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Positive signs for political climate from political candidates

By Carlton A Gordon

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Encouraging signs of ongoing progress in Jamaica's political climate and election environment emerged recently, on Nationwide Radio FM 90 , from opposite sides of the People's National Party and Jamaica Labour Party (PNP/JLP) divide.

This was via the news review/discussion programme Nationwide This Morning, hosted by Dennis Brooks and Patria Kay Aarons. The personalities included Valerie Neita-Robertson, of the PNP, and Robert Nesta Morgan, of the JLP, on Monday.

Tuesday morning it was PNP Senator Damion Crawford, who recently announced his intention to vie for one of four vice-presidential positions in the PNP at the next internal party elections.

Neita Robertson, well-known defence attorney, was recently named official candidate to represent the PNP in Portland for the next general election. Reportedly she will go up against the JLP's Daryl Vaz for the Portland Western seat.

Morgan, communication consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister, announced via social media that he will officially apply and make himself available to represent the JLP in Parliament whenever there is a vacancy in Clarendon in the constituency that is currently represented by veteran JLP Member of Parliament Pearnel Charles Sr.

I was encouraged by Neita Robertson's clear statement that there would be no room for tribalism or any traditional dirty political practice in her campaigning to replace the JLP's Daryl Vaz in the Portland Western constituency at the next general election.

In another segment of the same Monday morning programme, and on other Nationwide programmes later, Morgan responded to concerns expressed by Minister Pearnel Charles Sr and others that his announced intention to officially apply to enter the race to replace Pearnel Charles Sr, whenever there is a vacancy, was disrespectful to Charles and potentially divisive of the constituency and the JLP.

He appeared genuinely respectful and appreciative of the senior Charles' historical and sacrificial service to Jamaica and to the JLP, even while making it clear that his announced potential official entry into the contest to take over as parliamentary representative in the Clarendon Central constituency after Charles, should be no surprise to him. The matter was mentioned a long time ago in the presence of witnesses, Morgan said.

He reiterated his respect for Charles and declared that while others were already campaigning and positioning themselves to take over from Charles, he was merely making his position clear and official. It was also his lifelong ambition to represent this constituency in which he was born. He had no intention to retreat, he said.

To my mind, the encouraging signal from Senator Damion Crawford — presented with his usual clinical clarity and precision — was that he believes he has some demographic strengths and connections which the PNP evidently needs and can use at this time, and through which he can contribute more meaningfully at the policymaking levels of the PNP.

He declared that he believes the way forward is to work not so much for the party we want, but for the country in which we would like to live.

For example, “I want to live in a country where, in dealing with criminality, we target the criminal and not the community.”

If there is a party or individual that shares your vision or has a similar vision for the country in which you want to live, then you should/would elect that individual or party, he suggested.

Then he added a statement that you will need to make your own decision about. He said:” Of course, I believe that my party is more likely, than the other party, to produce the kind of country in which I would like to live.”