Beyond the constitutional issues and court rulings which made possible the recent West Portland by-election, and regardless of that result, the people of Jamaica were the overall losers. The audacity of this statement is not that I am a comrade, which I unabashedly am. Instead, it is because both major parties had the opportunity to clarify their vision of the nation and the way forward and neither did. Instead, we were treated to more of the same mediocre political grandstanding, notwithstanding the formidable challenges of the time.
When will the Jamaican electorate be treated as mature adults? In this era of worldwide recession, we need frank discussions of the issues confronting the nation and the framework being employed to abate the crisis locally.
As the world economic situation deteriorates the local economic situation already, dismal for most will become more desperate. Even in times of relative prosperity, the majority of the Jamaican people found it difficult to cope economically. As a net debtor nation with no reserves and dwindling economic opportunities, I ask Prime Minister Bruce Golding and leader of the opposition Portia Simpson-Miller what are your visions of the nation. It would seem to me that the by-election was opportune for both camps to elaborate, clarify, and restate such.
Neither leader can claim that the platforms they presented in the 07 election remain relevant. The world as well as the national situation has undergone drastic change since. To the extent the realities are different a year and a half hence, it behooves both parties and their respective leaders to demonstrate their readiness to lead. Such demonstration of necessity requires fundamental restructuring of the thinking which under pinned the platforms on which they ran.
The fact is, if either Mr Golding or Mrs Simpson-Miller headed a business organization they would understand the fundamentals of effective leadership are the ability to adapt and change. Change is the one constant in all our lives, whether you are the head of a government or a lowly homemaker.