Solid as “Concrete”

When a man tells you his name is “Concrete” what should you think? When the man looks to be in his 60s, you’d imagine that this name was earned by something quite significant. I’m not accustomed to playing golf with a caddy, in the same way that I’m not used to playing golf from a motorized golf cart. But, Jamaica is forcing me to reconsider how I do many things. My caddy today was named “Concrete”; he had been caddying since 1959 and was in his mid-60s. I told him that I wanted to walk and he told me that he did not use a pull cart, but would carry my bag. I should have put the bag on my back. I put pull cart back in the car. I explained that I wanted him to guide me around the course, as I practised ahead of a tournament this coming weekend. “Trust me! Trust the club I give you!” he told me.

I quickly bowed to his wisdom as we started with a birdie score on the first hole. I followed that up with a series of scores I’ve only ever seen on a professional’s card, when I was scoring at two over par through 7 holes. I was trying to put into practice advice given to me by a caddy in Montego Bay last week, and my mantra to myself was simple: “Head still. Put fire ‘pon de grass!” It was working. The other caddy working with my partner asked me what was my handicap and I told him that it was 20. “Do you think you’re playing like that?” he asked. I said, “No”: I was playing like a scratch golfer. It felt strange, but decidedly pleasant.

Golf can reward you well for the simple things mastered. In the same way, it penalizes when those lessons are not followed. I could not sustain the good play through 18 holes, but I still put up a much better-than-average score for my handicap. I admire the way that the pros and good amateurs sustain their level of play and concentration.

Golf in Jamaica has always had black caddies and we are not in the position of seeing them as racially restricted in terms of what they can do. “Concrete” told me that he can play on the course two days a week.march31_carl_299x218_0.jpg I asked him to show me a few shots of his own. His body, smaller than mine, and wiry, coiled like a snake and the ball effortlessly left his club and sailed towards a green 100 yards away.

Caddying is not high-paying work in an absolute sense, but it’s a source of regular income. With tips, being a caddy can be more than a meagre living. Players may buy caddies drinks or food, so they do alright. After our round, our caddies were champing at the bit to leave us as ‘their bosses’ were just showing up for some afternoon golf. We’d taken a little extra time because we practised, so one of the caddies pointed out that our tip needed to compensate for his losing the chance to work with the afternoon group. We considered that, but didn’t bend for it. In an economy and society starved of jobs, when you have work and can turn that into a money earner by doing more than specified or getting more than agreed, then it’s going to happen. Caddies don’t need to beg. They often earn their fees in finding balls in some deep bush that would otherwise be lost and need to be replaced, thus saving the player a few dollars each round. They can often ‘encourage’ payments by giving really solid advice, which when well followed gives the player the desired results. “Pay up!” I was all ready to quit golf and hug my caddy after my start, and we were all smiles.

I’ll be honest, I’ve seen only a few caddies work up close, but some of them are little better than piranhas. Legend_of_Bagger_VanceImages of Caddy Shack come to mind. But, so too, do images of people swimming in a sea full of sharks. People have talked to me about things ‘missing’ from their bags after a round of golf. I’m not going to go beyond what I’ve experienced, but just mention that the relationship need not be good. Players are a sources of funds and when it’s possible to get that in underhand ways, motive and opportunity may be too close. A lady player, with whom I played last week, was really angry when the caddy she’d agreed would work with her had not showed up but another caddy–for whom she did not have a good feeling–came up to say he had been told by her bagger to replace him. Not really his call, and he made things worse by wanting to put his clothes in the lady’s car, then taking her umbrella to go sit with her golf bag.

“Concrete” wont have his name tainted by any story of wrong doing or just bad etiquette. If I get the chance to do so, I’ll ask for his help this weekend. I told him that his help and advice given to me from last week were helping me hit drives about 30 yards longer, and I was getting about 20 yards more from each club.

