This is the day! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

With sincere apologies to my devout friends who thought that this was going to be about the religiosity of Sundays, it isn’t. But, it may come close to touching on what is clearly a matter of faith for many people.

Today, the PM-PNP President will address a mass (not religious) rally in Half Way Tree, Kingston. Now, for many this is THE day, when the lady, having been ‘touched by her Master’, is expected to announce the date of the next general election. Well, about time! Many put off plans for Christmas waiting for the present that was not delivered of an election before year-end. In the words of another great female PM (Margaret Thatcher), ‘The time [was] not ripe“.

Jamaica has been in the midst of its own election dysfunction for months, and is ready to be touched so that we can release all the pent-up pressure that has come from the titillation of the people. If you weren’t for fixed term elections before, I’m pretty sure that your state of fed-upness is pushing you in that direction, now.

Just to give you and idea of how the silliness of the election on-off frenzy has been, I will tell a short story. Those who know me well, know that I now walk a little Shitzu poodle most days, and practice some golf in the process, but just get only exercise groove on and think while I’m at it. So, after my wife–freshly back from a jaunt to Washington–said she was going to go for a walk, and I asked her to take the dog, and she got out her laptop and went to work on some applications, I took the dog for our regular stroll. I was on the golf course barely a few seconds when a man with a French accent yelled at me: “PNP!” I looked puzzled, and he jogged past me point at me. Oh! The centime dropped: I was wearing my orange trunks–it had rained heavily last night and I was just donning those to deal with the wealth of wet grass. 

I recalled that, leading into December, I had thought long and hard (as befits election dysfunction :)) about my choice of outfit for golf tournaments each week. I did not don the green or orange shirts that would have been ideal. The reason was obvious. But, my orange trunks? And for a foreigner to notice it!

My wife told us over breakfast that we would not be going to church because of the roads being blocked off for the rally. My daughter–all of 12 years old, but sharp as a tack (for which, I blame her parents)–asked if we could not go anywhere else. When I pointed out that it was just roads into and out of Half Way Tree that were affected, she piped up: “Let’s go to the rally, then!” I’m sure she has latched onto the carnival-like atmosphere that passes for electioneering in Jamaica. She probably thought the ‘Mama P’ would be exhorting the people to keep “working, working, working” to the strains of the latest Rihanna hit, ‘Work’.

Anyway, once she got the lesson that ‘it was not that kind of rally’, she went back to her ‘work’ putting songs onto her iPod…

Now, serious people are falling over themselves to see if they can ‘call’ the date of the election. One major paper is touting February 29. Well, lots of odd things happen when you choose the extra day that a Leap Year creates. For instance, what date would you cite in the future to celebrate the victory? Would you only celebrate every four years? Those who have Leap Year birthdays can offer advice on the problems of February 29. But, in the land of the supreme search for the ‘permanent payday’ of a lottery win, maybe 29 is a good number. I know nothing about astrology, but a quick Internet search showed me that ’29’ is NOT auspicious. Notably, the ‘29 Degrees of all signs bring about the ending of events in the life, such as relationships, leaving a place of residence and so forth…’ Oh, dear. Moving boxes… Hmm.

I’m not entering that guessing game. (I’m an economist that is not too much into forecasting.) In all of my 60-odd years, I have never been eligible to vote in Jamaican elections; now that has changed, and I want the full excitement (election destruction theme, still going :)) of casting my ballot and getting the red ink on my finger. (Oh, how I remember the joys of people showing off that digit–Warmington-style, when that was not offensive–to indicate that they had voted.)

I’m fascinated to see, though, how people’s comportment changes, if and when the date is announced. I know many smart people who swear they will not vote. They are ‘Tiyurrrd’, to use the exaggerated phrase of Wally British, and know that politicians need to “get their act together”, otherwise… 

Those who are waiting for social issues to become a major part of the electioneering shenanigans had better check that you are not asymptomatic suffers of Zik-v. It must be the fever that’s affecting your heads. Chicken back, crab back, crab in a barrel, back road, Man-a-yard, Clarks, house on the hill, back-and-forth. That’s what’s on the menu.

Much of the debate will be like the ‘conversations’ dogs have.  (This from my walk.) 

 In the meantime, now that I am back from walking, I will have a chat with the god (I typed ‘dog’ but it was autocorrected…in some fiendishly Freudian way, so I’m leaving it :)) and see which way he thinks it will go. Listen, he’s as good a pollster as any I’ve read or heard, so don’t diss my pooch! 🙂

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. :)