As a JLP diehard who enjoys "Man a Yard" as my main act at Conference and party rallies, I am bereft of conclusive reasons that qualify him to be party leader. The bright, young affiliate Turks, who undoubtedly are eyeing the potential bone from their investment in this race are at a deficit in supplying adequate reasons for supporting Shaw beyond the frenetic, 'Andrew can't whip up a crowd! Him caan cuss off di PNP dem!'. Surely there ought to be more solid reasons to qualify for leadership, and if this is the posture of the bright minds of our country, then we are in a dismal way. Consider this syllogism:
A good leader must be able to whip up an audience.
Audley Shaw can whip up any audience. Therefore, Audley Shaw will be a good leader.
Consider the second syllogism:
The JLP will win the next election if they have a 'hype' leader.
Audley Shaw is full of 'hype and vibes'. Therefore, the JLP will win the next election.
Absolutely ridiculous. Both premises are faulty, therefore the conclusion must be incorrect.
Everyday is not campaign day. The leader will not only represent the party but ultimately the entire society. We need to move beyond the stage show style of leadership and subscribe to depth of character and content and a focus on tackling hard-core issues. We are too easily distracted by noise; it is too easy for us to get caught up in the latest dance moves while our economy suffers.
Talk to us about Mr Shaw's track record in his constituency. Talk about Mr Shaw's ability to engage all -- even the PNP -- in a civil manner. Talk about Mr Shaw as a team player. Prior to his challenge, he said that he would not be seeking re-election. Are we to understand that it is all or nothing; if he is not leader he will walk?
Talk about how Mr Shaw is perceived by his colleagues for the top job. Talk about how Mr Shaw handles in-house party duties, is he the type who 'arrives late and leaves early'? Talk about how the wider Jamaican society perceives Audley Shaw. Do they see in him a PM?
Tell us, beyond his exuberant style, what qualifies Mr Shaw more than the incumbent Andrew Holness for leadership. It is not adequate to supply that Mr Shaw does excellently in finance therefore he will be a good leader -- another catastrophic syllogism! )
Do you remember the nightmarish chant by the PNP, 'call it Andrew call it'? It is rumoured that the same PNP would prefer an Audley Shaw as leader of the JLP, and may even spend heavily to support his bid. If this is true, we wonder why.
Andrew Holness may not jump, shout nor prance about, however his committment to aligning the JLP toward victory and positioning Jamaica for growth is beyond speculation. He is a resolute leader whose style embraces engagement.
We are tired of the "slapstick" politics. No wonder the youths and the middle classes are so apathetic to the process. So, if the 'wheel and come again selector' mode of leadership is the branding of Shaw's quest, we are not interested. That is the very thing that we are shunning in this new dispensation.
Until the Shaw camp can offer more granite reasons, Holness continues to be the best option. A benefit of teamwork is that a variety of skills are available from different persons. Whoever has the shouting and tracing gift can be called on to use it when necessary. With Holness as a stable, honest, hard-working leader, Shaw can compliment the team with his 'versatility' when needed. He doesn't have to be leader to do good work.