Can I do that on a regular basis? Time will tell. “Concrete” has a vested interest in my improving. I represent a potentially good meal ticket 🙂

Jamaica as self-parody

My eyes fall on many things every day in Jamaica and I see more than I see. On Sunday evening, when I was driving back from Montego Bay, I saw a taxi parked on the side of Washington Boulevard, as I entered Kingston. The driver stood beside the car with his arms folded. As I got closer to the parked vehicle, I sensed that it had broken down. Run out of gas? Mechanical trouble? It was nearly 10.30pm, so I was not inclined to stop and ask, and I was dead tired, anyway. But, imagine: a taxi breakdown is not that uncommon in Jamaica. It reflects the marginal nature of life as a taxman–from fare to fare; filling the car up with a few litres at a time, depending on how well fares have gone. No way to live and no way to build a future. The scene reminded me of many I’d seen in an African country considerably poorer and less developed than Jamaica.  It also reminded me of scenes in countries in the former Soviet Union, when foreign exchange and supplies were so short that no day had any certainty. Jamaica has not gotten very far and it’s still prone to everyday crises that seem out of place in many countries. Car break downs are not unique, but the reasons here are very interesting.

I just talked to the lady who runs the gardening service for the house I rent. I mentioned that the gardener hadn’t come yesterday. She said she’d check on it. Moments later, she called me back to say that the gardener hadn’t come because “she hadn’t sent him”. I guess that if you perform day work, that’s how you approach things. The need for continuity is not your concern: someone needs your service, then that has to be contracted for every unique occasion, no matter how regularly you’ve been doing the job–and grass does not take many days off from growing. I know that the gardener likes to drink a ‘Q’ (small flask) of rum when he can,Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 1.18.34 PM so I would not have been surprised if he’d just caned himself over the weekend and was really glad to try to sleep it off, rather than slough around in the heat–yesterday was hot. Work ethos is one of those issues that have been popping into my head all too often. Hand-to-mouth existence creates some odd dysfunctionality. My lady called me back to say that the gardener was near and would be coming by soon. As I write, I see his grizzly smiling face as he walks past the kitchen window.

I listened to the radio this morning and heard a report of Ocho Rios high schoolers in the morning shift were having fainting spells soon after arriving at school this morning; their school had been ‘fogged’–fumigated–apparently against mosquito infestation. As someone asked, rightly, “Who would fog a school on a regular school day?” The shuffling to shift blame was already moving at a mad rate as school officials and education ministry officials were quick to point out that they had not authorized the process and were pointing the finger at the Ministry of Health. I’ve written recently questioning Jamaicans’ ability to make good decisions, and see all the time the struggle that seems to go on because of the failure to work things out clearly beforehand. Often, it seems that people in Jamaica just hope that things work out, with little done to make that even likely. Let’s hope that the children don’t end up suffering from some serious poisoning and resulting respiratory problems.mosquito_fogging_2

Finally, I love ‘banking by learning’. I discovered yesterday that although I can go around paying for stuff with my debit card, I’m subject to a daily limit in terms of my total purchases using ‘point of sale’ (POS), e.g. buying groceries or paying for gas or other bills. The total POS purchases are limited to J$99,999 I was informed by a Scotiabank representative via Twitter–a very good service, by the way. I don’t know what the rationale is of the limit, and it took a few efforts to figure it out. Having just paid for one doctor’s bill of J$15,000 with my debit card, I was then limited to just over $84,000 if I wanted to make other POS payments. I think the idea is to protect me, if my card is stolen, and limit the damage to my bank balance. Fortunately, it never got embarrassing, such as might have been the case if I’d just had a spa treatment and was stuck unable to pay 🙂

Sports in need: things to ponder

I know I do not know the whole story, but I was struck by a few comments over the past few days, all of which go to the little that is done for sporting people by their parent institutions. I’m just going to repeat what was said, assuming that it’s true. I’ve no reason to disbelieve because the persons making the comments have ‘skin in the game’ in the form of children or relatives participating. How can sports be developed if so much of what needs to be funded can only come from the pockets of the participants? The latest comment related to swimming and what a parent felt was the lamentable support from the Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica. Is it really the case that to represent the country swimmers “have to go begging” for money from sponsors?

What I discovered over the past few days that taxes on gambling fund a large amount of sports (and other forms of development, e.g. through the CHASE (Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education) Fund). Money is clearly lacking in a broad sense, and the need for sponsors is constant.

I know that ‘begging’ is not limited to any particular sports. I heard about the struggles to get a prestigious golf tournament underway until “the sponsors came through”.

I imagine that in a climate of stringent conditions in public finance, government support is likely to be slim. Also, the overall economic weakness should mean that private donors are likely to be very particular about where they place their dollars.

We may be lulled into thinking that the flash and glamour of our top track stars means that sports are lucrative businesses. It’s not so. We’re not a rich country and our athletes cannot be raking it in, in general.

