Revive the NDM Anyone?

One of the few remaining manufacturing companies, Caribbean Cement, like most survivors, is minority owned by Jamaicans.

I’ve decided to take a break from writing, get off my butt and get some other action going. Jamaica is looking at an election in three years, with one of two deadbeat political parties expected to again take us on that ride to nowhere. I hear some calling for boycotting elections, but I think that’s a lousy option. We the people should be able to direct our fate. If we do not take charge, it’ll be the citizens who suffer, not the politicians.

What do you think, can the National Democratic Movement (NDM) be resuscitated in the hands of the right leadership, someone with the calibre of contractor general, Greg Christie? I wasn’t really around during the NDM’s most active period and thus was not acquanted with the party’s impact. But what do you think? People are weary and sufering post-traumatic stress disorder from the bloodbath, the stink of the corruption and the lack of any contrition on the part of our current miserable crop of leaders.

It will be a tragedy if either one of them returns, unrepentant and gloating, to continue feeding at the trough and feeding the nation the bullsh*t we’ve been choking on since independence. Even their garrison residents are finally wising up to the fact that, in the immortal words of Malcolm X, “we’ve been took, we’ve been had, we’ve been misled”. It’s just that the masses have resigned themselves to being ruled by kleptocrats for they feel there is no other option.

I remember waving the new Jamaican flag in my little fist at 7 years old as soon as the Union Jack was with much ceremony replaced, and what hope our parents had at the birthing of our new nation! Those insufferable British colonialists had left us a vibrant mass transit system with the JOS network and the Railway Corporation.

My parents said we had tramcars at one time, just like those in San Francisco. But we mash it up. Jamaica Public Service Co the power company and the National Water Commission were in excellent shape. Queen Victoria Park, downtown Kingston, was always perfectly groomed, in bloom, and after dark pungent with the fragrance of night jasmine. There was even a working fountain and public restrooms. The cement factory was ours, the silos standing proud on the way to the airport. But we give dem wey. And we don’t believe maintenance is important; we erect monuments with flourish and leave them to maintain themselves to dereliction.

Growing up, I remember the Purina Chows silo, the huge Tia Maria bottle atop the factory building out by Four Miles, with Red Stripe, Canada Dry sodas, Metal Box, Juredini, Seprod, Diamond Mineral Water, and many other factories in that Industrial complex. I remember the factory grounds being well manicured and the buildings spotless. Cremo and United Dairy Farmers supplied us with ice cream, D&G used to belong to us. So did our own Blue Mountain coffee brand. And we developed a bustling free zone industrial complex as well. What went wrong?

A demitasse of Blue Mountain coffee sells in Tokyo for over US$12! Where has all this profit gone?

We share in the blame, for we have not really been model citizens. We have not spoken out and we haven’t stood up. But it’s not too late. We need to soundly reject the present crop of politicians. They have served themselves and not the people. They have ruined the country and our reputation, misappropriated our birthright, and will ride off into the sunset with the spoils.

But we must NOT give them an opportunity to finish us off. We must reject them. We cannot and must not be limited to the JLPNP – for the old farts aren’t going to let go – and let those with vision and energy lead. And the youth currently among them have been already contaminated.

The NDM may just be on the hunt for a leader, but the party needs membership. I think we should support it. What do you think?

     

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9 comments on “Revive the NDM Anyone?
  1. Jamaica definitely needs new leadership as well as a new generation of leaders. The question is whether or not Jamaicans are prepared for what any new leader and leadership might bring. There is that thing I call ‘generational trust’ – will the older folks be prepared to accept the leadership of a younger generation? Also, are folks willing to accept the inevitable changes in how things get done as part of any change? Will this new leadership be willing to reform the government structure and not treat certain parts of government as sacred cows, not to be messed with? I ask these questions because it can’t be just simply advocating voting a party besides the JLP or PNP into office. You and I and most folks with half a brain know that folks who have benefited and are benefiting from the status quo will not readily accept any changes that would place them on an equal footing with other folks in society in terms of access to government services. I’m not, in any way, implying that Jamaica does not need someone else besides the butt-holes from either the JLP or PNP to lead us but rather if we’re prepared to stop engaging in the self-flagellation and self-immolation in regard to the aforementioned parties.

