Tag Archive: Jamaica Labour Party


Hell or Paradise

Today is a sad day in Jamaica. We are known internationally for being a violent country and so deserved, yet the 3rd happiest place on earth. How ironic?

Historically, our politicians have embraced criminal activities. In the earlier elections many years ago, politicians seeking power gave citizens located in the ‘government created’ ghettoes guns and ammunitions. These illegal weapons were used to intimidate voters and also to maim and kill the others who tried to oppose the thugs. These thugs headed by dons – leader of the community would secure wins for the political parties. This violence in election periods is still evident today. Because of the wide access to illegal and dangerous weapons vicious acts of violence toward other citizens are committed based on simple disagreements. Disagreements are solved using the guns today. The infiltration of the weapons is affecting society to the point where politicians have begun distancing themselves from these gangs. The process of distancing themselves from the thugs proved hard to accomplish because they are heavily cemented in the system. The thugs are split across political lines, dividing communities by lines and turfs. The criminal gangs that are affiliated to the ruling government would see themselves getting government contracts among other benefits.

One would think that those who assume high moral standing in any society would be constantly speaking out against such heinous acts. The church, non-governmental organizations, political groups etc are so silent it is deafening.

Recently, the USA government has requested that Christopher ‘Dodus’ Coke be extradited to the USA naming Coke one of the world’s most dangerous drug kingpins. How could this man be free in Jamaica?

Today, September 4, 2009 the Jamaica Observer had the headline ‘Dudos holds the key’. I was so shocked to see the headline because you would think conventional wisdom would think that the country would support a criminal doing time behind bars. Instead you have groups led by the government who are silent on this issue, silently condoning his illegal acts. The community Christopher ‘Dudos’ Coke leads is affiliated and only supports the ruling government and they may think it isn’t an issue to comment.

The fact is that these gangs have more powers than the police themselves. The thugs kill whoever opposes their culture/belief and live in freedom because of their ties. Now Dudos is free to roam the streets of Kingston but is wanted in the United States of America. Jamaica has developed a society that condones unlawful behaviour and embraces those committing violent acts in the name of politics.

These are the same reasons the country cannot grow because we have failed to learn from teachable moments. We have developed a culture that suppresses the poor, embrace criminality and ignore people’s fundamental rights based on Christian beliefs. Today is a sad day because this country has not given its youth or anyone anything to be proud of. The two things we have aimed to manage well are tourism and sports – and we have deficiencies there.

I cannot wait to leave this god forsaken country and live in a country that respect people’s rights does not condone criminal activities and support the advancement and development of its own people. Someone, something help this country.

I must end this on a good note. We have a wonderful set of people here who work hard and try to live life above the law, who with all the struggles attempt in getting an education and seek to assist their families to be better off. I travelled to Ocho Rios today and wow the scene is fantastic. Below is one of the photos I took.

Ocho Rios Jamaica

Ocho Rios Jamaica

My day in Parliament

Many times we see politicians on the job and wonder what it is like to be there to experience the moments. Recently I was invited to share in the festivities at our parliament in Jamaica. The experience was spectacular.

parliamentAs I entered the doors I was greeted to security systems beeping clearly signalling what kind of possessions I had on me. There was security all around clearly you could tell security is a major issue when so much power comes together. No alarms rang; I walked up to the gallery. In the gallery clearly there were sections outlined. One section had high profile persons; managers, CEOS, investors all ready to hear what the minister had to say. Dr Christopher Tufton would be presenting on recent developments in the Ministry of Agriculture.

All my life the proceedings, all the pictures I have seen of parliament were aerial shots focusing on the speakers on any particular day. Clearly sitting in the gallery I had a bird’s eye view of the proceedings seeing all the politicians who appear to be at the helm of the country.

As I sat I was in awe the entire time, couldn’t believe I was granted this experience to see parliament in action. I looked around seeing the power of the people in the gallery, the media section etc. The media area shocked me. There were not a lot of media personnel covering the event. I found it amazing but daunting. I believe the more journalists covering events like these and even working in the industry the more objectivity and coverage regular citizens will have of what is really happening at the highest level of government.