Just two weeks ago, the government signed an agreement to pump J$250 million into developing high school and community based sporting facilities. The programme will be funded by the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) which will provide $100 million, and the European Union Sugar Transformation Programme, that will provide another $150 million.

Infrastructure is wanting in many areas. I was lucky enough to get to one of the new facilities outside Kingston, Catherine Hall Sports ComplexScreen Shot 2013-11-18 at 8.07.44 PM, in Montego Bay. A nice stadium, that looked to hold about 10,000 people, designed to host football and athletics events. The country needs several more facilities like this.

Swimming is one of those sports that lies lower than it should given our size and potential. The ASAJ seems a bit sleepy–judged by what it appears to project about the sport, which seems to be very low profile–though credit should be given for the SwimJamaica programme aimed at providing all Jamaicans with opportunities to swim.

Many sides of the story need to be considered. I’ve just been playing in a golf tournament and was struck by the impact and presence of sponsoring enterprises–the private sector dollars made the event happen. The Jamaican Golf Association (JGA) was present but largely invisible to the public.justbetsprings That may well reflect their importance in getting the event up and running, but they are there to build and support the sport and its players. Why is the JGA so much in the shadows?

I need to read about the various sporting structures and talk more to those involved. Plenty to do in Jamaica, as usual.

The good, the bad, and the ugly (November 17)

Good:

The JLP leadership election was held, peacefully, after a brief and acrimonious contest. Mr. Holness won a sizeable victory over Mr. Shaw, but that is not the end of leadership contention, I contend. Mr. Holness shows he’s has no hole that Mr. Shaw need fill.

Bad:

Mr. Holness tries to take control of his party by using the desire of his Shadow Cabinet to give him a ‘free hand’ in chosing his new team by all resigning to really show that he is in charge. He calls for all Senators to also resign, thus sparking a backlash from Mr. Shaw–who said he’d not be reappointed as finance spokesman unless Senators resigning was off the table and the matter of whether Mr. Tufton had been properly nominated to be a deputy leader. Mr. Holness shows that he is as tough as anyone.

Ugly:

Mr. Holness allegedly unearths an old letter of resignation by all Senators, supposedly to deal with any party split on the question of the Caribbean Court of Justice, to wheddle out JLP Senators. If any one had said “You dirty, stinking, rat!” it would have been no surprise. Mr. Holness begins to show that he is not pushover. Mr. Holness shows that he is not a simple smiling sweet boy. Not at all!Image

A little Montego Bay adventure: the thrill is gone

I drove to the north coast on Friday, to play in a golf tournament. I booked a hotel at short notice and am staying in a long-established place on the ‘hip strip’. Well, there’s nothing really hip about the strip, which looks like it got stuck in the 1990s.
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I’ve only ever stayed in the beach front hotels, which are larger, filled with European and American visitors, and offer lots of amenities. Here, I get a room and little else.

It has a touch of Fawlty Towers.
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I should have been warned by that sign in my room. I should have been warned by the surrounding clubs and the noise that drummed my head. Sound proofing? Forget it.

The place is wanting in terms of some basic upgrades and maintenance. My little TV is so small it’s almost dwarfed by an ice bucket. I have sit in the single armchair about one meter from the screen to watch. Often, the picture goes and I have sound only. I can pretend it’s a radio.

On Saturday morning, I wanted breakfast before heading out to practice. I’d been told it was served from 7am. Well, several guests were wondering where was the grub well after 7. “It’s minutes away,” a server told us. One lady had to get to the airport and her shuttle was here: she left, after grabbing a cup of coffee and some fruit. Another group were headed to a conference. One of them said “These people are not f***ing serious!” He left in disgust to register for his event. I asked if any food was ready and was told it was being cooked: kidneys and boiled bananas. Bring it!
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Like the steamed fish I’d eaten in my room the night before, the food was solid Jamaica home-style. No complaints, except the fish had kept me waiting an hour and now the breakfast slow train.

Most of the guests were Jamaicans. I don’t know if they felt unloved. Even though all the staff smiled and spoke nicely, we got little else.

I met a friend for dinner last night. He’s staying in a beach front boutique hotel and paying US $160 a night. I’m paying $100. “You get what you pay for,” he told me. I couldn’t disagree. But, why so little?

Spartans would be happy here. I just needed a bed as I was out all day but I like cozy. Quaint and quirky needs something more than that to survive. This place feels like it’s dying and no one cares. Shame.

