finish in a developmental 400 meters event last Saturday, at the Camperdown Classic.

As if to shift the focus away from his ‘not ready as yet’ form, he questioned his lane one assignment, in a way that seems to suggest that given his star status, he was ‘dissed’ by being assigned a difficult lane!

Hard luck, son! You still have five months to sharpen those claws. You can do it! We are counting on you now as we have done in the past and I know, when the right time comes, you will step up to the podium! It all about, gold glory and more prosperity for our island nation.

Over in Montego Bay, at the 38 annual staging of the Milo Western Relays, at the Catherine Hall Stadium, ShellyAnn Fraser Pryce was busy anchoring her MVP team to a world leading time in the sprint relay and doing so in a manner that suggested to the thousands of adoring, vovozela blowing fans on hand, that she is ready for Rio, and will stay ready for the ‘V’ but not the one associated with Zika!

Compare and contrast the above scenarios to that being played out on the ground among the elected officials and ‘wannabee’ parliamentarians of the two major political parties contesting the general elections on February 25, and it makes for unscripted scenes like those ‘straight out of Parliament’.

Eight days out, it’s nothing short of a mad dash to the finish, not unlike the one that cost Justin Gatlin the race against Usain St. Leo Bolt at last summer’s World Championship of Athletics, in Beijing, China. In the local context however, I don’t know who’s who?

I don’t know who is ‘Gatlin’ and who is ‘Bolt’, who will finish first and who will take second best!

I think it’s still a close race, so far characterized by serious questions of integrity, honesty, deceit, gutter politics and unsavory utterances from key functionaries and messengers on either side of this huge political divide, that have caused much ebbing and flowing among a gullible, and according to some, a largely undecided electorate.

What is so striking about this political race is that the electorate, a significant portion of which is in a position to make an educated and informed decision, an electorate that will mark the ‘X’ without duress, is being taken for a ride down ignorant street.

Not only have both major political parties, the Laborites and Socialists, waited until the ninth hour, literally, to release their manifestos, a document of regurgitated stuff that the gatekeepers at Riverton City would hastily turned away, but they have chosen to hide behind a rather thinly veiled smokescreen of integrity, con artistry and convenient amnesia, rather than coming forward, in the glare of broad daylight, to face and fess up to the key matrix of the day.

And that is, where do you intend to take the land we love, the country of our birth and its 3 million souls, in the next five years! Manifestos be damned!

In the year of our Lord – and please pardon my divine intervention – Jamaica’s politics cannot be just about recital of scripted data and academic research or the dictates of an absentee, international consortium.

And do you not now understand why Jamaicans running for elected office, overseas, appear to be so lethargic in their politicking?

You will dance abroad, the same way you dance a yard. Nuff said! God bless grandma Louise.


In this global space of interconnectedness, where the action of one sector can and will have a bearing on the activities of others, to ask me to step up the progress or to promise to move me from poverty to some modicum of prosperity in a five year span, would suggest to me that some quick thinking and unpopular decisions will have to be factored in somewhere, soon.

And that calls for quick thinking on your feet and outside the ‘proverbial’ box, unencumbered by data and academics.

Manifestos are shams, scams and facades of deceit. The moment the election is decided, that document will be eulogized. I say here, without any fear of contradiction, that since 1962, if governments were sticking to manifestos, Jamaica would be a much better place.

Sadly, and on the eve of a general election, the state of Jamaica’s politics is being dictated by who/which side is the better con artist, which side has a better apology for the cancer of corruption and deceit that has taken over Jurassic Park at Duke Street.

Where will you mark your ‘X’?

That’s today’s conversation. I give you the last word, always. Share your thoughts.

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