President of United Independents’ Congress pushes for new political system
ACCOUNTANT Joseph Patterson says he does not consider himself a political messiah, but that he has thrown his hat into the ring to help the electors of St Elizabeth North Eastern save themselves from a tribal political system that has served only to keep power in the hands of politicians, with too little benefit to the people.
The 44-year-old, who until a few days ago was an unknown to Jamaicans, insisted that he is not here to offer the people more of the same. "I will not be a handout politician. You can count on me for strong representation. I’m not interested in handouts; I am interested in helping each constituent find productive means by which to earn and pay for the things that they want," he told yesterday’s
Jamaica Observer’s Monday Exchange at the newspaper’s head office in Kingston.
Patterson believes the electorate has not been given a fair chance to choose wisely. "We assume that the people cannot be reasoned with. In my experience, many of them have come my way because of reason. I think Jamaicans can be reasoned with. We assume the worst, and therefore we get the worst," he stated.
Reminded of the consequences faced by some politicians when they attempt to change that status quo, Patterson quipped, "The mistake that Mr (Damion) Crawford made was to join the problem. What we are doing is working with the people. I talk to (both) JLP, PNP (constituents), and I educate them on what the problem is."
According to the charismatic businessman, already the people of St Elizabeth North Eastern have responded favourably to him and his party — the United Independents’ Congress (UIC). "A large segment of People’s National Party voters are in [my] corner, as are a small percentage of Jamaica Labour Party supporters," he said.
He added: "And a large percentage of those who did not vote in the last general election [in 2011] will be behind my candidacy. my plan is to do exactly what we have been doing — explaining to the people that what they have done for 53 years has failed them and we have to do something completely different. We need a leader who is going to focus on helping them become productive to help themselves."
Patterson lamented that at the heart of the country’s problems is the issue of bad governance. "That stems from the system of governance that we have [that is] prone to corruption because of its very design, not because the people who go in are bad. The system turns them into bad people.
"It’s like a company. If I have poor checks and balances, then it’s prone to fraudulent activity, but if I have strong controls, even though somebody might be a thief generally, he might be more inclined to be careful. But if my system concentrates too much power into certain individuals, then they will use that opportunity to become corrupt. We have to move away from just fighting political ideologies to creating a system of governance that will make any bad politician do what is right. Jamaica is a failure today because we have a weak system of governance," he asserted.
He emphasised that the UIC’s goal is not to become a rigid political party. "We are not trying to become a third tribe," he remarked, further arguing that there is no validity to the perception that voting for a third party is a wasted ballot. "The only vote that is wasted is one where the person makes a mindless decision to vote. If you want a new Jamaica, a Jamaica that is not divided along party lines, but is united to achieve economic independence, then you will want to vote for an independent from the UIC of Jamaica," Patterson said.