Gutting fish: JLP acrimony rules

Jamaican politics never struck me as playful. I’ve never really followed political developments from within the country. But, if the past few months are any indication, a special breed of person thrives in the murky waters inhabited by Jamaican politicians.
Within the space of this week, I’ve seen enough to convince me that the moral compass of Jamaican politics has no true North.

Vindictiveness is also evident all too quickly, despite the sweet siren sounds claiming the contrary.

For the JLP, the way the week ended, with Andrew Holness getting the coveted scalp of Chris Tufton through the alleged use of a resignation letter ‘pre-signed’ in case of differences over another issue, was a true coup de grace. I suspect more blood will be shed before all is done in JLP-land.

Imagine: all of this when ‘love’ and ‘unity’ was on the agenda. Save us from the time when ‘anger’ is in play.

Time for Peter to give us a fillip: come blow your horn about the economy

Is it really only Thursday? Since Sunday’s JLP special delegates conference, it seems that Jamaica’s political landscape has been a non-stop series of reruns of great TV favourities such as All In The Family, The Twilight Zone, The Fugitive, Mission Impossible, all rolled into one. Back in the days when such series were popular, people did not have TiVo, or even reliable video recorders, so that they could get on with other essential things in life such as hand washing, grinding corn on a stone, chopping wood, and hanging out cotton navies, and not miss their favourites episodes. They had to watch or forever be out of every conversation at the well. Now, thankfully, we have both TiVo and cable, so we can choose to delay our pleasure or just forget about it and watch a cooking or shopping channel or good quality soap opera. I feel I need to watch one of those channels trying to sell me a vacuum cleaner that also slices cucumbers. The four days of drama that have been the JLP post-leadership-election have been a bit too much for my poor little constitution–let alone The Constitution of poor little Jamaica. So, Andrew and Audley, and your cast of budding actors, give me a break. I’ve other fish to fry.

For more than a week a team of IMF economists have been poring over numbers and sitting in meetings with Jamaican finance officials. Sadly, for them, their visit came as Restaurant Week was kicking off. If they were lucky, they might have heard about this, but I suspect that they have not had the chance to venture out of their hotel and sample anything directly, like food at the aptly named 689. In a way, that’s good for us because it means that they don’t have to deal with that persistent conundrum of the country that is not growing that seems to be able to show itself in the lifestyle of the rich and successful.

But, because the mission members have been content to grab patties and eat room service meals, we know that Jamaica can adopt a Bolt-ian stance. Word is that the country has passed the quantitative criteria and indicative targets for the second review under the current IMF arrangement. In plain English, Jamaica is still doing well in the early heats. A few more rounds are ahead, but things are looking up for a place on the podium and maybe even the gold. But, hold on to that Stones Ginger wine. The IMF is nothing if not formality, and that means that the final word on this depends on the IMF Executive Board giving its approval; that’s scheduled for December, so will be in time for Christmas. Put back the ginger wine and make sure you have plenty of sorrel, then.Stone_Green_Ginger_Wine

Maybe, it’s all the hype about the JLP, or the Reggae Girlz doing well in the CONCACAF football tournament, or the Sunshine Girlz doing well in Fast 5 netball, or JADCO still trying to ward off WADA, the economic news seems to have a ho-hum feel about it. Surely, Jamaica is not going to sail through this program and get to the end looking like a champion? Is it real or is the country taking performance-enhancing supplements?

I suspect the ho-humming may be because people forgot that the IMF program doesn’t actually create any jobs or ‘let off a money’ on most people. Now, they remember, it’s just about things to which most people cannot relate–fiscal incentives, structural adjustment, regulatory reforms. It’s blah, compared to the prospects of real jobs if the Chinese ever get to start lining up restaurants on the Goat Islands.

Finance Minister Phillips tried his best to sound upbeat–and that is like Beethoven displacing Sibelius in the charts–when he said “Now that the early shoots of economic growth are visible, it’s incumbent on us to nurture them and to extend their growth to the fullest extent possible.” These agricultural analogies have a way of coming up–like shoots–only to sound stilted as the growth falters or some economic shock knocks the country off track. The shoots then begin to wither away under the hot, blazing reality of hard economic times.

But, I am not going to be a nay sayer. I want Jamaica to pass all the IMF tests, with flying colours.

