Jamaicans weary of ‘tribalist’ behaviour by political leaders
We are now deep inside the “silly season” — that time when an election is coming soon and politicians sling even more metaphorical mud and talk even more foolishness than usual.
The anticipated poll is, of course, the long-postponed local government version which — barring disaster of some sort — we are assured will be held during or before February 2024.
Even then, we will still be in the silly season since parliamentary elections — constitutionally due in early 2025, but which Prime Minister Andrew Holness can call before that, if he so wishes — will be no more than a year away.
Exchanges of barbs and insults, mostly from political platforms, have been plentiful in recent times.
There have also been claims and counterclaims about achievements, real and imagined.
We are particularly taken by a verbal squabble regarding Ward Avenue in Mandeville and a traffic management system now being developed in that rapidly growing highlands town.
It involves Member of Parliament for Manchester Central Miss Rhoda Crawford, of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), and Mandeville’s mayor, Mr Donovan Mitchell, who heads the Manchester Municipal Corporation, controlled by the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP). Mr Mitchell is also likely to be the one opposing Miss Crawford in the parliamentary elections.
Ward Avenue is among the more important roadways into and out of Mandeville. Oddly, it is often described as being the responsibility of the municipality and not the National Works Agency (NWA), which oversees major roadworks and maintenance.
That’s a distinction which means very little to ordinary Jamaicans, but is clearly of great importance for those in charge.
Poor drainage has haunted Ward Avenue for many years. An expensive project some time ago was intended to correct the problem. That, and a related initiative to ease chronic traffic congestion, appear to have led to disagreement regarding who should take credit.
Miss Crawford is reported to have said recently: “For years dem sit down in the parish council, term after term, and they see the traffic congestion and dem nuh do nutten about it…”
And further, that:”…You remember when rain used to fall [and]…Ward Avenue… used to flood out, you notice it nuh flood again? Under this [traffic] system we have seen to the installation of a new drainage system.”
Then, at the last monthly meeting of the municipality, an annoyed Mr Mitchell refuted the MP’s comments, claiming the municipality has been lobbying for years — even reading from a document to underline his case.
“It is only that the MP came at a time when the funds were being released…” Mr Mitchell said.
Now, we are seeing that heavy rains over recent days have again flooded Ward Avenue.
We are told that clogged drains and some “issues” have created the latest problem.
How much more sensible would it have been if, instead of pointing fingers at each other, Miss Crawford and Mr Mitchell had knocked heads to ensure taxpayers’ money is used properly, drains are cleaned, and “issues” dealt with.
We keep saying it is not by accident that voter apathy in Jamaica is rising so alarmingly.
Our elected politicians had better get their act together. Jamaicans are sick and tired of the foolishness.