Sunday Brew - November 29

Sunday Brew - November 29

Sunday, November 29, 2020

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Venesha Phillips needs special care

In the same way that People's National Party (PNP) President Mark Golding has advocated a sort of welfare programme for party workers who have fallen on hard times, he should also be at the forefront of a mission to assess the mental state of some of the organisation's numbers.

The comments coming from members of the party, some of them elected officials, in recent weeks after the November 7 election to choose a president, are mind-boggling, which leaves you to wonder if they are alright.

One of the first individuals who should go through a psychiatric evaluation is Venesha Phillips, the elected councillor for the Papine Division in the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation.

Long after the smoke has cleared, Phillips is still grabbing at elusive straws, refusing to accept the decision taken by a majority of the delegates of the PNP to elect a new president. Of course, she is still trying to come to terms that her namesake led his party to the most humiliating defeat of the PNP since 1980, but it is time to move on.

As things are now, Venesha Phillips appears to be one of daft, mischievous, or suffering from mental challenges which allows her to continue to behave in such vulgar fashion, spitting venom at the legitimately elected leader of the PNP, her leader, her president. Her latest salvo in calling Golding 'backra maasa' is one of the lowest blows I have ever seen… and I have watched hundreds of boxing matches in my time.

Before the analysis though, maybe someone should take her into a quiet corner, and make a last ditch attempt at informing her that someone other than Lisa Hanna was elected president of the PNP. If that fails, then the inevitable must be done.

Come to think of it, this latter day crass behaviour by Phillips could never have occurred under the watch of the party's great leaders, Norman Manley, Michael Manley, or PJ Patterson. She would have been hauled in long ago and dealt with decisively. Still, functionaries like Peter Phillips, and Patterson have remained silent on the issue, instead of rebuking the out of order councillor.

The people of St Andrew Eastern turned the decibels up on Phillips when they, by vast majority, opted for Fayval Williams. It was the second-straight general election that Phillips was being whipped, having served as campaign manager for Andre Hylton in 2016.

It's a good thing that the Parliament has opted to extend the time for holding the local government election, for I do suspect that the people of the Papine Division would have spoken resoundingly, and dispatched her to the point of no political return.

The PNP does not need such an individual. Jamaica's politics can do without that vulgar kind.

Now for another PNP sour election

Today marks another moment in the life of the ailing People's National Party. Most people do not live to age 82. This party has. But lately, it has been behaving like a spoilt teenager whose future is in doubt.

Members of the PNP's National Executive Council (NEC) will make crucial calls during the day, among them, to elect a general secretary, the most important position for it right now; and a chairman, largely ceremonial but meaningful in the historical context of things.

History was rewritten recently when Mark Golding, the new PNP president, publicly asked delegates to vote for Dr Dayton Campbell as general secretary, and Dr Angela Brown Burke for chairman. The latter would be a first for the party, in having a woman in that role, but not new to Jamaica, as Madame Rose Leon, now deceased, who represented both the PNP and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in Parliament, chaired the JLP.

The true test of Golding's early batting on a sticky pitch will be known today. If the majority of NEC members go for Campbell and Brown Burke, he would have secured his first major victory on the road to improving the party that has been trying to sing the song of unity, only for members and supporters to forget the lyrics.

From what is available, Dr Dayton Campbell seems the best choice of the three names now in the public space, for general secretary.

For chairman, on a point of principle, the members should reject Phillip Paulwell's infantile bid. Paulwell is a man I am very fond of, but he is vice-president already. What the hell is he trying to prove? If he wanted to show that he is not playing the fool, then he should have resigned as VP, instead of hiding behind the wall. There can be no rational thinking behind Paulwell's decision, only to show up more of the pettiness that has ungulfed the teenager-again party.

Maradona — good man with bad qualities

It is never easy to accept when a star dies, and in this case, the demise of legendary Argentina football king, Diego Maradona, is, in local terms, a bitter pill to swallow.

But I cannot express shock or surprise that one of the greatest footballers of all time has moved on to a different space. When you use your body to do things that it was not designed to digest, you will suffer the consequences.

Maradona was older than me, but I have followed his entire life, and based upon all the things that have happened, it was only a miracle that he lived so long. The stories of his substance abuse were not unfounded. A listing of his general conduct was not something that could be placed on a wall of honour for all to see.

I met his nemesis for Greatest Player of All Time — Pele — the man who many over age 45 believe was the best. Pele, the Brazilian genius, turned 80 on October 23. He was a simple man who played in many places, and turned up at football clinics, like the Miami Classics, which my friend, in life and death, Winston Chung Fah used to run … he would be there as long as the money was right, and he would be paid on time.

Pele and Maradona were voted jointly as footballers of the last century, which I thought was unfair to the Brazilian, but then, the survey was done at a time when Maradona was fresher, and the younger voters would not have been privy to some of the evidence of Pele's mastery.

Maradona has left a massive impact on football. He is second to Pele in terms of overall brilliance, but ahead of Lionel Messi as Argentina's greatest. Hopefully, the life that he lived, so riddled with unwanted ingredients for a body, will serve as an eye-opener for those who think that many of the things that taste and feel good are good for you.

There goes Trump again

If there is one set of people who are happy that rude and disrespectful Donald Trump will be leaving the White House soon, it is the journalists posted by their news organisations at the White House, the official residence of the United States president.

For no time in the history of US presidents has there been one who is so crass and disrespectful like the outgoing one — a man who litters just about anyone most times with untruthful verbal garbage.

Take the latest round of abuse with the journalist from Reuters News Agency, whom he described as a “lightweight”, after the scribe asked him a legitimate question. Like a big bully, he has given those media workers hell over the last four years. But, like all good things will end, all bad ones will too.

Can you imagine if Trump was prime minister of Jamaica? Do you think he would ever talk down to a Jamaican journalist in the way that he does to his fellow Americans? He would not dare try, because he would then expose himself to some of the finest Shakespearean literature that he could ever imagine.

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