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Andrew Holness can't touch Warmington!

Mark WIGNALL

Thursday, January 16, 2014    

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Someone close to Warmington should have given him a warm mug of cinnamon and nutmeg-spiced cocoa the night before, with a hefty slice of hard dough bread to dunk in it. The singing of a lullaby and a kiss on the cheek should let him slip off into never-never land.

But, one suspects that even if he was fortunate to have had such a tender send-off into sleep, it would not have mattered, because his present utterances are reflective of the destructive evolution of Jamaican politics which is disappearing more in words than in reality.

If the general public is Mr Warmington's mirror it doesn't seem that he is bothered by the reflection as much as he is taken up by the echoes of what spews forth from his mouth. Said last Sunday at a Jamaica Labour Part (JLP) constituency meeting in South Central St Catherine on the same platform as JLP party leader and Leader of the Opposition were the following words,

"If you don't vote; you don't count. And at this stage if a person walk in the office and sey 'Boss, mi a Labourite', and when I check the computer, you didn't vote, I nah deal wid you. If you don't vote, you don't count, and you can't ask for government benefits when you refuse to participate in the governance of your country. I don't know how others perform, how others work, but in South West St Catherine dem have to vote to talk to me, nuh care how you sick and need it, nuh care how the old lady on the crutch; you didn't vote without an excuse, you don't talk to this member of Parliament. You talk to me when you want to, when the time come when you should have spoken, you should have gone to that polling station to vote."

Did he plan the night before to say those words or did they just spill out from that poorly lit side of his political brain?

It seems that Mr Warmington has never risen above the level where his constituents are anything other than children to be seen needing direction with a leather belt hovering. Or is it something else?

Locate his words in 18th century Jamaica, tweak the narrative to suit the directives of the time, bequeath to Mr Warmington the power to change his skin colour, give him the status of holder of the great house and it could well be the harsh orders coming from the space between the great house and the sugar plantation in the days of slavery.

One perverse and — certainly to me — very misunderstood irony is that after Warmington spilled that pot of bile on the very stage where party leader Andrew Holness sat, the Opposition Leader gave a speech where he stressed that Jamaica can be better than it is.

By the silence from the JLP leader, and the deliberate stepping away from addressing Warmington's highly offensive words, it seems obvious that Mr Holness does not appreciate the correlation between the quality of a country's leadership and the country's economic success.

Somehow, to him, both can travel the road but, in different directions. How does that work?

The disturbing tone of Mr Warmington's speech also indicates another important disconnect in his understanding of the right of the constituent to not vote, and the validity behind remaining on the outside of the electorate. It also points to the possibility of Mr Warmington seeing someone much worse than not voting. Someone who voted for the PNP!

We know, of course, that in the recent past, it seems that Mr Holness is too concerned with building a power base of loyalists inside a bloc of the JLP to risk any disciplinary action against Warmington, one of his main loyalists.

In plain language, when it comes to how Andrew Holness must view Mr Warmington, the main understanding must be. 'Can't touch this!'

One sad consideration of the continued crudity of the words from the South West St Catherine MP is that it may not be so much a reflection of how far we've strayed from developing the human potential in this country as it is an accurate picture of our true selves.

If you think of it, one can easily visualise Warmington, his head wrapped in a black, silky looking cloth, 'gangsta' sunshades on, staff in hand at Sting, and upstaging that infamous and sad clash between Lady Saw and Macka Diamond.

That too many sensible people in Jamaica who I spoke with were of the opinion that denigrating clashes of that type should be left untouched by criticism because it has a place in our 'culture' told me that Mr Warmington may be much more to us than what we desperately need to run away from.

I congratulate West Portland JLP MP, Daryl Vaz for being unafraid to face the issue and saying upfront that Warmington's outburst has no place in a modern JLP, and that people have valid reasons and the constitutional right not to vote.

But, not all JLP MPs were in the mood to go public with their views, as they fear it would affect the still unsettled condition of the party left over from the leadership race late last year.

One said on Wednesday morning: "I have to ask myself if it doesn't bother the party leader. Warmington is being rewarded for his continued outbursts out of parliament and as the new House whip. He continues to damage the party, and no one expects better from him. But, the leader doesn't have the cojones to deal with him. He definitely is not my whip."

When party leader Andrew Holness said on the very stage, a few minutes after Warmington spoke, that the JLP "...will immediately implement programmes to ensure short-term economic growth and begin work to make Jamaica a society with fewer murders and one in which everyone has access to quality education," one assumed that, in a far off past, young Everald Warmington must have had a primary schoolteacher trying against all odds to impart to him some basic social graces.

"There is hope," said JLP party leader Andrew Holness. "Jamaica can be better than it is."

Damn right, Mr Holness, but first you must deal with the elephant in your own room. You, Mr Holness, cannot attempt to be that transformative change agent while a very vocal part of the entity you lead continues to insist that he is comfortable with mud politics. But, then again, you wouldn't dare to touch Mr Warmington.

observemark@gmail.com

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