As I say that, I realise something a little odd. All during the weekend, I heard them–for Andrew and Audley. All during the week, I could hear them–for St. George’s, Jamaica College and Excelsior. But, yesterday, I could not hear them during the press conference about the IMF program. Where are the vuvuzelas to herald that we are doing so well?vuvuzela Are we afraid to blow any trumpets because we fear that the perfect pitch will turn into a teeth-jarring screech? I think, we need to stand a bit more confidently on this economic performance thing, man. Before the IMF leaves the island, I urge Dr. Phillips to pull out a vuvuzela and give it a blow.

Avast, ye varlet! Shaw is not backing down, yet

The JLP has suddenly turned into Jamaica’s answer to an award-winning soap opera. I really did not think that the dust would settle fast, after Sunday’s show of love and unity once the leadership election results were announced. I did not see, however, that the unloveliness and disunity would spiral so fast.

Mr. Shaw gives the acclaimed leader “a free hand” by resigning his finance spokesperson post. All shadow ministers resign, so that the ‘free hand’ has turned into a ‘free bunch’. All magnanimity? Mr. Holness, as befits a man who believes that the result gave him a clear mandate, puts his mark on his new Parliamentary tag team and names Mr. Shaw again as ‘Mr. Finance’. But, wait! Mr. Shaw is audacious: he pens a letter to the leader saying “I cannot accept assignment as Shadow Minister”. Why? Because one of his supporters, Mr. Tufton–who had been a vociferous critic of Mr. Holness in the campaign, and could be called ‘Mr. Tuffness’, is staring at the chopping block. Mr. Shaw has issues that need to be dealt with first:

The main issues are your expressed desire for ALL Senators to resign and the outstanding issue of the challenged legitimacy of the nomination of two Deputy Leaders.

It is clear to me that the reason for your desire to have the resignations of the Senators, is to allow for the exclusion of Dr Christopher Tufton and others who did not support you in the recent election.”

That is, course, pure rhetoric. If Mr. Holness really wanted to exclude those who had not supported him, why in Heaven’s name would he spend time nominating persons like Mr. Shaw?  Hello!

But, of course, it puts the leader on notice that the leadership race might have been run officially, but it is still going on in the shadows–excuse my pun. This is a test. The first of many, I think. Can the leader lead? Can he withstand challenges direct and indirect?

Many believe that Mr. Holness does not have the stature of great JLP leaders, like Edward Seaga or Sir Alexander Bustamante. He is still ‘the boy’ in the eyes of many. He may be a boy, but he now gets the chance to show if he can be like David, and topple the Goliath who is still stalking him.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man: Holness = wholesomeness?

In the middle of October, when the Jamaica Labour Party leadership race was raging, news reports focused on claims that opponent, Audley Shaw, had copied the ideas of incumbent, Andrew Holness: Mr. Shaw apparently was trying to claim ownership of a five-point development plan Holness had been promoting for the past two years. Mr. Holness’ team, dubbed “Team JLP”, issued a statement: “Team JLP maintains that the 5 Es of Development — Education, Energy, Economy, Environment and Efficiency — remain the cornerstone of the Holness’ platform, and has been developed through consultations within and outside of the JLP, maturing into a comprehensive development framework for Jamaica.” What interested me about that little spat was that both sides were fighting essentially for the same mental space in the heads of those who would vote for them. In other words, the two candidates were not separated by any substantial difference in ideas and policy outlook. In which case, it’s interesting to speculate about what made delegates opt for one man over the other.

I was not present at the voting area, but judging by what I saw, the differences were more ‘about the man’. Mr. Holness has relJLPwinnerB20131110JBative youth (aged 41, compared to Mr. Shaw’s 61 years). That youthfulness may suggest to some more of a true future leader for the long haul. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that this factor might have translated into better support for policies that focus on the future of the country’s younger people. The ‘5E’s’ may sit better as a mantra that says “Holness” in that it looks like the things he could really push through. As a former Minister of Education, he may seem more credible on the first and very important element of that platform.

Mr. Holness was accused on many occasions of not being aggressive enough in his tackling of the ruling PNP. That may also represent something in his favour, given that the tendency for ‘ray-ray’ politics of Mr. Shaw did not seem to be attractive to many. Put another way, the time may be coming when voters want someone who stands in stark contrast to the old-style rambunctious politician who has strutted on the Jamaican political stage. In my mind, ram goat politics–butting heads and kicking dirt–may be dying, albeit slowly. Of course, there is always room for good, old, down and dirty politics: when all else fails, go for the jugular.

