CaribZone Commentary: Aubrey Campbell –Monday, November 28th

Folks, I am giving thanks for a Monday morning like no other I am alive, Fidel Castro is not. Like him or not, that’s your prerogative. He stood for something. That’s why, as a freshman student of political science, I found a particular SM post, most interesting.

And it basically says that the maximum leader survived eleven US presidents over a span of 57 years but could not survive Donald J. Trump past the fifteenth day! Telling.Touching. Troubling!

Food for thought!

And while you are at it, let me apologize for a bit of misinformation in my conversation of Wednesday, November 23, in which I mentioned that municipal election, the same one you call local government, aka parish council, will be held on Tuesday, November 29. Elections are in fact being held today, Monday, November 28!

So make sure you go out and vote…early and often!

Yes, I am sea-rough!

But let’s come back to basics and the essence of today’s conversation. And given the outcome of elections of the most recent past, I could not pass up this one, Fidel and all the communist muster!

It is safe to say that like the midterm election cycle here in these United States, the Jamaican electorate, now more educate and politically savvy, are not as fired up for the municipal polls, so the expectation is for a low voter turnout today and by that token, it’s anybody’s guess as to which way the political pendulum will swing at or close to midnight!

Will it be bright orange or verdant green? Stay tuned! My guess is that the result of today’s voting will be hinged on two matters of what I want to refer to here as ‘impolite politics’. Now, let me be clear that what is ‘impolite’ to me, a political science novice, could very well be par for the course in today’s high stakes game where scam and grab – in no particular order – is the new political norm!

Are you with me?

Politicians young and old are now reading from the best seller, “I Did It My Way”, authored by Donald J Trump with musical score by Frank Sinatra and detailing his (Trump’s) rise from a high-priced, pussy grabber to becoming the president of these United States and one of the most powerful persons on planet earth! And that depends on the worth and import of the office of POTUS, if you can sell it without the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey tag.

Isn’t that something?

Here is where I’m going with this!

Jamaicans at home will decide today, in a matter of hours, the make-up of the secondary level of government on the island nation. And they will do so, in my view, from two telling developments of the last two weeks, two telling developments that have ears ‘pon cock’ and tongues wagging!

It’s only now that the word ‘scam’ is being fronted in headlines and footnotes, but politicians have been scheming and scamming their way in and out of office from time immemorial. What has changed is just the level of sophistication!

Welcome to the digital age where the ‘fingerprint’ is more discernible.

So here it is now that a week and some days before the election, the Andrew Holness government announced the allocation of a J$600 million budget to bush and beautify sections of the island, in time before the rainy season and a proactive approach to fighting the scourge of diseases carried by mosquitoes.

Their explanation/justification!

That’s what the government say. That’s how they are justifying the project. The Opposition say, ‘dem a rasta, dem nuh eat pork’!

My interpretation!

Folks, where I come from, pork barrel politics is alive and well! The Opposition is claiming that it’s all a ploy to ‘buy’ votes for today’s election. What I did not get is if the ‘bushing and beautification’ project is to be carried out in ‘battleground’ constituencies or Laborite garrisons? That’s the only reason why I could see the opposition, up in arms!

I’m reminded ever so often that all politics is local, but never bothered to ask what exactly it means!

The contention/challenge here is that it’s just a ‘crash program’ by another name. Some called their’s JEEP, so maybe instead of ‘Bushing’, Mr. Holiness (sic) and his cohorts should have named this one ‘Land Rover’. Or is it a case of the Opposition getting beat at its own gamesmanship!

What is said about tief an’ lang bag or, making the same mistake, twice..?

So my guess is that those Jamaicans who take the time to exercise their franchise today, will do so, mindful of this project. Is it an attempt to rig the election or to rid sections of the country of conditions conducive to mosquito infestation?

You decide! No, but hold on, please. I would have thought that for a country whose economy is dependent on the hospitality industry, any attempt to beautify ‘paradise’ would be met with open arms?

Are you still with me?

The other dynamic on which today’s election result could be hinged, has to do with remarks attributed to former prime minister and leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson Miller, during a campaign stop in St. Ann, last week.

Here’s what is/was reported by the media.

Simpson Miller, in an address directed at rebel supporters in Claremont, St Ann South East last week, said: “I represent one of the strongest constituencies (St Andrew South Western) in Jamaica; don’t play with me, I don’t play games. I work hard for this movement from 1974, ‘til now, nuh boy, nuh gyal can’t talk to me… I will come back here for another meeting and I know who I will bring.”

Is that incendiary or what, coming from the leader of the Opposition, on the campaign trail, after her own party supporters allegedly voiced their disapproval of party choices for candidates in today’s election?

If you are in my zone, you will quickly dismiss this hyperventilation as another of those make no sense, ‘nuh draw mi tongue drama’. If Trump can be elected POTUS, this too shall pass like water under the bridge of Jamaica’s politics.

However, let me be clear AGAIN! Where I come from and the school I studies at, up to Grade 13, I was taught that in any tone, utterances of the Jamaican ‘bwoy’ and ‘gal’ to describe and/or identify the junior male and female species of homosapien, is considered offensive and an insult!

Wait, it gets even more interesting. The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) and the police, have had to come out in support of the journalist and the media house that broke the story because of death treats!

My understanding is that investigations have been launched by the Office of the Political Ombudsman and the police, among other entities.

Folks, there is no two ways about being responsible when you seek and subsequently hold public office. Being responsible is not an option, it’s a right. To say what you say and then say that’s not what you mean/meant, is wrong!

…and say it the same way president-elect Donald J. Trump said to Hillary’s face during the debate!

In a democracy where the majority rules, however slim that margin is/might be, we are seeing it more and more these days where someone’s ‘wrong’ becomes the ‘right’ of the majority..and you have to live with it!

Folks, the pork barrel or the garrison! It’s all a game! I don’t care how much you shuffle it, it’s what it is, a swap! The orange head or the green bell..?

Hope your Thanksgiving met all your expectations and some. The real holiday season starts now, but before you go out and spend it all, spend some time with the Cuban people as they mourn the loss of Cde Castro, the greatest leader of our time, barring none.

Farewell Fidel. Viva Los Cubanos y La Revolucion!

Folks, that’s today’s conversation. You have the last word. Share your thoughts!


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