An interesting phenomenon has been taking place in Jamaica, recently. It seemed to begin with a focus on polls, and projections of who would be first past the post. But, then the prognostications were put the test and the polls and pollsters were found wanting. However, since we had the change of parties after the recent election, things have started to become much clearer, as the clouds of uncertainty passed. Jamaica, far from just being a murderous place, is a nation seemingly Ps with itself, as this letter has taken prominence. In fact, its pre-eminence was presaged before the voting, when the JLP took its ‘poverty to prosperity’ message to the pavements, and the PNP told us they’d ‘step up the progress’ if they passed the people’s test.
Things took a major turning point, however, when the new government was being sworn in. The new prime minister stood and the podium and poured Ps all over us. He opened by talking about ‘fervent prayers’. He pledged to serve the people faithfully. He said the election was not ‘perfect’ but we could all be ‘proud of the people’. He was humbled by the ‘awesome power’ of the people. He said that his there was no ‘place for pettiness’. He added that we ‘have not won a prize’. He said there was ‘no absolute agency of power’. Then he launched into his piece de resistance with his leading a ‘Partnerships for Prosperity’; driving ‘Partnership with Families’; telling Portia he would be building ‘partnership in Parliament’; prosperity would come from ‘Partnership for Growth with Private Sector’; ‘Partnership with international partners’. The prime minister was primed and he was priming us all. Pump it!
But all these precious words count for little until the government performs on its promises, especially on the pay day for those earning under $1.5 million a year, which is still pending. The new finance minister has told us that he found the piggy bank had been broken and all the pennies spent.
People’s patience is wearing thin, though, because they did not anticipate any postponement of the pay-out in the post-election period. Promptness is what they want.
Precious little time has passed, so it’s not really proper to start throwing like terms like ‘Pinocchio’ around when it comes to electoral promises. However, Peter Phillips is ready to peck and prod at the man to whom he has passed the poisoned chalice.
Meanwhile, the press is having a field day as the government tries to promote a new image of transparency in public affairs.
The PM has moved on from preoccupation with his property and is now ready to be photographed posing prostrate in his pursuit of peace and relaxation. Is this model behaviour by the PM? some ask. Where would our politicians be without social media?
But what of the promised financial declaration? Not delayed because of the Panama Papers, we hope.
But, let’s be fair and give the government a chance to deliver on the many promises it outlined in the Manifesto that should happen within the honeymoon period of 100 days.
On the other side of the page, we know that the Opposition is in no position to throw many stones, or even pebbles. They are getting into the early stages of a reshaping of their party. Names have been thrown into pots…Peter and Peter; and names have been said to be passing over this latest round…Paulwell is pulling for Peter P. They were not able to deliver much concrete in terms of a hub, but they are now trying to stay relevant with the production of hubbub. Will a new prince wear the crown, or is a princess lurking, waiting to be touched by a kiss?
Our political playground is prone to plenty of exaggerated performances, so anything is possible. As we saw, recently, if we play up, play up and play the game, prizes await.