Mr. Shaw and his team are reportedly doing a post-mortem of their defeat at the hands of delegates last Sunday. One thing that is not political, but might have been significant, was the ‘hospitality’ showered on delegates. From what I read, food, drink, tee-shirts, chairs, buses, overnight accommodation, and more, might have been helpful in ‘swaying’ voters, particularly any so-called ‘undecided’ persons. Judging by reports of how fast Mr. Shaw’s voters fled his ‘tent’ after the results were known, it seems that his support went the way of many a meal forgotten once bellies began to feel empty.

One other aspect that might have played in favour of Mr. Holness was his apparent willingness to state beforehand that he has no intention of still being in politics at Mr. Shaw’s age. Whether he pushes the idea of term limits–as some like Mike Henry have–is not so much the issue. He’s made a clear statement that politics is not for life and not his only life. He sees doing public service as a phase. That may put him on a very different plane than many of his political colleagues and we will need to see how, and if, that idea recurs as general elections approach.

Finally, was Mr. Holness perceived as just more wholesome? If so, he may represent something of a new Jamaican political image in keeping with some of the more positive elements of ‘brand Jamaica’. He’s not portraying himself as much of a bad or rude man (or boy). He’s not shied away from ‘accusations’ of being cerebral, though he’s treading a fine line when it comes to whether he’s too smart.

His soft-spokenness might have been associated with weakness in the minds of many voters, but he can point out that his brand of softness has left him as a victor. Could ‘the nerd’ really beat off ‘man a yaad’?

I don’t know if Mr. Holness is a student of Chinese strategist and philosopher, Sun Tzu and ‘The art of war, but some may find it useful to pay attention to some of his views on ‘warfare’. For instance:

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

Hoo-ray for Andrew: no more Ray-Ray?

So, it’s official. Andrew Holness was confirmed in his position as Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) by a special delegates council yesterday, with 2704 delegates voting for him, against 2012 voting for contender, Audley Shaw.Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 7.20.44 PM The contest for leadership is settled. Now, can the party settle itself?

The main contenders were all smiles and handshakes immediately after the results were announced. Mr. Shaw was quick to indicate “I am willing and ready to join with you, to build back the Jamaica Labour Party, to bring back love to the Jamaica Labour Party,”. He also promptly tendered his resignation as Opposition spokesman on finance, so that the leader could have a “free hand” and pick the team he wanted to go forward.

Although talk has moved quickly to the need for unity and healing within the JLP, after what was a bitter, if not bruising contest, it wont be that simple. Senior JLP MP Derrick Smith touched on what the JLP body had suffered: “wounds have been very, very deep” The campaign was full of accusations and counter claims–not really that unusual in politicis, and very normal in Jamaica. However, immediately after the election results, some of Mr. Holness’ supporters (e.g. Everald Warmington) had reportedly been quick yesterday to say the equivalent of “good riddance”, shooing them off the stage at the National Arena, once the results were known. Bringing the love back will not be as easy as sending Valentine’s cards.Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 8.06.45 PM

Mr. Shaw put a brave face on defeat and took to the high road, saying that this was a “great day for democracy in the Jamaica Labour Party.” Mr. Holness also wanted to signal that he thought civics were the winners, saying this was a “victory for democracy within the JLP and the grassroots people of the party.” The party’s democratic processes had been put to the test and appeared to have come through with some degree of success. But, that is only part of the whole battle.

The ultimate challenge is to beat PM Mrs. Portia Simpson-Miller and the People’s National Party (PNP)in the next general election. The PM has just been in Japan on an official visit and was reported to be regaling her hosts about the beating she’d put on Mr. Holness at the last election. That was an odd thing for a nation’s leader to do, but Mrs. PSM knows what sells at home and while the JLP were about to say “Hooray” to their new leader, she was reminding them that the Queen of Ray-Ray was alive, kicking and ready to mash whoever wanted to take her on.

It’s hard to believe that JLP’s unity can be willed by a few words and smiles, and like with real wounds a good amount of time will be needed to heal the rifts that were opened in the past few weeks. But, will they be given that time? Whatever the first order of business today to rebuild a team to take on the PNP in Parliament, the JLP should know that it has to be ready to take on PNP at the polls.Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 8.09.31 PM