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Shane Alexis is more sinned against than sinning

Franklin Johnston

Friday, October 20, 2017

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The service cost of attaining a Jamaican passport is “next day $11,500”, “three-day $9,500”, or “regular $6,500” — no big thing.

Shane Alexis did not write the constitution, and if Edward Philip George Seaga tells me he falls outside its intent, I believe him, as he was there.

There is reciprocity in the Commonwealth (formed 1949), so we vote, hold office in Canada, and vice versa. We freely signed in 1962, and may freely exit.

Daryl Vaz was American and thus was considered 'alien'. The constitution was not written with spite.

Shane Alexis is a legal candidate for the St Mary South Eastern by-election. He fits my profile: qualified, 10 years' experience, respected by peers (doctors chose him to lead), not hungry, not rich, has energy and a clean heart. We see him work for people; so support him, or the next youth to get bullied may be yours.

I do not usually deal with individual candidates, but if we allow 'hardbacks' to scare the youth, people like Shane will migrate — we lose. Dr Dunn seems okay, but fears debate. Though rivals, I hope they are friends and oust almshouse ruffians.

I am not clever enough to understand how Daryl Vaz is poster boy for 'morality', but Godspeed, and get on political bushing. Courthouse should have taught him an American passport is not a Commonwealth one; where once we moved freely, but lost trust; yet, we go to Canada, UK; vote, get elected. If you want to change the constitution, do it, but until then don't let 'bad-mind' cramp remittances or our Diaspora. Commonwealth reciprocity helps us more than it helps Canada, so get real, or get lost!

Listen to this parable, my friend:

“A man was on a journey to London when he was called by a chief to the big house. While in the foyer some recognised him and nodded, but a coarse ruffian who he knew (his dad and sibling too) before his elevation, diss'd him. He said nothing, as this is the nation's house and should welcome all colours or none. The ruffian did not know the chief, who is into results, not colour, had asked this scorned man to strategise seven in five for the nation. Who then is the moron?” Selah.

Commonwealth Trinis, Nigerians, Canadians, Bajans are active in our politics, but not front line. I voted in Canada, many times in UK, campaigned, declined nomination for office (busy schedule) on a Jamaican passport. It is scanned at Heathrow; police, credit, electronically adjudicated; yes, I am Commonwealth. America also knows me well, but to them I am alien; can't vote or run for office. The Commonwealth is in our constitution, America is not, “Den change it den nuh, bad man?”

Our Diaspora is at risk, so Prime Minister Andrew Holness must reassure we will not JAMEXIT the Commonwealth. We vote, had mayor, councillor, Member of Parliament in Canada, UK; and our Diaspora wants to vote here — “Wat a prekeh!” Our own Dianne Abbott is shadow minister in the UK, and if Shane is cramped can there be a Rosemary Brown of Kingston, the first black MP in Canada again?

Shane could have got a passport, but under patient and union pressure, did something give? I got a “next day” in 2013 as I had urgent travel on ministry business, but most people don't have or need one as it's a costly ID; they use driver's permit.

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) comes off terrified of Shane and would prefer a Bobby to run with a Russian passport on his forehead. America is friend, but foreign in our constitution; so we go to a “Aliens” line, but the UK has a “Commonwealth Passports” sign. We can't go to Privy Council or petition The Queen if USA offend us, and we have no standing in Congress.

Shane's baby breath was exhaled in a loud bawl — instant Canadian and Jamaican!

This flame lit by Vaz may have consequences. Do not let the JLP imperil Diaspora or Canada relations as they save us from the consequences of our incompetence by taking educated and semi-literates over decades. We need Canada; “Nutten nah gwaan ya so!”

We were all British in 1961, but in 1962 Dad chose Jamaica; Uncle Rupert chose to remain British. Both are patriots, but Rupie never had to tighten his belt. Commonwealth dual citizens (some have three) are here to stay to get health care abroad — as politicians do on our taxes.

In some Caricom states you can buy passports. Do our noisemakers care? After BREXIT, Commonwealth stock will soar as Britain will be the richest of 52 states in a market five times the European Union, so “don't cry for me Argentina!” Single market? “Yuh tink seh we dun?”

Shane's passport says “Canada”, and I want a big “Jamaica” on mine, not “CC”. Immigration tore off the duct tape I put over the “CC”, so I asked: “Is Usain Bolt from 'CC' or Jamaica?”

We must work on passport, citizenship, Diaspora, vote, and Member of Parliament 'bizniz'. Peeps say a Chinese man who bought citizenship in Antigua may run here in 2020 and team with Shane to build a road — Gordon Town to Hope Bay via a Blue Mountain tunnel (35 minutes) — and create jobs for two decades. Shane is one of us, and has friends; no big house, land or criss new SUV; clean sheet!

We served on a board and I saw his spirit and integrity. One day he might say, “People, I am not rich, but speak Spanish, so let's form South East Tourism Cooperative to get a Tourism Enhancement Fund loan, build a boat in Annotto Bay; get a crew from Fritz Pinnock of Caribbean Maritime University, sail to Dominican Republic — a rich land closer to us than Kingston — and bring 85 tourists a week to enjoy St Mary food and fun. You get National Housing Trust to add an Airbnb room to your house so we all share the bounty. Later we buy a bigger boat!”

Shane could be your son or brother, so give him an opportunity as 'South East' may like him — worker, healer, innovator, has no scores to settle. Stay conscious!

Franklin Johnston, D Phil (Oxon), is a strategist and project manager. Send comments to the Observer or franklinjohnstontoo@gmail.com.

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