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THE BIG DEBATE. Con v Con Artist

CaribZone Commentary: Aubrey Campbell –Monday, February 15th

Hail to the chiefs, past and president, of these United States, as we pause for the cause that is President’s Day!

I tell myself every waking day that first and foremost, I am a Jamaican living in America, and secondly and of a less import, I am a racist.

I find it necessary to make that distinction at this time because I’m not a Laborite or a Socialist, as those colorful monikers are getting me nowhere fast, as I am domiciled here. As someone who proudly identifies with a race, the observance of February as Black History Month or, if you prefer, African American Heritage Month, is second nature.

Yes, I’m saying it loud, I’m Black, Lovable and Talented!

What February does for me, is to put into proper perspective, the gains of some of those brave souls, gone but not forgotten, who dedicated some if not all of their adult lives to establishing the foundation that Black lives matter and all life matters on this planet and especially in these United States.

From the classroom to the pulpit, from the parks and streets to the sporting arenas, the pathways are littered with teachable moments as to why all life forms matter.

The contribution of Blacks to life in America is on display, 24-7, 365, even if February is the shortest month on the calendar. If our elected officials are the guardians of our freedoms, then we have to demand more from them. We must hold them accountable.

They do a lot to court our vote when they are seeking office and once elected, they disappear from view. Just imagine the educational benefit to be derived from a campaign on our heritage, if given the same treatment like that of an election campaign? Every household would be ‘touched’.

So that by design, accident or divine intervention, February has been given added significance, for Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora. In a matter of 10 days, on February 25, another chapter in the history of the Democracy, will be written.

The next few days are pivotal in the campaign which is at a most important juncture. Important may not be the word. Both sides are locked in a bitter fight to the end. The name calling and finger pointing is anything but friendly.

A large portion of the citizenry is in favor of the two major political parties facing off in a debate. The opposition Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), says bring it on! The ruling People’s National Party (PNP) says no, not until a public apology is tended for an alleged dissing of the party leader and PM.

There is a saying, immortalized in song by Mark ‘Buju Banton’ Myrie, that ‘tief nuh like si tief wid long bag’. And furthermore, it takes one to know one or one to know the other, or something of the sort!

You get my drift..!

So if you call me a tief and I in turn, call you a worse tief, why is that then cause for disrespect and grounds for an apology? Is it because you are the prime minister and leader of the party? The JLP’s plan of action which they say will move Jamaicans from their present, untenable state of poverty to one of relative prosperity, has been frowned upon by the government as an attempt to ‘con’ the electorate.

A big deal to the government which some say, is not comfortable with just a four point advantage in the polls. However, there has to be more to the story. If you call your opponent’s plan a ‘con’ and in turn get referred to as the bigger ‘con artist’, why is that grounds for a national apology?

To make matters worst, the government says it will not engage the opposition in a debate until they are provided with satisfactory answers to a nine point questionnaire regarding a ‘big house’ being built in Beverly Hills, St. Andrew., a matter which calls in question, the integrity of the opposition leader and former PM!

Seriously?

Smoke screens and school yard politics designed to side-step the real issues, according to some. And as one commentator puts it, the PM and the PNP do not need to debate to win the upcoming election. From the outside, listening in, I get the impression that some aspects of the 10 point ‘con’ plan, caught the PNP by surprise, the kind that only PM Peter Phillips can answer, and here, time is of the essence.

I honestly think that the PNP has lost the appetite to govern and here’s why. When I listen to future leader Damion Crawford defending the party, the same party that kicked him to the curb, the same party that has dumped him in the political wilderness, the same party that dumped fellow progressive comrades and future leaders like Lynvale Bloomfield, Raymond Pryce and Lloyd B Smith and almost dumped Lisa Hanna, I am left shaking my head at the high level hypocrisy that is being masked as tenets of democracy.

Mind you, the electorate has shown some signs of maturity in that they are less prone to violence but I’m bothered by those who put on a shirt and get bussed to a mass rally for a stipend and a meal, and will have no second thought of selling his/her vote to the highest bidder on election day, February 25!

Was the date – 25 – chosen for its biblical significance? The date celebrated as the birthday of the savior of mankind? Talk about divine intervention. So help me, God!

You decide because I can’t. I don’t have a vote, so the above conversation may just be an exercise in futility. What I do know is that the future of a nation, hangs in the balance and where you mark the ‘X’ will determine the future direction…up, down or lateral.

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

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