Leading a nation isn’t easy; it’s not a job I’d want. But, it’s also a job that few are forced to do. So, in my little mind, you really have to do the job well or you will go down in flames and in history as an utter failure. Successes are quickly forgotten; enemies easily made. What I find most fascinating about politics in general and political leadership in particular is how the world seen from those elected positions is often at variance with what I see.
Yesterday, I had to pinch myself and wonder if I was not in an alternate reality, like in ‘Man in the high castle’.
Around 2pm, PM Andrew Holness declared, at an impromptu digital press conference at Jamaica House, cautious words about how campaigning should go during the COVID19-affected election campaign on which he has launched the country:
“This means that the political parties must exercise great care and caution and our supporters must understand that we cannot conduct a campaign in the routine normal way, that this campaign is a COVID-19 campaign and that the protocols must and will be strictly observed.”
The ‘now you see me’ moments can be seen here:
Hours later, however, this same PM was seen waving and gesticulating out of the roof of an SUV in a throng of people on Old Hope Road in support of his fellow candidate and cabinet minister, Fayval Williams. I try not to use foul language on social media but it was a WTF moment:
It was hard to contain my state of confusion at what seemed like a ‘now you dont (see me)’ moment:
My horror was obviously shared by those managing the PR for the PM because the tweet was deleted not long after, presumably as the fan whirred and the smell of bovine excrement was whizzing around the offices and people realized that they had just stripped all the clothes off the emperor. It was replaced by something more anodyne:
But, it was not the only ‘road rally’ of the day in the Corporate Area:
Put that into the context of just altering the nation to the worsening situation in the two communities that are in quarantine and must stay there with added restrictions on gatherings and tightening curfew to 7pm-5am, with effect from today. Plus a list of areas in Kingston and St Andrew (part of the Corporate Area) where the number of cases is increasing:
Calling the election was the first step in what could be a risky play as far as public health goes, and between the rock and a hard place of delay or risk a wider spread of the COVID-19 virus the PM has chosen to go now. We won’t know for years how hard a decision that was in Cabinet. However, we can guess that the minister for health and wellness would have steered more towards the line that is closer to ‘protect public health’ now. He’s signalled his caution as far as voting is concerned:
“The public-health position is very clear. Persons who are positive, and we have 200 plus such cases currently, should not be allowed to pose a risk to others on election day or any other time,” Dr. Chris Tufton has said. That’s a Constitutional battlefield on which I would not like to be fighting. The Electoral Commission of Jamaica are clear that people should be allowed to vote, unless legally barred. Those 200+ active cases are but a pin-prick, however, compared to the 28,000 who are in quarantine, and who have not been confirmed COVID-19 positive. Dr. Tufton argues they should be allowed to vote.