Lots of things politicians say and do raise my eyebrows, but few more than when they appear to show they are fallible having spent much time trying to show they are infallible. It’s a common leadership trait that one avoids showing obvious doubt or uncertainty in decision-making, as it’s often taken as a negative trait—indecisiveness-rather than a positive one-good deliberation.
PM Holness has had one of those ‘come into the light’ weeks, and some with sharp eyes, fast fingers, and no fear about sharing their views have noted it and put it out there for others to mull. Gordon Robinson laid it out clearly today when writing ‘“I am not infallible.” Yes, PM. We know. It’s good to find out you know it, too. Hopefully, one day, the Opposition leader will discover the same thing about himself.’ That was a wonderful equal opportunity political take-down if ever there was one:
The other side to this ‘baring of his chest’ is the revelation that “sectoral interests” have pushed the government to make what are now seen as bad decisions about relaxing COVID restrictions from July 1:
‘“I think that after this episode there will have to be a greater balance and understanding that sectoral interest can’t push the Government into decisions that affect the entire society. This is a democracy and this Government, more than anyone, listens to the people,” he told a COVID-19 virtual press briefing at Jamaica House yesterday.
“But, at the same time, we have powerful interests and when the consequences come you can’t find anybody… It wasn’t their fault. They didn’t ask for it. They didn’t play any role in it. They didn’t keep what they use to keep. But, their voice was very loud in asking for, and protesting even, for us to reopen the economy,”’
Is this some sea change to a humbler persona, in general? I’d not jump up clapping that into being, but it’s been evident to some for a while that the PM doesn’t really take criticism well and part of that is understandable as part of a persona of being firm and resolute-which many Jamaicans like. However, dealing with COVID requires many changes to ‘business as usual’ and this softening of stance in trying to build consensus around often difficult and maybe divisive policies is part of it.