There is no leadership challenge at any level in Jamaica — including for Sunday School superintendent — that is without rancour or verbal bloodletting.
The current brouhaha within the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) can come as no surprise to political watchers and it is likely to get worse before it gets better. Notice, for example, that Mr Audley Shaw has not yet formally thrown his hat in the ring, and says he wants another two weeks to decide, but the long knives are already drawn. It could be bangarang big time if and when he eventually does so.
We should score a point for JLP Leader Mr Andrew Holness for quickly taking Miss Olivia 'Babsy' Grange and Mrs Joan Gordon-Webley by the scruff of the neck and bringing them to the peace table. These are two ladies who seem ready for a scrap at the drop of a hat.
Even so, Mr Holness is not entirely without blame, and he is only cleaning up his own mess. He started things off on the wrong foot by lashing out the minute word got out that a challenge to his leadership was on the cards, declaring any potential challenger to be against the interest of the party.
He subsequently backtracked, but it was already too late for Ms Grange, Mrs Gordon-Webley and the rowdy crowd led by Councillor Rosalee Hamilton to the party headquarters at Belmont Road, Kingston, on Monday.
The honest ones in the JLP have admitted that the party has a history of being fractious when it comes to leadership elections. The ruling People's National Party had a better record of changing leaders without tearing the organisation asunder.
But even that record has been irrevocably soiled by the down and dirty fight to select Mr P J Patterson's successor. Still, it says something for the party that it could come back together quickly enough to run as a unified team and win the 2011 General Election.
The JLP is still trying to get used to the practice of electing a new leader without damaging the party. Mr Holness' initial outburst against a challenger is an example of the difficulty members of the JLP have on that score. Of course, he still appears unsure of whether he wants to be a transformational leader or an old-time politician.
Mr Shaw can help the process by making up his mind immediately and scrapping this nonsensical business of having a consultation team that only makes him look as if he is not sure he wants to lead. Playing it safe is not what true leaders do. He certainly has the credentials, so what is he waiting for?
We hope that the JLP will be able to find a challenger to Mr Holness and that the party will have a change process that avoids the scorched earth outcome of the past. It would be good for the party to allow its delegates to be part of that democratic process and demonstrate to the Jamaican electorate that it is truly a government-in-waiting.