Monday, May 17, 2010

The Symbol of Democracy?

The predicament that the Jamaica Labour Party, the government and the people of Jamaica now face is no longer about truths, lies and omissions. It has become about humility, respect and courage.

The leading Jamaica Labour Party for what appears to be political posterity has taken it upon themselves to fight steadfastly the extradition of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke. So committed have they been to this fight that they have risked their governance, their relationship with the Jamaican people and the integrity of the party.

Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke is like an urban legend to many- we may never see him or encounter his humanity in the flesh but the power of his presence we will always be aware of. However, any hopes of saying internally as Jamaican nation “Dudus must go” have been erased by Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s fear of his constituent member.

It is this fear that has given birth to the lies, the omissions and the cries for the truths. Yet, the governing political party being lead astray by old men from the old guard has failed to find humility. The JLP dogs have stood toe to toe with a media fraternity that is obviously disgusted with their behaviour and as I listened to Samuda and Baugh’s press conference last evening, the lesson to be learnt is this.

Our political parties must stop playing Russian Roulette with each other and stand up and answer to the people. The indiscretions of the People’s National Party do not justify the indiscretions of the Jamaica Labour Party. As such the Prime Minister and the Jamaica Labour Party are both arrogant and wrong.

The behaviour displayed by Karl Samuda and Dr. Ken Baugh affirms the disrespect for the Jamaican people whom they serve. However, this seed of disrespect was sewn by us- the people. We exalt political leaders; we make excuses for them granting them the permission to be corrupt and not face the consequences of negative actions. Our political leaders will never be humble until they are forced to answer the tough and unfavourable questions.

So what happens now? The Prime Minister resigns; and then what? It seems no one has the answer to the “and then what”.

Resignation is a humble action indeed and a sign of the acceptance of his wrong; a symbol of democracy. On the other side, what does an apology say? The unfortunate reality is our political landscape does not offer us the luxury of a blanket resignation. The political tribalism is simply too great.

In this particular predicament a resignation would be the more cowardice of choices. Prime Minister Bruce Golding standing up and apologising is a more courageous act if and only if, he turns away from arrogance. Stay in power and fix your mess Mr. Golding because before you overreached as a Prime Minister this was not a mess.

But then in the face of political leaders realising that they answer to the people- which is the greater symbol of democracy- a resignation or an apology? Sigh.


  1. Apologies are only worthwhile if they are sincere and if tangible, measurable action follows which is consistent with the apology. Resignation, on the other hand, is effective and its effect substantial. The point of insisting on the PM's resignation, for me, is to lay down a line in the sand that no political party or leader can cross now or in the future.

  2. Resignation sets a precedent. In the future any time a leader is caught with his pants down sleeping with a criminal he will have to go. If he stays, then future leaders will cite to this event and stay and defend themselves. This precedent of accountability is not the end but it is the beginning.

    This will also demonstrate to the Jamaican people the strength of their voice. It is about time political leaders felt accountable to the voices of everyday Jamaicans.