Jamaica needs a strong PNPFriday, October 22, 2021
Sunday afternoon, as I sat in my living room, I tuned in on television just in time to see the People's National Party's (PNP) 83rd Annual Conference being broadcast.
Now, I am not usually one to watch TV on a weekend, but it was a no-movement day and I had nothing better to do. So I thought, “Let me see what this conference is about.”
I listened keenly as P J Patterson spoke. He is a man for whom I have great respect. His call to action was for members of the PNP to take some time to reflect on their actions and identify whether it hindered or helped the party. The energy was good.
Mark Golding seems to be a sincere man. His manner is much different from what I am used to from politicians, and maybe that is not a bad thing. But what I took away from the conference after listening to his presentation was that, now more than ever, Jamaica needs a strong Opposition. When I reflect on the current state of Jamaica and all that is unfolding before our eyes, I shudder at the thought of what our country might become. A country where the cost of living is a constant source of affliction, where the hopes and dreams of many are crippled by the effects of crime, and where COVID-19 is a catch-all for government incompetence.
What if our system of government worked in the way that it was intended to? What if we had an Opposition that commanded the consciousness of the people so much so that it compelled the Government to act? What if people demanded and held accountable public officials elected to serve their interests? It would look like a functional society in which people's lives mattered.
While it may very well have been a political move for Mark Golding to call out the Government on the various corruption scandals that have inundated this Administration, I am sure I am not the only one who thought that it was necessary.
Many important points came from Mark Golding's presentation on Sunday, but the one that stuck out the most to me, as a student, was the reformation of the Students' Loan Bureau, which is very much needed. As well, the point about social intervention as a crime- fighting strategy is something worth exploring.
I have not heard a lot about the conference since it was held, but I suppose it is as a result of the widely held view that the PNP, as it is, is not ready to lead. The point I want to make, however, is that Jamaica needs a strong Opposition. And if what I saw on Sunday was any indication of the future, I think that we may just get that. What I saw on Sunday was a glimmer of hope in the wake of despair.
Who knows? The PNP may get it right in time for the next general election, or right enough to make the Jamaica Labour Party do better.