Our political leaders should 'tek sleep mark death'
The scene outside Nationwide News Network after a gun attack Friday afternoon. (Photo: Karl Mclarty)

Speaking on Mr Earl Moxam's news discussion programme That's a Wrap on Radio Jamaica on Sunday, Mr George Davis, deputy executive editor of Nationwide News Network, and immediate past president of the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ), made a simple, logical point that could be easily missed.

Noting that he had no evidence as to who carried out Friday's gun attack on the offices of Nationwide, Mr Davis suggested that it could easily have been carried out by someone, external to Jamaica's tribalist political culture, seeing an opportunity to strike at the station without attracting suspicion.

It was not impossible, he suggested, that such opportunism could, in theory, flow from a "grouse" of some sort that someone has against the radio station.

Obviously, such an opportunity could have arisen because of the recent foolish and dangerous remarks aimed at Nationwide by Opposition People's National Party (PNP) General Secretary Dr Dayton Campbell at a political meeting.

Inevitably, Dr Campbell's comments have led to finger pointing.

Yet, as any well-thinking person knows, fingers shouldn't be pointed without evidence, which we hope police investigators will gather in due course.

However, as has been made clear in this space and elsewhere, Dr Campbell can't be excused for his brazen attack on press freedom in Jamaica.

To his eternal discredit, Dr Campbell even called the names of individual journalists.

All this reminds us of the message many, if not most of us would have heard while we were children that we should engage brain before opening our mouths. And further, "that yuh must learn to look roun' corner" — not least because of the possible consequences of words and deeds.

Truth be told, Dr Campbell is rapidly developing a reputation for loose-tongued recklessness which, ultimately, can only serve to undermine his party in what is now the election season.

Our political leaders, be they orange or green, need to pay keen attention to the rapidly changing mood of Jamaicans in relation to party politics. That's particularly in the case of our fast-growing, educated middle class.

Politicians, drunk on power and other spirits, should not be fooled by the adulation they receive from their followers at mass meetings and elsewhere.

In fact, most people are increasingly disgusted by insults, derogatory remarks, and unproven allegations from the mouths of their leaders.

Politicians should heed the cautionary words of former Prime Minister Mr P J Patterson: "Utterances from some in the political sphere and positions of authority belittle us as a nation and also undermine respect for all.

"Public respect is rapidly descending to an all-time low. The language used routinely is distasteful, disgraceful, and comments are derogatory. The tone of their delivery is devoid of respect.

"Increasingly, the public is made to endure intensely negative public discourse that abuses, demeans, and vilifies others. Instead of mutual respect, a small but vociferous number of our public speakers are consistently mean-spirited and vulgar..."

We think it's not by accident that fewer than 38 per cent of Jamaicans eligible to vote did so in the 2020 parliamentary election.

We should all consider that if that trend is not reversed, our liberal democracy will be under threat.

Jamaicans and their leaders should "tek sleep mark death".

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