Sunday Brew - November 22

Sunday Brew - November 22

Sunday, November 22, 2020

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Deciding key PNP posts

It should have surprised no one that People's National Party (PNP) President Mark Golding has publicly endorsed Dr Dayton Campbell to become the organisation's next general secretary, and Dr Angela Brown Burke for the post of chairman.

Both have worked closely with him in the last two internal party elections, and so, you would want people you can trust to move the mission to a higher league, now that you are in charge. It is not the norm for presidents to come out in the open with their preferred choices, but they always indicate to the National Executive Council (NEC) whom they would like.

What I find weird, though, is that almost simultaneous with that Golding pronouncement came two others – Natalie Neita for general secretary, and Phillip Paulwell for chairman. Both Neita and Paulwell are good people, capable too. But they are coming out of a camp, Lisa Hanna's, that opposed Golding in the last internal vote, and if they were to be elected, a situation would arise whereby the president could be forced to be looking over his shoulder due to mistrust, so often, that whiplash could set in.

It is strange, though, that Paulwell, a vice-president (VP), wants to run for the post of chairman, which is a step down. Let's say he is successful in his quest to become chairman. He would have to resign as VP, which would create a vacancy and thereby another election to see who fills that slot, and another round of verbal slaughtering by the elements in the party. This tells us that the PNP, again, is not learning, and too many members are behaving like Donald Trump. It was Paulwell, too, we must remember, who, two days before the election for president, publicly urged all delegates to support Comrade Lisa Hanna, although he said he was not campaigning for any candidate. What was that all about then?

But chairman aside, it is the general secretary's assignment that is most crucial. That person will decide what happens to the PNP at the end of the next five years. Such an individual must be competent and must get the vote of trust from the president. In that context, the PNP should not even mention Raymond Pryce's name, another one I hear floating around. Not even Ras Astor Black would want Pryce as his general secretary.

The PNP lost its way when Portia Simpson Miller called for Julian Robinson as general secretary four years ago. While she had her own strengths, when she moved on she left a weak president in the post – Dr Peter Phillips – to work with an even weaker general secretary, and that combination spoiled the PNP's pot of soup.

Robinson, in the context of Jamaican political representation, could easily be numbered among the top 10 Members of Parliament in Jamaica, but he fell short in the engine room. Dr Campbell might not readily correct that, but his style lends itself to a promise.

Castor oil for those who sabotage

And as some of us are following the fortunes (or misfortunes) of the PNP, it seems to me that what the party needs is not a major push for unity, but one for a purge of those who continue to sabotage the machinery.

The latest election for president of the party will not heal all wounds anytime soon. In fact, you may still find people calling in sick, or unable to attend functions put on by the party, or declining certain appointments for which they may be suited, all because they are not in agreement with who is now in charge.

But it's simple, if the latest exercise in democracy cannot result in a change of attitude in them, they should be allowed to move on without a fuss, or be forced out if they cannot follow, or even preserve, the rules and regulations of the party.

There are many of those choking the PNP. If the leadership does not decide to act decisively, then Mark Golding's tenure as president would turn out to be an exercise in futility.

Take the cowardly Concerned Members of the NEC for example… a set of saboteurs who hide behind doors if they do not get their choice, and proceed to fuss until thy kingdom come, because they will not get the chance to manipulate their chosen ones. Some of these 'concerned' members are opportunists who, having fattened themselves from the party's offerings over the years, want to continue to do so, even though the dynamics have shifted. I know quite a few of them.

It is time to get out the castor oil. Andrews Salts are simply too mild.

That accident on Washington Boulevard

Last Tuesday evening as I drove down Washington Boulevard towards the intersection of Molynes Road in St Andrew, something unwanted occurred.

The standstill in a long line of traffic was disrupted by a loud thud, sounding like 'bungalung galung, galung'. I glanced in the rear-view mirror. Lord Jesus, sumady run ina mi back. I don't want to see the damage, so I should not get out of the car… was the initial feeling, energised by the reality that crooks often hit cars and then rob the occupants when they exit to inspect the damage. My inner voice said otherwise: It's busy Washington Boulevard, get out of the car as fast as possible, see how the hitter is going to react, and act based up that. If the hitter gets too aggressive, then the cricket bat in the truck should act as a weapon of minor destruction, as long as a gun is not at the other end.

Well, to my great relief, as I stepped out, a voice said: “Sorry, I pressed gas instead...” It was that of a woman with a complexion resembling Melania Trump's, and some looks to match. She seemed not to be totally coherent. I wanted to laugh at her initial comments, but couldn't. The damage was not as bad as it sounded, but the offer of $5,000 to fix it, was. The hitter's car papers appeared to be in another land, and the pledge to have the busted bumper repaired by someone deep inside a certain troubled inner-city community that the prime minister knows well was not enticing.

Look, this one is going nowhere, I reckoned. Maybe this is Trump's way of hitting back at one of his critics. So, you know what?, just let me be on my way.

Silly to bash clergymen over Trump remarks

I notice the backlash that certain men of the cloth have been getting in respect of their pre-election views to have Donald Trump serve as US president for another four-year term.

My long-time friend Al Miller is among them, taking heat for expressing the opinion that he wanted Trump to win the election over Joe Biden. So what's wrong with a man giving such a view?

I'm not fond of Trump, but I would never lash anyone who is. My closest friend in the USA is a Trump backer, but that doesn't affect our relationship. Why is it that Jamaicans, in particular, have a problem with people saying things that are not similar to what they believe in? We see it every day in politics, like what's happening in the PNP now, in the Church, entertainment circles… you name it.

Last week, my comments about Kamala Harris saw people running for their swords, not realising that they are just wasting their time, for as long as I believe in something, no comment or criticism will make me alter that position.

Freedom of expression must always be preserved. Al Miller and others in the Church have a right to be heard.

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