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Sunday Brew — August 18, 2019

Sunday, August 18, 2019

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Some dangers of this PNP presidential race

No one can say that events leading into the Opposition People's National Party's next annual conference have not been quite colourful, full of statistics, and in some instances, packed with mystique.

On Saturday, September 7 though, the elder statesman, Dr Peter Phillips, and emerging light Peter Bunting will see a major adjustment to their political future.

Both are vying to become president of the party that once touted socialism, but only refers to that political system when it suits some to do so. Consistent though, it has been, with reference to its members and supporters as 'Comrades' – a word reserved for members of a socialist or communist party.

Dr Phillips, as the incumbent, remains the favourite to prevail. Should he lose though, it could, sadly, mark the end of a political career that begun when he was appointed a senator by Michael Manley, and later a Member of Parliament in Arthur Jones' old seat. His record of governance in the ministries that he has served, is unmatched, particularly in finance and planning. I still hold the view that he is still the best finance minister that Jamaica has seen. But I don't see him continuing as MP if Bunting were to score an upset victory, which would be sad, as Phillips, a young 69-year-old has far more to offer.

By contrast, if Bunting, 59 on September 7, were to lose, he would have made a statement. He, thus, would be the heir apparent, as the foundation for upward movement would have been built.

Phillips' pride might not allow him to serve in a Bunting administration, if the successful and wealthy businessman were to be victorious and goes on to lead the PNP to victory in the next general election. On the other hand, I believe that though he has opposed him now, Phillips would forgive Bunting if he, Phillips, remained party leader, beat the Jamaica Labour Party at the next poll, and would appoint Bunting a minister.

As said before, both Peters are good men. They are bright and exceedingly talented. But there has to be a winner.

Supporters on both sides seem to be getting carried away with opinion poll results. Pollster Bill Johnson even suggested that Prime Minister Andrew Holness' JLP should not sleep well based upon his findings. I disagree. The PNP still has a lot of work to do. When the JLP cranks up its election machinery, which has outmanned the PNP in recent times, it could be a different story.

I would therefore urge Dr Phillips, not to add another pillow in order to sleep well on Johnson's findings; neither should Bunting on what Dr Don Anderson has produced with his polls.

The Anderson polls have proven to be more accurate than the Johnson polls over the years, but no party should pull their sheets thinking that polls are the stoves that can cook up those sumptuous meals.

Tony Young's positive influence on broadcasting

One of the fine practitioners of broadcasting, Tony 'TY' Young was given a decent sendoff yesterday, after he, shockingly, departed this life on August 3.

A nicer individual you could not find. Tony epitomised everything that is good in life. He was a star before he knew it. At the now defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, Tony made his name. He developed community radio station Roots FM into an organisation that remains relevant and continues to fulfil its mandate.

But, later in life, Tony's influence at KLAS FM 89, later called KLAS Sports FM 89 was one of the hallmarks on which the station continues to strive. He always had a smiling face; was joke prone, and always cared about the welfare of those whom he knew.

Tony, a Calabar man, had kidney challenges. He spent several weeks in the United States, using the time to try and correct his medical challenges, and would telephone to update me on his progress.

He returned to Jamaica in July and right away gave me a shout for us to link up, which, unfortunately, did not happen. On August 2, I felt the urge to call Tony. There was no response. The next day the telling blow came. Another talented soul had left us. His soul, I'm sure, will rest in peace.

Tivoli night football league should be copied

Last week, my journey took me into the heart of Tivoli Gardens where a lively football competition was being staged – in the middle of the night.

It was five-a-side football presented in elegant fashion on an asphalted surface, called Top Ten Turf, where, according to my geographical nose, the community's main netball court once was.

It is called Kid & Play Football Competition, which runs from August 5 to 30 with 20 teams taking part – Top Ten, Ice Madrid, Flat Gang, Rich & Fam, As A Yute, Yankee, PWD, L Raiders, YG, Highway, Bumps, Higglers, Ur Scheme, Lizard Town, Milk Lane, Skylife, Team Family, Bronz, Belgium, and Haiti. Youth on the 'corner' confirmed that it is sponsored by waterfront-based entertainment company, Ribbiz.

Three matches were played that night, including one that involved one of my much admired young star, Trayvon Reid, a member of Kingston College's victorious Manning Cup football team of 2018, who represents one of the favourites – Lizard Town.

But apart from the on court action, the atmosphere was refreshing. The resident commentator injected much energy into the proceedings, and even after everything ended around 12:30 next morning, you never even noticed how the time had passed.

In reflecting, couldn't this be the template for a summer national community night league, in football and netball, which could help ease tension, reduce crime and promote unity?

The final is set for Friday, August 30 at 9:00 pm and I intend to be there, but in the meantime, we should move with alacrity to build such facilities where none exists, or improve them where some exist. It can be done.

Why do we keep asking people to apologise?

A week apart, two young-for-politics representatives of the Opposition People's National Party issued apologies for remarks that they made on platforms, at which Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips was present.

One of them was Dr Phillips' son, Mikael, the Member of Parliament for Manchester North Western; the other is a supporter of Dr Phillips, though not on the record, Basil Waite, who desires to represent the people of St Elizabeth North Eastern in the House of Representatives.

The statements they made were unfortunate and the men did the right thing by trying to set things straight. But when I keep seeing and hearing people demanding apologies I wonder what they really want. If an apology is to be demanded and not given by one freely, it would come across as false and plastic. Therefore, if one is not allowed to, on his own accord, express his regret over whatever the matter is, without being ordered to do so, why should we all be satisfied when a counterfeit measure is adopted, such as a forced apology?

If someone does something that is wrong and he doesn't see fit to admit that as human he can err, then he must pay the ultimate price.

A 'proper' apology and 'withdrawal' was being demanded of Phillips by the Political Ombudsman. Now what foolishness is that? What is a proper apology? An apology is an apology. Also, what is a 'withdrawal'? Once it is said, it cannot possibly be withdrawn, so what's the fuss about. It's time we get out of the Stone Age.


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