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Damning subtext, Cananapo!

Saturday, July 27, 2013    

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Dear Editor,

The late American comedian, George Carlin, spoke about how public figures handle a PR crisis. He alluded to their penchant to comment, "I just wanna put this thing behind me and get on with my life." As Carlin poked fun at their use of this crutch, his line was: "I just wanna put this 'I just wanna put this thing behind me and get on with my life' thing behind me and get on with my life!

I remembered this on last Sunday nightas I watched the reaction on Twitter to the rather crass tweet from Dayton Campbell in reference to the Miss Jamaica World finalist. He later tweeted two apologies and subsequently deleted the offensive tweet. I could not help but think that this would fast become a scenario he would wish were behind him.

The responses have been many and varied. I, along with others, reacted with calls for a proper apology. Others went further, touching on the veneer of misogyny; an ineptitude to handle social media, etc.

What I would like to bring to the fore, however, are two things: First, the uncomplimentary allegorical statement, making a reference to the economy of Jamaica through his opinion of her body, carried with it a damning subtext. Dr Dayton Campbell is saying that the Jamaican economy is not in a good shape. A tongue-in-cheek question at this juncture would be, "So, tell us how you really feel, Dr Campbell. Don't hold back." In one moment, because he was "vex", he expressed a sentiment that betrayed the way he really feels about the economy.

What I would like to bring to the fore, however, are two things: First, the uncomplimentary allegorical statement, making a reference to the economy of Jamaica through his opinion of her body, carried with it a damning subtext. Dr Dayton Campbell is saying that the Jamaican economy is not in a good shape. A tongue-in-cheek question at this juncture would be, "So, tell us how you really feel, Dr Campbell. Don't hold back." In one moment, because he was "vex", he expressed a sentiment that betrayed the way he really feels about the economy.

This leads me to the second point. Campbell is a representative of the People's National Party which forms the government. His...Own...Party. He made this disparaging comment about the state of the Jamaican economy, being run by the Government of which he is a part. He has rendered a most harsh criticism of the Government and the way the Administration is running the country, and everything is alright? A nuh nutten?

It is inconceivable that in countries that we look to as better examples where governance is concerned, his standing with the party and government would not be rescinded the day after - if not later that night. But, as my grandmother used to say, "Cananapo!" Not a word.

There were Jamaicans on Twitter who seemed of the opinion that extending the brush from Dr Campbell to the People's National Party/Government, was politicising the issue and bordering on being self-righteous. I imagine that if we can hear a blatantly harsh criticism of their Administration from one of their own -- on a global platform, to boot -- and do not have a problem with the silence from the party's leaders/Government about this matter, then, Houston... we have a problem.

Have we become so comfortable with this, this thing that passes as respectable leadership and good governance in Jamaica? A nuh nutten a kill wi; our apathy is like a millstone around our necks.

Claudia W

Toronto, Canada

cyopro@yahoo.com

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