The PNP's virtual monopoly on political power
The Jamaican electorate has left no doubt that, at least for the next five years, it wants the People's National Party (PNP) to run this country.
After giving the PNP a 42-21 seat victory over the Jamaica Labour Party ((JLP) in the December 29, 2011 General Election, the voters have again signalled their unmistakeable desire to have the PNP at the helm of Local Government as well, by handing it 12 of the 13 parish councils, including the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC). That translated into 149 divisons to the PNP and 77 to the JLP, with two to Independents.
Significantly, as well, the Portmore Municipal Council went back to the PNP, and its candidate, Mr George Lee, seized the job of mayor after losing his historic first hold on the post in 2007.
One can argue that all this represents a virtual PNP monopoly on political power. And Mrs Portia Simpson Miller's party is to be heartily congratulated for overwhelmingly winning the confidence of the Jamaican electorate.
Having said that, however, we recognise that it also represents an awesome burden on the PNP Government to meet the wide range of expectations of the people, as well as to improve and deepen the quality of governance.
Times are hard, and from all indications they will get harder before getting better. The debt which hangs like a thousand machetes over our heads has ensured that very little can be done by way of social relief. At the same time, the very high level of joblessness is feeding the growth in crime, the very last place where anyone wants to see growth.
Certainly in terms of the expectations, it behoves the Simpson Miller Administration to agree among its Cabinet what can realistically be done and to level with the populace as soon as possible. The time for empty promises is over.
The administration should be able to craft a list of the priorities around which it should engage the nation. This should go in tandem with the new loan pact being agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), so that Jamaicans will know what to expect and, hopefully, buy into.
It is also our hope that the JLP will not spend an inordinately long time licking its wounds. Jamaica's democracy demands that the party regroups, reviews and renews itself, and be ready to offer a credible alternative if, and when, the electorate should call.
Being in Opposition is an excellent opportunity to work through the shortcomings that led to defeat. It is not a time to wallow in self-pity. Despite the trouncing it received at both the national and local government levels, the JLP represents the other half of the two great political movements that have shared power in Jamaica since Adult Suffrage in 1944.
The self-searching process may be painful, but it is absolutely necessary, and the sooner the party gets it underway, the better.
We hasten to make the point that it is not all doom and gloom for our country. We have often proven that the Jamaican people are resilient, multi-talented and audacious in the face of challenges. When all seems lost, we act. In the worst of times we can find the best of times.
We wish the PNP a very sucessful term in office, not so much for the party, as for the sake of the country.