Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding needs to do some dusting of his cabinet. But only after he’s dusted himself off. The abundance of divisive nonsense-statements that he and his band of ministers seem to come up with is drawing more than ribaldry from a nervous and watchful public.
Following his diagnosis of “termites” in the brain of his political opponents, his observation of “extortion” practices among those in the teaching profession and his now-famous “no gays in my cabinet” affirmation on British television, Golding has bred an expectation among his critics, and even in some supporters, of issuing ad hominem knee-jerk statements that in the past have only succeeded in devaluing his political currency, and continue to widen the chasm that political affiliation has already created among the nation’s citizens.
Like past US President George W. Bush made himself the poster boy for mangled speeches and malapropisms, and Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin the advocate of statements that went nowhere, Golding, once believed to be the last hope for Jamaica, is fast emerging as the whipping-boy of his cabinet, paying penance for the baseless utterances of his ministers.
The latest inanity fell from the lips of Member of Parliament for South West St. Ann Ernest Smith, who suggested that homosexuals should be denied permits for firearms. Why? Because they are violent people. Said Mr. Smith: “I am very concerned at the extent to which homosexual activities seem to have overtaken this country … that homosexuals in Jamaica have become so brazen, they’ve formed themselves into organizations and are abusive, violent and something that the Ministry of National Security must look into is why is it that so many homosexuals are licensed firearm holders.”
Then Smith stuffed his foot even further down his throat by pointing out that according to reports he had read, the police force had been “overrun by homosexuals”. Another reason for a witch-hunt, or possibly a group on which to blame the current wave of police brutality and corruption; another case of foot-in-mouth disease from another prehensile mind that has grabbed hold of a phobia bordering on national hysteria, conveniently used to distract the Jamaican public from a bankrupt government’s emerging failure to inspire a nation whose spirit has lost its luster.
The few sparks of brilliance (remind me of them, please) that Golding has displayed in communicating a message of hope to his constituents, have been snuffed out by his weighty silence on other important issues. The Jamaican public is now more interested in observing wide-eyed the progress of new American President Barack Obama, awakening to what constitutes good governance, through his action-oriented first weeks in office, his intent to engage his constituents, to keep his finger on the public pulse, bridging the political divide, moving in lockstep with a still-captivated electorate, and silencing detractors with his dexterity in harnessing the energy and momentum of a successful election campaign.
With Obama’s every thoughtful, premeditated move, whether prudent or not, Jamaicans are being made more aware of what they are missing, and it deepens the sourness of Golding’s half-hearted attempts at communication with them. His radio call-in program had sparked brief interest before it descended into just another self-stroking exercise of seeming to address individual gripes and complaints, making no significant dent in tackling issues and dealing with concerns of national importance.
Watching President Obama choose his cabinet was pure drama, but it also brought home to many observers, how even after the benefit of an extended period spent in opposition, the Prime Minister’s exercise of assigning ministers to ministries was still such a charade that has resulted in a few casualties. We see our future in the hands of mostly elderly men, sluggish, tired and uninspired, when the nation needs a bright, energetic visionary to inspire it out of the doldrums. Jamaicans have also become acutely aware of the frailties of the Westminster system of government which has tended to bolster the tribalism that has hallmarked (or pock-marked) Jamaican politics since independence in 1962.
The Prime Minister’s increasing unpopularity also finds its source in his propensity to vacillate over the simplest of decisions, his lack of follow up regarding outstanding issues (the Tivoli shooting of Five in January 2007 still remains a mystery) and an apparent stubbornness in appointing a qualified Public Relations advisor. Only an unqualified advisor, if any at all, could have allowed the abundance of PR unforgivables with which he has been littering the political highway.
The burning issue is: If Golding doesn’t succeed, what options exist for Jamaica? Does the electorate return to the polls to replace him and his team with the architects of the nation-building plan that was a non-starter after eighteen tortuous years? In this time of great economic uncertainty, without the nation’s fiscal state and the vision for rescue plans laid bare to them, Jamaicans are waking up to the reality that the promise of a “new course” has led to the same gully, and that Golding’s pre-election glitter has gone with the wind.
Good article Kadene. Mr Golding, his ministers and MPs have perfected the art of majoring in the minors and minoring in the majors.
An excellent piece Kadene! Apparently, there are no exits for Jamaica, at least, not at this juncture. Undoubtedly, Jamaica seems to be caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Or, to phrase it in another manner, Jamaica is definitely caught between a rock and a hard place. Indeed, the coming fury/turbulence is inevitable.
[…] statements from a member of the Jamaica Prime Minister's cabinet prompts Abeng News Magazine's Kadene Porter to say: “The abundance of divisive nonsense-statements that he and his […]
YAWN… this too will be forgotten
No gays in my cabinet either. A lot of you Jamaicans living abroad are quite quick to adopt the nastiness of Western ‘elitism”. This is exactly why Arabs dislike the west.
As long as you can be pushing your pelvis in some man’s face at Carnival, or dropping out of your clothes at a cocktail party, as long as it is a WHITE MAN perversion, you are happy to accept it. Thank GOD Golding has the courage of his convictions!
