Letters to the Editor

JLP at 75 is a far cry from what it was

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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Dear Editor,

July 8, 2018 marks the 75th year since Sir Alexander Bustamante founded the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), and having served the party for over 40 years at various levels, from activism to local government, I have come to the conclusion that the party has lost its way in articulating and perpetuating “Bustamante and Bustamanteism”.

The ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is embroiled in so many acts of impropriety, scandals and perceived corruption because the party itself has totally deviated from the vision, principles, and teachings of their founder, Sir Alexander Bustamante.

The JLP today is a far cry from what it was, what it should have been, and how it should be rooted to its cause. It is not now a political party or even a movement, but rather a group of individuals, collectively morphed into a choir, singing from the same Sankey book of exclusivity.

Former party officials K A N Jones, Lynden Newland, Leopold Lynch, Arnold Jackson, E C L Parkinson, and Isaac Barrant must be turning in their graves to see what their beloved party has been relegated to. No longer is it the party that facilitates the improvement in the quality of life of the poor — the bottoms up approach to national development — or the creation of wealth for families; it is now one in which people use the name and status of the party as a vehicle for their own upward mobility, and to concretise wealth, power and fame for themselves, friends and families.

The recent announcement by the party of three candidates who will contest the next general election proves the point that the party has lost its way in courting individuals who support Bustamante or Bustamanteism. They stand for nothing except for seeing the party in State power. If the party was in the political wilderness they would never have come forward to serve.

My heart aches to see veterans like Mike Henry, Pearnel Charles, J C Hutchinson, Karl Samuda, Olivia “Babsy” Grange, and to a lesser extent Horace Chang, “Bobby” Montague, and Everald Warmington allowing themselves to be silenced in perpetuating the visions and principles of the founder of the party.

A close look at the other 27 JLP Members of Parliament and the candidates who lost in the last general election reveals that none had any connection to the principles of Bustamante, or were rooted in the cause of why the party was born out of the workers movement. They only see and use the party as a means to their end.

For those reasons, should the JLP lose State power, it may have problems in maintaining relevance as the choir will be splintered into men and women who compromised the true meaning of maintaining the party's vision and principles.

Fernandez Smith

Former JLP Councillor


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