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MP Warmington's bald, inconvenient, but ugly truth

Thursday, October 19, 2017

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Mr Everald Warmington, the St Catherine South Western Member of Parliament, is a throwback to a political past that embarrasses his party and the country every time.

He is, indeed, the ghost of Christmas past, haunting the dreams of every Jamaican who has struggled since Independence to vanquish political victimisation and the use of State funds to fatten the undeserving party supporter.

Mr Warmington did not speak with water in his mouth when he told the faithful at a rally of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in St Mary South Eastern last weekend the following:

“It makes no sense to elect a PNP (People's National Party) Member of Parliament when you have a Jamaica Labour Party Government. It is quite clear and obvious [that] if you have a Jamaica Labour Party Member of Parliament it means that he will be able to serve you far better than a PNP Member of Parliament.”

The irony in all this is that what Mr Warmington says is the bald, inconvenient, but ugly truth. It explains, perhaps, why local government or parish council elections are almost always won by the ruling party, with people feeling that voting for the Opposition party is a waste of their vote.

Jamaican politicians, like the parson, “Christen him pickney fuss,” distributing State funds not on the basis of building communities, but looking after those who voted for them in the hope of securing their re-election.

Of course, this is a stupid idea.

The politician who ensures that State money is used to create a better life for all should be more likely to retain his seat than one who is feeding some and starving others. But that is completely lost on Mr Warmington.

His outburst is stupid for another reason. It plays into the hands of those who accuse the Government of corruptly using the de-bushing and infrastructural projects in the constituency to win votes.

And it appears that those in his party who know better either do not have the will or the desire to speak against him, even when he embarrasses all of them, including his transformational prime minister and party leader who was in St Mary at that rally.

People who thought that Mr Warmington was made a minister of state in the Office of the Prime Minister to keep him circumspect now realise that there is more to the reluctance to chastise the 'labba mouth' MP.

The razor-thin, one-seat majority won by the JLP is still a serious millstone around the prime minister's neck. One MP crossing the floor would be a disaster for the JLP and could put the PNP back in power.

The promised Cabinet shuffle is highly unlikely to materialise unless the JLP can increase its majority. Voters who go to the polls in St Mary in 11 days' time might wish to consider this:

Is it better to give the PNP the win in order to have the Opposition claim it is a referendum on the unpopularity of the Government; or is it better to give the JLP the win and strengthen the hand of the prime minister to do what he should and must for the country?

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