It is cute now for the usually GOD fearing Jamaican to support children born out of wedlock, boys prostituting themselves, whores selling themselves to tourists and others (sorry, they are commercial sex workers)
You have indeed become a nasty bunch when you can tolerate the thought of a man’s penis reaming another’s ass in the name of LOVE.
So sophisticated! So erudite! WOW! But certainly NOT Jamaican.
Mr Golding is dividing WHOM? The 300 gays in Jamaica from the other 3.5 million? I can assure you that others like us are about to rise and put a stop to the slackness. While you gay and straight run up and down, looking money, cheating on wives, husbands and “partners” and insulting God Almighty in the name of “tolerance” there is a core of us that knows that this too shall pass.
Faith – You had better be careful in respect the Jamaican Broadcasting Commission that chose to focus on dance styles and lyrics regarding human sexuality, rather than actions and lyrics that prescribe beating gay men, raping lesbians, and murdering informers; they may rule your comments a violation of their self-imposed ethics. I don’t know about you, but I first learned about maama man, two-pot covers, and Go-Go in Jamaica.
It would appear that you suffer from a Jamaican resident form of “elitism” with your generalized comments. Simply living in another country does not mean you adopt, much less accept, their lifestyles. In fact, there have always been ample opportunities in Jamaica to adopt unhealthy, deeming, and abominable lifestyles; and, this is increasing as time rolls on especially with faster media and access to many questionable sources.
You should study Arab art and history as their societies were know for homosexuality and other depravities; it is Islam that claimed to be against such behaviors, but even in some Islamic States, male prisoners are buggered by guards as part of their interrogation while women are repeatedly raped. Your will also find that many Islamic States not only diminish women via illiteracy, but consider them the lowest form of humanity.
Bruce had no choice but to say that he would not appoint homosexuals to his cabinet. Had he said otherwise, he would have been advised, by dance hall vocalists, to find an English cork then run and jump over the Victoria Pier. He was being politically correct, but that does not mean that there is no closet, bi, or down-low activities going on… Anyway, Kadene’s article was not about private lifestyles but about political behavior.
I have always maintained that the JLP would not have returned to office anytime soon had the NEC not selected Portia via plurality, rather than via a run-off election – she did not have the support of the majority of party delegates. The PNP gave Bruce a victory that he never earned – he never won a parliamentary seat as NDM President. Therefore, although he may be a good man, I do not have high expectations for him at this time.
Politics is a strange animal, as the politicians strategize to gain power and influence, while the electorate may vote comprehensively, single issue, or a mix. However, Obama’s rise in the American system may well be the stimulus for true reform in Jamaica’s politics and governance. Mass media and the Internet connect us all, and give us lessons in POL/PAD101: Politics and Administration that we never had before.
We as a people need to be less gullible, and recognize and acknowledge our Creator given skills and abilities. We need to stop looking for a single person to change things and recognize that change is within us and not beyond us. “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds”, “Open up your eyes and see, inside is your reality; Open up your eyes and see, what you see can be your reality.”
Give Us Vision Lest We Perish,
Richard G. Williams
What is this paradox where, for all the high morals of Jamaicans, of all the countries in the world, the country ranks as the third most murderous? I think it would serve my home-based countrymen well to indulge themselves in some soul-searching, to pinpoint the source of their bloodlust and hatred for each other. I never see this kind of maniacal reaction when kids are murdered or children’s decapitated heads are found in crocus bags. Seems like the fury is reserved for the gays.
Jamaica is one sorry nation, focusing on this when there are so many other pressing matters.
Nice article, Kadene. This is a problem with the so-called leaders Jamaica has had for the last almost 18 yrs now. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here: Bruce Golding has realised his lifelong ambitions – he’s become leader of the JLP and PM of Jamaica. Now, he can die a happy man for having achieved both positions. Now that I think about it, that’s all one could write on his head stone.
As for Ernest Smith’s rants about homosexuals, well he’s just one more in a line of fools and hypocrites that have come to prominence for all the wrong reasons. It also proves that ignorance and stupidity are not exclusive to the PNP but are alive, well and thriving in the governing JLP and we all wonder why Jamaica is where it is.
Kadene, in answer to the question in the last paragraph, unfortunately, Jamaica’s options are very limited in terms of leadershiip. We know it’s not Portia and in my personal opinion it’s Peter Phillips. Beyond that, I’m afraid it will have to be a generational change and someone younger with less baggage will have to step up to the plate. The question then becomes: who is such a person and will Jamaicans have enough trust in them to elect them leader?
This assumes that this individual is prepared to come in and clean house and make the needed changes to get Jamaica on a sounder moral, social, and economic/financial footing. It is glaringly apparent that the present folks don’t possess the fortitude, attitude and aptitude to do this.
I share your sentiments Trevor. The tragedy is that too many of the young hopefuls have been schooled by the uninspired, and come into the political arena with similar approaches and attitudes. Their political success and accession to power within the party are based on how well they toe the party line. They have to prove their mettle, and it is this initiation that may taint them or temper whatever idealism they started out with.
[…] is now also calling to outlaw J-FLAG. Some Caribbean bloggers are calling for both Golding and Smith to resign, while others hope this latest incident will make […]