A few weeks ago, in this space, we commented that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) had so far managed fairly well the campaigns of both incumbent party leader Mr Andrew Holness and his challenger Mr Audley Shaw.
We had also hoped that the individuals responsible for managing the contest would ensure that malice, vitriol and bile were kept to a minimum, because we are under no illusion that politics is any Sunday school stroll.
Of course, we acknowledge that during any political campaign there will be some amount of gimmickry, gibe and critique hurled from the platform.
However, the light side of the hustings should not overshadow the seriousness of the event. For what is at stake is power -- power to make decisions that will affect the lives of millions of people; power to determine Jamaica's acceptance and role in the international community.
That thirst for power, however, can drive human beings to irrational behaviour, as we have seen, regrettably, from both platforms in the JLP leadership race in recent weeks.
We have already commented on the eviction of Councillor Susan Senior from Mr Karl Samuda's office simply because she has chosen to support Mr Shaw's bid for the leadership, in contradiction to the position of Mr Samuda who is with Mr Holness..
Then there was Mr Everald Warmington who loudly proclaimed that one councillor in his constituency who does not support Mr Holness would not be allowed to contest the next local government election.
In both instances, the Holness camp was roundly and correctly criticised by Mr Shaw's team. But no sooner had the Shaw camp slapped the Holness team, than Mr Rudyard Spencer set about inflaming passions even more with a few comments that we found uncharacteristic.
Mr Spencer himself should not have been surprised at the response to his declaration that his delegates will not be contaminated by other delegates from Clarendon attending the party's November 10 annual conference.
His colleague, Mr Pearnel Charles, who supports Mr Holness, described the comment as "highly offensive". Mr Charles, of course, was correct and it is to Mr Spencer's credit that he issued an apology.
While we found Mr Spencer's statement -- at that same JLP meeting in Palmer's Cross, Clarendon -- that securing a prime minister's pension was a reason for delegates to elect Mr Shaw very strange, we were even more puzzled by his suggestion that most people in the Labour Party would be bankrupt by the time Mr Holness is able to win another general election.
Mr Spencer, we believe, needs to explain clearly what he meant. For it appears that his concern is rooted in preservation of self and party over the welfare of the country.
Jamaica has experienced too much of that for us to condone any such intention going forward.