Sunday Brew — October 25, 2020

Sunday Brew — October 25, 2020

with HG HELPS
Editor-at-Large
helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 25, 2020

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A feeble attempt to muzzle

THEY have all tried their thing from time to time. The mission: to muzzle the media and silence practitioners who see things differently from what's in front of their eyes.

Calls and messages came my way last week that an individual who considers himself important to the running of this country's business affairs, and who is said to be close to sport, was preparing to report me to “highest authority” at the Jamaica Observer, for showing “bias” in the fight for the presidency of the People's National Party.

Supposedly, I am pushing the agenda of Mark Golding over the other competitor, one Lisa Hanna.

I will say one simple thing to the gentleman: Do what you have to do. I have no axe to grind for Mark Golding.

I have sat with him three times – never one-on-one – and every time that we have dialogue I become more and more convinced that in this present situation of the tussle to have a PNP proper fit, he is without question the better of the two combatants that the party has.

In effect, even if I am found guilty of bias towards him, it would be in an attempt to save this country from further political disaster at the level of the leadership of the Opposition party, which must come good this time if the Government is to be kept on the alert – something that any good Opposition and its leader should strive for.

I do not have to go into the details of Hanna's stewardship at the Ministry of Youth and Culture when she was minister. Just ask the record number of people who left, some in disgust, some forced out, between 2011 and 2016.

Ask too, the people of St Ann South Eastern why they voted the way they did in the September 3 General Election, saw history being created with the first magisterial recount in the seat since 1944, and witnessed the lowest margin of victory ever recorded by a PNP candidate, which itself is a defeat. I am not interested in the many hastily crafted excuses from desperate members of Hanna's camp, either.

If, as is being pushed, the PNP suffered badly because of the national swing towards the Jamaica Labour Party, then how come people like Angela Brown Burke, Phillip Paulwell, and Golding still managed to win so handsomely? Excuses cannot run a country. The PNP must decide if it wants someone who can heal wounds, surgically remove hate, implant love into and respect for its people; or a woman who will no doubt continue to walk with band aids and prolong its division.

Since when does skin colour matter?

JAMAICA'S history of colour and class discrimination is well documented. Some of the structural remnants of slavery even still exist but the nation has become more mature, certainly over the last two decades.

So enter the latest talk about the colour of Mark Golding's skin, and why a 'black' person should lead Jamaica. Well, I'm not sure how black is black, but what does the colour of a man's skin have to do with anything?

Slavery is a non-issue, and if you look around, many of the acts of oppression being carried out now against our people are by people of dark pigmentation.

If we were to follow that cheap talk about discrediting people of fairer pigmentation where would the Jamaican economy be now? Put Golding aside, should the work of people like Karl Samuda, Audley Shaw, 'Butch' Stewart, Michael Manley, Eddie Seaga, Mike Henry, Carlton Alexander, Adam Stewart, Edna Manley, Father Hugh Sherlock, and Joe Bogdanovich for example, be discredited, all because their skin colour is, or was not the shade of that of a majority of Jamaicans?

My father's lineage points to a city in Scotland named Glasgow. He eventually linked up with a woman of Ghanaian/Jamaican background to flourish in the practice of reproduction. Although I am called 'Brown Man' or even 'Browning' sometimes I do not even remember how my skin looks…it is not at all important.

Has Buju gone mad?

AT a time when you need people to act as role models for the society comes an absolutely ridiculous video, purportedly put out and sanctioned by international artiste Buju Banton, urging people not to wear masks in public.

Gosh! This is not something that a country like Jamaica wanted to hear and see. I hope that the people who love Buju so much will ignore him, although it might be difficult to. How could it have happened? All the medical reports and surveys suggest that wearing masks will better protect people from catching the coronavirus which has altered progress globally like nothing else in the modern era.

Yet, an influential artiste comes along and conveys to the public that all of that is a bundle of nonsense. This is like Buju telling people to stand in the middle of the PJ Patterson Highway and US dollars will fall from the sky onto their heads.

Maybe it is right for Buju to tell the people of the world too, that to associate one's self with the brutal drug, cocaine, is the right thing. This is a man who was convicted and imprisoned in the United States for his link to the drug, yet he comes now to present himself as an authority on masks at a time when more Jamaicans are contracting the virus, and dying from it, largely because they do not adhere to basic protocols suggested by health authorities. Buju is telling people to get on a road that is not easy. As the 'driva' of reggae music, he should know better.

Others deserve to be national heroes

WE have grown accustomed to having national heroes, and one heroine, with a strong political flavour.

Although Jamaica has excelled in sport and music there is not one national hero representing the two although, as far as I am concerned, some have done more for Jamaica than most of those named.

The heartbeat of Jamaica is business. Which businessman has ever been named a national hero?.

You hear the list all the time, of those people think should be national heroes, which includes Michael Manley and Edward Seaga, both former prime ministers, and they deserve to be so considered.

But let's look at sport and music for now. Do Usain Bolt and Bob Marley not deserve to be national heroes?

Marley is holder of Jamaica's third-highest honour – the Order of Merit – and since he does not qualify for the second, Order of the Nation, which is reserved for governors general, what's to prevent him from being named national hero?

Marley is legendary and there is no need to go over all his achievements. And does someone wish to argue with me about the qualifications of Bolt – the greatest athlete of all time? Any other country would have named him national hero. Curiously, last week one Merlene Ottey was given the Order of Jamaica, like Bolt. Should we then accept as fact that Ottey's contribution to Jamaican athletics is equal to Bolt's?

Somehow, this country is afraid to name more deserving national heroes. I heard sometime ago that in Marley's case, there was a problem with his embracing ganja. But watch ya now, if you go through the list of national heroes most of them had convictions, albeit governance was different at the time. Marley has no conviction recorded against his name. Next October, let us see the names of Manley, Seaga, Bolt, and Marley all displayed boldly as national heroes.


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