  2. The NDM was a colossal failure and needs to be buried with the WPJ and CPJ. The NDM never fielded enough candidates to be a threat to the two-party system; they never won a single seat. The electorates’ response showed that despite charismatic leadership, JA votes along party lines. Further, during the NDM’s most active period, both the PNP and JLP had created a buffer against third-parties by activating young adults in their parties and empowering back-benchers.

    Season for a viable third party is here, but it cannot be with the NDM. Unlike the US’ Tea Party, there is no charismatic leader or common causes to rally around that are not being tackled by either the JLP or PNP. Therefore, changes in JA politics have to be made within the folds of the JLP and PNP. This means that each party will have to groom new, bright, energetic, pragmatic, and vibrant leaders, and not let the old guard corrupt or push them out.

    Unfortunately, Jamaica is still in mental slavery. We continue to: Run Down, Mash Up, Destroy, or Sell to foreigners what our fore parents painstakingly created and developed with high standards. We have a problem with leaving a legacy for the future and building a foundation for our children. It is not until we heal this national psychosis that we will be able to know, understand, and appreciate positive directions and progressive leadership.

  3. Both the JLP and the PNP have proven themselves colossal failures in their efforts at nation building. The NDM didn’t even get off the ground because everything rested on Bruce Golding. No party can afford to rest its raison d’etre on a single individual. Given an infusion of new blood, new membership with bold and viable leadership, the NDM could chart Jamaica into less turbulent waters than the JLPNP have steered and held it for close to five decades. We need to stop reinforcing this idea that it has to be one of these two corroded entities that can head any restoration program.

    Your statement: “… each party will have to groom new, bright, energetic, pragmatic, and vibrant leaders, and not let the old guard corrupt or push them out” needs to be carefully reviewed, for who will groom these “new, bright, energetic, pragmatic and vibrant leaders” but the same old guard? How can they “groom” any neophyte when they themselves have been schooled only in political representation under threat, promise of easy money or a curry, or the bore of an AK-47? Sadly, even the young blood currently among the ranks of both parties have already been “groomed” by the old heads. Contaminated. At what should have been a pivotal moment in our history, when Heather Robinson had the guts to stand and publicly declare her unwillingness to tow the party line, “hug up donmanship” and undergo the usual “grooming”, NOT a single soul from either Party stood with her. Not one. They were all comfortable with their dirty hands…”les mains sales, jusqu’au coudes” ..dirty hands, up to the elbows.

    No sir, none of these unrepentant politicians deserve another opportunity. And if we do allow them another chance at further impoverishing our once well-endowed country, under some flimsy excuse that we can’t overcome a buffer to protect a two-party system that appears to be in collusion to ensure the status quo remains undisturbed, then we undoubtedly deserve 40 more years of hell.

  4. You said in parallel, what I said in my last paragraph that is: “Jack Mandora, mi nuh choose nun” or “No better pork, no better barrel.” Ergo, there is no reason to expect any party, whether NDM, WPJ, CPJ, JLP, or PNP, to make a difference with the infusion of “new wine” into “old wineskins.” Such sarcastic fatalism betrays the call for change while crying that the “sky is falling.”

    Well I am a proponent of organizational change and development. I believe in, accept change, and recognize when change is blowing. If one holds the view that the NDM can change, then one must by logic accept that the JLP and PNP can also change. Change does not depend only on new leadership and new blood, but can be achieved by glasnost and perestroika.

    Change does not have to be driven by inside force only, but is also be driven by outside force. Dudus-gate is a clear example of this as even though both Bruce and Trevor spoke out against the affair between criminals and politicians, internal change could not be easily achieved but needed external forces to act as stimulus for change to eliminate garrison politics.

    You may know the phrase “quitters never win; winners never quit.” With great respect to Heather and her achievements, she should have stood her ground as a bulwark for change. She can still do so now that change is blowing into JA. Gone un-noticed, are the stance against corruption and inefficient governance by Judges Pusey and Mangatal; they are change agents.

    Finally, everyone makes mistakes but in time (short or long) learn, adopt, or change. The same goes for organizations that experience learning curves in which they can fail then are resurrected or fade and be revived. Organizations are made up of people and structures/systems which have to individually change for the whole to change. Jamaicans need to welcome change.

