Let’s keep the standards
The Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) leadership race is really heating up with the camps of Andrew Holness, the present leader of the party and Audley Shaw, the deputy leader, on the road campaigning day and night to win the hearts and minds of the over 5,000 delegates who will ultimately decide their future on November 10.
As can be expected, the two are trading barbs at regular intervals, leading to an almost constant presence in the media. Press releases issued thus far have been numerous and news organisations are sometimes struggling to keep pace with the many meetings and these releases.
We embrace the fact that a leadership race is indeed taking place in the JLP. It demonstrates some amount openness and democracy in the party. It worked well for the People’s National Party and if handled properly, we believe, will do the same for the JLP.
What we are not at all enamoured about is the verbal vitriol and bile emanating from the Holness side and the Shaw side. We fully understand that the campaign is going to be robust and especially when on the platform, there will be some amount of cross gibing.
Nothing is wrong with that – all part and parcel of political campaigning. We however, believe that an eerie trend of open sniping and denigration is developing, where both sides are not afraid of ‘cussing’ one another is a distasteful manner.
As chairman of the JLP, Robert Montague said at a meeting over the weekend, what Labourites say now if not tempered is going to hurt the party in the future.
In addition to protecting the interest of their party, they must understand that the Jamaican people are sick and tired of the ‘cass cass’ and are yearning to have a structured campaign based on worthwhile action plans, embedded with solid facts and figures. It cannot be the same old every time they speak in public.
Yes, there must be the saucy one-liners, the comic quips and even some taunting, what the heck, this is politics. But the mudslinging, the accusations and the insults are not prescriptions for building a party so often mauled at the polls by their opponent. Surely, Mr Holness and Mr Shaw understand this truth.