Escalation clause

If you ever walk around Jamaica, you will probably have seen a scene similar to this.

“Why you don’ do your work?”

“I do my work. You can manage your own work, you fool!”

“Who’re you calling a fool? You, fool!”

“Me, fool? I’ll show you who’s a fool!”

Pushing follows and maybe some cursing, and then the next thing is that the two people are wrestling with each other, perhaps clawing to find some object with which the hit each other.

Huffing and puffing, they are separated by some onlookers.

“Mr. Rodney, you’re so old, time forgot you. Why are you fighting with Mr. Everton?” says a bystander.

Mr. Rodney, takes a breath. “Because, Everton is a fool!” A silence descends. Everton looks up and sees Rodney’s heaving chest and sweated brow. “Who’re you calling fool, you fool!” You get to watch round two.

The language is usually a lot coarser and the actions quite animated. But, it often reminds me of stags fighting, with each locking horns, literally and proverbially. Things can easily ramp up and weapons get used. Someone gets stabbed, or hit, or chopped. Another violent incident statistic.

Jamaicans sometimes find it hard to resolve differences without getting into a spat. Yelling or very loud voices are par for the course.

I’ve watched the JLP the past two weeks, since the leadership race was officially ended. Why am I not surprised that after the mud-slinging of the campaign, it would end and then there would be many more barbs traded? Some groups just need a pretext to be cantankerous. When the word ‘unity’ was uttered after the results were declared, we should have focused immediately on the possible negative part of the word–un…–rather than the seeming bind that was implied by ‘unit’.

At each stage, the growling and snarling looks like it will subside, only for more head butting to begin. Maybe, it the Jamaican in Labour Party that makes them be that way. It started with a diss. The latest episode has the Supreme Court dismissing call to impose an injuction on Mr. Holness filling now vacant Senate positions, after he used resignation letters, allegedly signed and undated, and allegedly for another purpose. What other result could there be? Who would sign an undated resignation letter and think that it was not a smoking ember waiting to erupt into an uncontrolled fire? Surely, not intelligent politicians.

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Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)

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