This cult-like following of Michael Manley

Letters to the Editor

This cult-like following of Michael Manley

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

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Dear Editor,

A cult is defined as veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure. A cult can also be defined as a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person. The David Koreshes of the world come to mind.

The devotion and excessive admiration of Michael Manley by those who, despite the readily available evidence, continue to defend his 'legacy' by definition are members of a Michael Manley cult.

Many of the die-hard followers of Michael Manley are my age, and we are dying out, so eventually the cult of Michael Manley will gradually cease to exist.

As a former drinker of the Michael Manley Kool-Aid I understand the reasons some refuse to acknowledge and accept the reality of what Michael Manley's term in office did to Jamaica.

Manley had a charisma that was hard to resist. Combine that with his ability at oratory and a genuine concern for the people of Jamaica and he became irresistible to most of us alive at the time. Eventually, enough of us came to our senses in 1980 and removed him from office.

I do not have space here to outline the many downsides of Manley's time in office; that would take many, many pages. Suffice it to say that it was the worst experience of my lifetime. The upsides? Some social legislation and respect on the international stage for his support of the non-aligned movement.

We could have achieved most of the few good things Manley achieved without the social and economic dislocation and upheaval that occurred during his first two terms in office. Manley himself admitted that he underestimated the reaction that would occur when he embraced socialism, supported Cuba, and strengthened his ties with the Soviet Union. I do not have a degree in political science or international relations, but even I saw that embracing those countries and spouting socialism, democratic or otherwise, at the height of the Cold War was suicide.

Jamaica needs to let Michael Manley rest in peace.

Raymond D Grant

Canadian/Jamaican 'refugee' from Michael Manley

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