Reckless and careless

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Reckless and careless

Due diligence in the face of foreign citizenship

Sunday, December 13, 2020

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As the days pass by it is becoming more and more evident that there are a number of rifts in the People's National Party (PNP) and that they are getting wider and wider.

There appears to be a telling lack of due diligence and, above all, it seems that there are several people who see themselves as a future prime minister and therefore believe they should be the leader of the party.

The lack of due diligence was first laid bare during the by-election for the Saint Mary South Eastern constituency. The PNP nominated as its candidate Dr Shane “Sugar” Alexis, who was not qualified to sit in our Parliament as he had foreign citizenship.

Now we are hearing that Senator Norman Horne might be a United States citizen, which if true means that when his name was submitted for him to be appointed and sworn in as a senator in the Jamaican Parliament he was not duly qualified.

It was the PNP that properly took Daryl Vaz and the late Shahine Robinson to court and had the court declare that they were not entitled to sit in the Parliament of Jamaica as they held foreign citizenship. Having done that, one would expect the PNP to exercise due diligence when selecting individuals to either be candidates for election to the Parliament or to be appointed to the Senate.

There was a glaring lack of due diligence in the case of the selection Dr Alexis as a candidate for election to Parliament and the PNP should admit that it was reckless, careless, and irresponsible in not first ensuring that Dr Alexis was not holding alien citizenship.

If it is true that Senator Norman Horne is a United States citizen or if he holds a foreign citizenship then the PNP is even more embarrassingly negligent, reckless, and irresponsible for not first ensuring that Horne and indeed all persons selected for appointment to the Senate are duly qualified and, in particular, are not holding foreign citizenship.

The PNP should never drop such a catch given the legal campaign it waged against Daryl Vaz, the late Shahine Robinson, and others.

That Mark Golding should turn up at King's House with Peter Bunting to be sworn in without first communicating with Horne and have it made known that he had withdrawn his name is reckless and a lack of due diligence.

Golding, the new PNP leader, Peter Bunting and Norman Horne are all the same party. They refer to themselves as Comrades. They should be camaraderie amongst Comrades. There should be communication and frank discussions. However, the events that have unfolded indicate a serious disconnect.

To add to the confusion, along came Damion Crawford to indirectly declare his readiness to lead the party, and I suppose ultimately to become prime minister. All of a sudden just about everybody is qualified to be prime minister. The history of politics in Jamaica has shown that parties suffering from disunity and infighting do not win elections. Indeed, former Prime Minister Edward Seaga wrote a book that the PNP is now stealing — How Not To Win An Election For 18 Years.

During the Jamaica Labour Party's 18 years in the political wilderness a 'Gang of Three' emerged in the party, as well as a 'Gang of Five'.

There was also an incident when a prominent member of the party suffered serious head injuries as members confronted one another over leadership of the party outside of the National Arena. Several members of the JLP left the party during the 18 years out of Government because of the infighting and disunity. One prominent member who left the party then even broke fingers symbolically to show how much he had divorced himself from the party. He eventually returned to the fold.

Daryl Vaz is in the habit of accusing the PNP of being 'bad mind' and 'grudge-ful'. Now that the PNP has stolen Seaga's playbook and seem to be studying it carefully to keep the party out of power, Vaz can now properly cuss off the PNP and add other 'cuss' word — “tief”.

Age is on Damion Crawford's side in his ambition for prime ministership, and so even if the PNP were to break the JLP's 18-year record in the wilderness, we could yet see Crawford lead a PNP Government — maybe at age 72, or so.

Linton P Gordon is an attorney at-at-law. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or lpgordon@cwjamaica.com.


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