CaribZone Commentary: Aubrey Campbell –Monday, September 26th

Gentle folks, I bid you a good morning, a great day and a productive week. To God be all the glory and praise.

I have no doubt that like myself, you are caught up in the media hype surrounding today’s debate between the candidates for POTUS, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, right there on the (Long) island. Even if you had/have little or no interest in the November 8, outcome, the media marketing package makes it hard to ignore.

I do hope that when all is said and done, substance will trump hype. Oops, pun intended! I’m only the conversation starter. LMAO….!

So, last week, the prime minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness was in town for the world leaders summit and the ceremonial opening of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), at UN headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

And good of him to stop in for a reasoning with the Jamaican community, be they laborites, comrades or wagonists. Let me get it straight. I was not there but thanks to radio simulcast, published reports and my own unscientific ‘fact checking’, I know what went on.

What surprises me – and there are/were many – is the amount of laborites that came out of the New York City subway to full the JPAC to capacity, forcing me to recall another such significant welcome for a sitting PM, was the one given to PSM at the Lenox Road Baptist Church, Brooklyn, some years ago!

Let’s just say that Jamaica is Jamaica, and laborites ‘nuff’ a yard. Credit the Consulate General’s office for its due diligence on this one. But that’s where the kudos stop. I see nor hear no reporting of the questions that were asked of the prime minister and his team of experts, real questions  that speak to the understanding of the challenges faced by Jamaicans in this section of the USA Diaspora. Here I go with that damn, easily misunderstood word, AGAIN. Damn you, Aubrey!

I’m told that the PM was short, and as someone else said, short on substance. Good for him. I know he was briefed. Politicians by nature are long winded and very speechified. They have to go round and round the mulberry bush to make a point!

But if Andrew was short and brief – same difference – what took up the time for questioning, given the choice of moderator, someone who knows his way around the mulberry bushes of the Diaspora?

In an auditorium full of concerned Jamaicans, over 400 strong, my understanding is that just about ten questions were taken from more than 100 persons who indicated they have a question for the PM. That’s roughly 10 percent. Not good!

It’s Andrew’s first of such visit but how good it would have been for him to indicate what stage the search for a new Consul General is, if not to introduce the person. Am I to understand that among the hundreds of laborites that showed up last Thursday, Alsion Roach is/was the best and only candidate? And if that’s not the case, what’s taking so long?

I need to have a word with Alsion. After all, with the advent of SM, background checks are a breeze, these days! Come on Andrew, tell me ‘you got this’ because I don’t want to ruin the surprise! The Consulate General’s office needs a fix, for crying out loud!

So that question was not asked/answered. Too bad. An opportunity missed, indeed.

We hear about the formation of yet another Diaspora unit, something to do with crime prevention and intervention by a former, ranking JDF officer but nothing of the fragmentation that is now masking as an advisory board in the three regions of the USA.

I say it again. You have a bunch of misfits calling itself a Diaspora unit, trying to make lasting changes in Jamaica, without an operating base. How is that, in today’s day and age? And why did the beauty queen, senate minister not address the matter, in her time on the JPAC stage?

Is there a biennial Diaspora Conference in Montego Bay next June? I guess not. Another process derailed by the change of government this past February. I just want someone to prove me wrong that this Diaspora foolishness is not just a political football in a pipe dream…KMT!

Seems like the election guidelines for the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast regions of the Jamaica Diaspora/USA, have been shredded. Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, the minister with portfolio responsibility for the Diaspora, needs to speak on this matter with some urgency. Are the current ABMs being asked to stay on and if so, what are the proviso, madam?

Another missed opportunity, Senator Johnson Smith. The honey is being drained from the moon, considering that this is your third trip to these parts. This is one area that needs “seamlessness” between governments but only when the leadership is on and from this side. Certainly not the other way around.

As one town hall participant said, almost shaking off her (wig) head in disbelief…’typical Jamaica. One step forward, two steps backward, glide to the side’. I nearly pop up!

Here’s the thing. Prime Ministers are in their comfort zone when talking about job creation, economic growth and encouraging and inviting foreign direct investment. That’s what they say to get elected. They always come with an outstretched hand or two and oftentimes, too many.

Do they understand what the chant ‘Black Lives Matter’ mean in 2016, in these United States,  and that a wall – real or imagined – may be built around these United States, starting on November 9, this year? Whom ever gets the keys to the capitol, it will not be business as usual. Remember that. The new political paradigm is in full effect, folks.

An assurance from/by the PM that his administration is working, working, working, to make Jamaica a better place, is all good. However, If I was him, I would stay away from the word ‘transformation’ which has taken on very ambiguous meaning of late. Who said..’the more things change the more they remain the same’…and I don’t have to cite example(s) here, do I?

With crime, education and bureaucracy (red tape), being the prime focus, we could be in for another period of stunted (economic) growth. The evidence is there! God help us.

The amount of time that the Diaspora is being called on is becoming a joke. This one time should not be. September 28 is just two days away and it is my hope that the necessary signatures will be secured so that the petition, seeking a presidential pardon for PanAfricanist and National Hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, can be presented to the Oval Office, without a hitch. Anything else, would be unfortunate but be warned, we have been there before.

Up you might race….!

Folks, laborites, comrades, Jamaicans, let me hope that the PM will feel energized from his NYC visit and welcome and if he can’t come back in haste, send an emissary with the good news. Jamaicans here are deserving, especially with the winter months approaching!

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


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