From watching parliamentary proceedings on television as well, one cannot ignore how noisy the politicians are. Most of them on television would be gyrating and chatting away as the speakers made their points.  Found it embarrassing. Well, the same greeted me. The politicians showed no regard for those who were speaking. Most were reading documents, shouting across the isle, signing documents, sending messages continuously, the constant walking in and out etc. I was amazed but not impressed. I feel that when a presentation is being made your duty is to listen with the intention to make suggestions or ask questions at the end. This was not so in parliament. However, I do not feel that persons must sit throughout presentations for over two hours without even commenting on an issue with the person near you, but the constant chatting and disrupting behaviours must not be condoned.

p3_2 When I entered the gallery and looked down at the seats I noticed that some seats were empty but documents were thrown all over the area in front of the chair signalling that someone was sitting in the seat. Later, former Miss World winner now turned politician Lisa Hanna walked in with another member of the Opposition. I have not fell that feeling in a long time. Her beauty mesmerized me, I was shocked, amazed, even flabbergasted.  Even years after winning the title Lisa Hanna is able to look refreshing, great and constantly keeping up with fashion and style. She truly added to the excitement of the afternoon.

As the speech went on, more members walked in clearly they took breaks, some even conducting business on the floor while the speech went on.

Later the leader of the Opposition Portia Simpson Miller, Phillip Paulwell etc walked in to take their seats. What was interesting was that most members of the governing party were present while most of the Opposition were evidently missing in action.

Joke of the day

roger-clarke-pointingRoger Clarke former Minister of Agriculture when his party ruled was present for the proceedings. There has been characterisation of him in the media as a negative famer who opposes everything the ruling government does. Recently he was portrayed as a fat rice eating famer who eats everything on a farm. In the minister’s speech, he referred to the successful rice testing done by the government and brought into parliament packaged rice products for his demonstration. This was seen as a positive movement for the government because previous governments have not been able to achieve this level of success where they are able to produce value added products for the international and local market.

There was a huge uproar by politicians on the floor who sought to ensure that the minister gave Roger Clarke all the rice he brought to parliament. This was a light moment but everyone had a moment to laugh and take it all in.

The speech was very long but the time was allotted to Dr Christopher Tufton to complete his speech.

peter-bunting-gen-secAfter his speech ended Opposition member Bunting gave a speech on his constituency and even commenting on changes that should be made to Jamaica Constabulary Force. What was amazing the ruling party teased him before he began his speech calling him ‘Facebook’.

Recently, after the Opposition lost two bi-elections Bunting made remarks on his Facebook page about a leader not searching for consensus but a molder of one. This was seen as controversial and was reprimanded by some for his comments. The teasing I found very alarming because I think he was ashamed in the moment.

This teasing was obvious right through the proceedings with members from both sides shouting defaming slangs at each other. I found it disgusting at times but I guess people can have fun.

So my day ended with me experiencing parliament. Not many citizens will ever get to go through the doors at our parliament but this day will always be treasured by me. I enjoyed my day, while some parts were horrible to digest I was able to take it all in and see what parliamentary proceedings were all about.

Corve DaCosta

Written by Ross Sheil.

With both main political parties touting their ‘e-credentials’ it remains to be seen how effective Internet campaigning has become and who is more popular online. The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) recently announced that its website has received 1.2 million ‘hits’ since it launched November last year while the People’s National Party (PNP) claims 119,693 ‘visitors’ since July 2001.

However these statistics can be misleading. Firstly the numbers have to be verified and secondly the statistics are made from different measurements; browsing a web page can generate several hits whereas visitors to a website are single – in other words, visitors are worth more than hits. Are politicians getting to grips with the Internet?

Both parties are aware of the potential offered by the Internet to reach younger voters who are increasingly living their lives on social networking websites such as Hi5, MySpace and Facebook. Earlier this year The Gleaner reported on an Internet prankster who had posted Hi5 profiles impersonating Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and her predecessors P.J. Patterson and Edward Seaga.

While the elderly Mr. Seaga was unaware of Hi5 – he took the joke in his stride – the JLP whom he once led, are making full use of the technology.

JLP has a channel on YouTube, the video-sharing website, with the two parts of its infamous ‘Not Changing the Course’ advertisement – mocking Mrs. Simpson Miller and her government – viewed almost 6,000 times in total.

The PNP have not yet officially stepped into the YouTube arena. The most popular PNP-related video on the site, featuring deejay Cutty Ranks performing a tribute to Michael Manley*, has 21,909 views. However as at the rallies themselves this may just reflect a greater public interest in hearing what a deejay has to say, rather than the politicians sharing the stage.

If the parties listen to young voters like 20-year-old Corve DaCosta then by the next election at least – when broadband access will have become more widespread – they will be increasingly targeting the Internet audience. Gleaner Online spoke to Mr. DaCosta via instant messenger having located him on the G2K Hi5 group.

“If politicians use the channel appropriately and persuasively I believe it will really sensitise me and other young people who use the Internet,” he said.

Additional reporting by Jaevion Nelson

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2007 at 8:40 pm on a local blog.