Editorial

Putting our JLP, PNP houses in order

Monday, November 19, 2012    

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THERE are those who consistently downplay and, indeed, denigrate the role of our two major political parties in the development of modern Jamaica.

This newspaper contends that despite their many faults, the People's National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) have played positive and pivotal roles in the drive to political independence in 1962 and in the evolution of our society since then.

In other words, in throwing out the bathwater, let us not throw out the baby, in this case the political parties, with it. Even cursory research will show that the major political parties have nurtured our democracy and given birth to many critical institutions that have taken us through the colonial and post-colonial stresses and strains.

Warts and all, we are still a vibrant nation for whom the world has been the richer. And to the political parties belong much of the credit.

Also, whatever we may have to say about them, it is obvious from the failure of 'third parties' to make an impression in Jamaican politics that the good health of the two major political parties remains an absolute imperative. Hence, the alarm at news of 'turmoil' within the opposition JLP, following a court injunction which had sought to block reinstatement of three of its four deputy leaders on the eve of today's annual conference.

In that respect, well-thinking Jamaicans will be breathing easier after Mr Everald Warmington reportedly withdrew the court injunction and allayed the threatening crisis.

Jamaica's economic and social problems are such that we need to make sure that there is always a viable alternative to the existing governing party.

The JLP must not fall into disarray as it did for much of the 1990s and early 2000s. As Dr Chris Tufton, one of the three returning deputy leaders, said, if the party in its own internal organisation is unable to set "a good example of leadership and good governance" it can hardly expect Jamaicans to consider it a "viable option".

As an adjunct, the party must take note of the shortcomings which provided fertile ground for the court injunction in the first place.

Highly respected veteran politician, deputy leader Mr Audley Shaw, who, like Dr Tufton and Mr Desmond McKenzie, was targeted by the court injunction, tells us of serious constitutional breaches at all levels.

"If you're looking for breaches of the constitution they're all over the place, and the breaches affect every leadership position in the party at the national and the constituency levels," Mr Shaw is quoted as saying.

We can only agree with him that the JLP needs to commit itself as a party to correct such inadequacies and anomalies.

The ruling PNP should also take note of the situation and make sure its internal organisation is as it should be.

Political parties should not expect to take charge of the affairs of the country when their own houses are untidy and shaky.

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