  5. I believe that a third party will never receive much support in Jamaica in the near future because, for one, the two-party system has become so entrenched in the political psyche of Jamaicans that they do not see politics as existing without either the PNP or the JLP. From very early we are lectured about our “two party democracy”. Many Jamaicans also see political parties as organs of distribution of largesse and feel that going outside the circle by electing, say, an NDM candidate would doom them to political exile. Those who fund political parties and who are the real shakers and movers, again, will not give their hard-earned cash to a political party that is unable to give them quid pro quo.

    Building a third party will take time, a very long time. It will take a group of dedicated young people and a charismatic leader, who are in it for the long haul. Unfortunately, young people with political ambitions are not prepared to wait for a day in the future when they can be a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary right now; and, as has been said before, they get tutored by the same people who now hold positions of power and influence in the two parties.

  6. There can be a viable third party in Jamaica but I believe that where we’re getting it wrong is believing that they have to win an election. I believe if they can win at least a quarter of the available seats then they’ll be in a position to make a difference in government and governance. This assumes that both the JLP and PNP split the remaining seats close to evenly. I believe that the J’can electorate is more sophisticated and more savvy than folks would like to believe and I believe that events of the last year have proven this, to some degree. What any viable third party in Ja. needs is not just someone who’s charismatic to lead them but also someone who’s competent. Ja. has had its share of charismatic leaders who have demonstrated charisma can only get one so far before they’re exposed to be nothing but something approximating empty shells. Portia Simpson-Miller is seen as charismatic but how many folks really and truly believe she’s anything approaching a good leader?

  7. The pace of reform is not easily predicted. It can happen within a year or a much longer time. Inside and outside forces may create barriers to reform, or speed it up. The PNP, in my opinion, is on a trajectory for reform as they abandoned the economic side of Democratic Socialism and embraced Monetary Policy, while the JLP is stuck in old school, Keynesian thinking. The JLP continues to embrace the Westminster Model, which has passed it usefulness in Jamaica.

    The NDM, unfortunately, hinged itself upon persons who temporally left their parties to test the political waters. If it was comprised mainly of persons not aligned to the major and minor parties, it could have grown to be a viable third-party. Based on our constitution, the only role a third party may have is in a coalition government. Had hegemonic forces not prevailed in the 1980’s, a coalition could have occurred with the PNP and WPJ (that actively canvassed for the PNP).

    The NDM was formed from the poison or challenges within the dominant parties. In reaction, those parties adapted (JLP), adopted (PNP), or atrophied (WPJ & CPJ). As noted above, both the PNP and JLP moved to give their “back-benchers” a greater voice; thus, forming internal third-parties. Sir Robert Lightbourne’s LPJ could have formed a coalition with the JLP had the PNP not prevailed. Sadly, his progressive ideas and plans, perished with his passing.

  8. I disagree with the statement that “both the JLP and the PNP have proven themselves colossal failures in their efforts at nation building.” Both parties: led us from colonialism to independence; built JA infrastructure to include schools and low cost housing for newly enfranchised Jamaicans; developed Health and Social programs for the destitute and illiterate; brought us new technology; and expanded our industries including Tourism and Bauxite. The NDM made no contributions.

    The pace of reform is not easily predicted. It can happen within a year or a much longer time. Inside and outside forces may create barriers to reform, or speed it up. The PNP, in my opinion, is on a trajectory for reform as they abandoned the economic side of Democratic Socialism and embraced Monetary Policy, while the JLP is stuck in old school, Keynesian thinking. The JLP continues to embrace the Westminster Model, which has passed it usefulness in Jamaica.

    The NDM, unfortunately, hinged itself upon persons who temporally left their parties to test the political waters. If it was comprised mainly of persons not aligned to the major and minor parties, it could have grown to be a viable third-party. Based on our constitution, the only role a third party may have is in a coalition government. Had hegemonic forces not prevailed in the 1980’s, a coalition could have occurred with the PNP and WPJ (that canvassed for the PNP).

    The NDM was formed from the poison or challenges within the dominant parties. In reaction, those parties adapted (JLP), adopted (PNP), or atrophied (WPJ and CPJ). As noted above, both the PNP and JLP moved to give their “back-benchers” a greater voice; thus, forming internal third-parties. As our political system continues to develop and our people continue to search for new thinking with greater openness, viable third-parties can be formed or be no longer needed.

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