Like the rest of Jamaica, the editorial team at PINK has been glued to all media outlets to get the latest twist and turn in the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips affair and the Dudus Imbroglio. It is our, hope that the main stream media houses and the political historians at the local and regional universities are busy documenting the saga in its entirety for posterity. Yet whilst the events unfolding in Kingston are not specifically Rainbow in nature and orientation, here at PINK we have always advocated for social inclusion of the community. This advocacy is borne out of the reality and realization that events in the wider society impact and affect community members! More importantly and simply, community members are a part of the general Jamaican society.
The P.M.’s apology
One of the most curious developments over the past two weeks from a national psychological perspective was the national acceptance of an apology by the Prime Minister. By the night of the 15th May after a disastrous and almost confusing media briefing performance by the JLP’s General Secretary and Chairman, Karl Samuda and Ken Baugh respectively, it had become clear that the PM’s tenure in office was hanging by the thinnest of strings. However, by the Sunday night after a well scripted apology the nation retreated from chants of Bruce Must Go, and a tense calm was restored to both Jamaica House and Vale Royal. The question must be asked why?
That the nation was so quick to accept the Prime Minister’s apology does not by itself mean a restoration of confidence in the Hon. Orette Bruce Golding. What it probably signifies is that the country was more afraid of the consequences if it did not accept, that apology! With the government Members of Parliament toeing the Party line, save an anonymous two- the worse case scenario pointed to an escalation of tensions and mass demonstrations, as all constitutional channels to eject the Prime Minister would have been effectively choked. Furthermore, unlike the Gas riots of 1999 (the last time there was an uprising against an administration) there was no united grass roots position existing in the country that galvanized support for or against the Prime Minister’s resignation. Indeed, it may be argued that a major difference between 1999 and 2010 is that in the Gas Riots the question was about government policy, in 2010 the question would be about the government itself. Thus a rational fear existed that any escalation in tension could and would expose the deep political and tribal fissures that exist in the country.
In any event, prior to May 15th many “no-named” individuals had begun to ask the question “kick out Bruce fi who, Portia and the PNP?” This question had prompted the leader of the Opposition to make her now infamous Don’t Gloat Speech at the PNP’s National Executive Council Meeting at the University of the West Indies. Here at PINK we are not of the opinion that this question means that the populace does not like Mrs. Simpson-Miller and her band of comrades. Rather, we feel that the question indicates a mood in the country that there exist deep cultural similarities between the Opposition and the Government. Thus the country calculated that a cost of a change in administration at this time would come at significantly too high a price with no commensurate benefit. It is our position that the Opposition must enter a period of deep introspection because this question illustrates that in the darkest days of the Bruce Golding Administration, the Portia Simpson-Miller lead opposition is seen by the population as been no better than the government. Quite frankly this is the clearest example of a country asking itself: should it swap Black Dawg fi Monkey?
Yet even if the Prime Minister’s apology is accepted, whether out of fear or genuine belief, there are still many unanswered questions that require explanation. In his broadcast to the nation, the Prime Minister stated that: The engagement of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips by Mr. Harold Brady was an effort to secure assistance in resolving the stalemate because the party was concerned about the negative effect it was having on relations between Jamaica and the United States. I sanctioned this initiative but made it clear that it was to be kept completely separate from the government. As I later discovered, those instructions were not followed. Having sanctioned it, I cannot escape responsibility for it or the developments that have ensued although I was not myself involved in those activities. This paragraph alone forces us to ask the Prime Minister: who are the persons that deliberately ignored his instructions to keep the matter separate from the government and further what will the administration do to punish these individuals?
However, the events of Sunday May 24 may have shown that the Prime Minister over-spoke when he stated that the Minister of Justice, in consideration of all the factors, will sign the authorization for the extradition process to commence. He should have realized that his message was not only been seen by law abiding citizens and the police but by agents of the criminal underworld. As a consequence, questions will have to be raised about the strategic competency of the Prime Minister, considering his ministerial responsibility as Commander in Chief.