Sunday Brew — May 12, 2019

with HG Helps
Editor-at-Large

Sunday, May 12, 2019

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Choosing 'quality' MPs to run the country

A general election is likely to be held in Jamaica by 2021, although if certain things unfold by later this year, or next, no one should be surprised if Prime Minister Andrew Holness summons the electorate to dip their fingers in the purple ink (some say blue) much sooner.

Jamaica is at a stage of its development now whereby its people ought to be mature enough to choose political representatives who are, first and foremost, sensible. Added to that must be the individual's capacity to represent a certain geographical part of the national real estate in a manner in which the people will get satisfaction in respect of the ills that beset them.

Being able to participate in debates in the House of Representatives by articulating the concerns of the people and addressing the broader picture of being part of a collective voice in lifting the fortunes of the populace must also be considered.

For too long both the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) have chosen candidates to represent them who would flop on Parliament's stage had they been successful at the polls. It could also be argued that at times, the majority chose the wrong representative, based upon several factors and realities.

But, as Jamaicans we must implore the parties to use a finer sieve this time around when choosing candidates. Some, on both sides, have occupied seats at Gordon House, yet they have not even one legacy project that they can proudly embrace... and they have been around for decades.

We must not go back to the days when candidates who have nothing to offer — intellectually, practically, or otherwise — are presented to the electorate. Why would anyone, for example, who is serious about developing Jamaica want to vote for Patrick Roberts against Prime Minister Holness in St Andrew West Central? In this case, the PNP has foisted Roberts on the people consistently since the general election of 2002 and he has lost all four times to Holness, largely because Roberts doesn't make sense in his utterances, and clearly does not have a plan that will excite a majority of electors in an original PNP seat; unlike Holness. And that's only one example.

The PNP can do better. But let's see if Roberts will get a fifth go at nothing. The JLP has a few too, and it can also improve its stock, even if it feels that it will be difficult to win a “safe” PNP seat. Remember Portland Eastern.

Local Government and what it doesn't stand for

Haven't you been fascinated whenever it comes around to a Local Government, or stylishly put these days, Municipal Corporation campaign?

Most of the candidates interviewed sing from the same hymn book or read from the same King James version of the Bible.

What are your plans to assist the people of the division?... is usually one of the most asked question of candidates.

The answers include a long list of stuff … “I want to introduce a skills training centre” … “I want to build a new school' … “I am going to work towards a new health centre”… “Top of my list is to start a farmers' market” ... “I want a scholarship fund” etc… Now, all of these are well outside the remit of parish councillors, but is it that they don't know?

Are they not supposed to zoom specifically at things like helping to get municipal or parochial roads repaired, and deal with water challenges that fall directly under the municipal corporation, among such matters?

My position on municipal corporations is simple. Disband them! Increase the number of members of parliament to 91 and forget about councillors. Too much time and money is being wasted in that area.

International club football at its best

What fans of football witnessed between last Tuesday and Wednesday was nothing but remarkable.

Liverpool Football Club's impossible victory over bookie favourites Barcelona in the return match of the European Champions' League at Anfield — Liverpool annihilating them 4-0 to wipe away a 0-3 first leg deficit — must be the greatest victory of the Champions' League. Barcelona are no “dibby dibby” side. One Lionel Messi, who claims to be the world's best footballer now, is a member of that dream Barcelona team. Yet, Liverpool demonstrated a level of courage that is rarely ever seen.

What bit Barcelona was what shook Liverpool in the first place. Most of the big teams are timid playing away from home, and so they go ultra-defensive while keeping one eye open to hit the opposition on the counter-attack and create something positive. It doesn't happen as often as teams desire.

I can never understand why teams hardly believe that they cannot win matches away from home; except for Tottenham Hotspurs of course, who crushed the dreams of Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam fans by upsetting the home team in Wednesday's return leg semi-final in Amsterdam, after going down 0-1 in North London a week earlier.

It will mark the first appearance in a Champions' League final by Spurs, but a real blow for Ajax, who were already punching above their weight in their impressive performance to get so far in the league.

So the English sides are making a statement in Europe when their politicians believe that Brexit is the way to go.

Although Brexit does not affect the competition, should there be a referendum on English football as to whether it should remain a part of the European set-up?

The fact that two English teams — my Arsenal from North London, and Central London's Chelsea — are in the UEFA final means that something is happening in England that the politicians there cannot see. It marks the first time that all fours teams in both European divisions are from one country, beating three in 2016 by Spain.

Nice going Brexit!

Mackerel ... how could I not have heard about her?

I make no secret of the fact that I love eating Mackerel — canned or salted — with nuff pepper and onion. So when Sunday Observer reporter Sharlene Hendricks said that she was finishing a story on Mackerel for last Sunday's edition of this paper, my appetite opened, as I was anticipating that the price to consumers would drop.

Lo and behold, the story was about a Mackerel of a different kind — a budding comedian, as she called herself, whose unorthodox utterances on social media platforms had apparently been the buzz of the land.

Sadly, I had never before heard of that Mackerel, and I won't say whether she was salted or canned. Maybe it's because I deeply fear social media and the consequences of virtually living on it like some people do, that my ignorance of the woman who has obviously led a colourful, if not chequered life, came out so forcefully.

“When you say Mackerel, do you mean male deejay 'Major Mackerel', or 'Lady Mackerel' now known as deejay Macka Diamond – (at least I know about her)? was the question posed to Ms Hendricks.

Wow! None of the above! And come to think of it, the woman is unbelievably popular … yes, on social media.

What a meal! It was kind of embarrassing to hear family members in particular ask: “So how come you never hear 'bout Mackerel?”

From what I can see, this is a specially bred and branded product ... totally excluded from human consumption. This brand has fought her battles, and at this stage, blaming herself or her mother for some of the indiscretions that have beset her, will take her nowhere.

It is now a time for mentorship … for healing … and for the establishment of a platform upon which she can still build a viable future.

One thing she has not done is diminish my appetite and lust for mackerel as one of my favourite forms of protein.


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