From the pipeline to built by Labour


Monday, May 21, 2018

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You could sum up the difference between the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government's approach and that of a People's National Party (PNP) Government to building a nation in this way: From the pipeline to reality.

The PNP promised Jamaicans a whole lot of things over the decades in power and at one point became known for the popular response: It's in the pipeline.

Nowhere is this clearer than when the JLP put forward the Three Miles development initiative and the swift condemnation from the PNP — up to the level of former prime minister — accusing the JLP of stealing its idea. Mark Golding had something prominently displayed on his Facebook page, too, taking credit for the idea.

Wykeham McNeill, out west, joined in on another matter. He was in agreement for a market to be commissioned in Negril after people complained about the lack of one there. I'm sure if the PNP was asked why one had not been built, the response would have been — you guessed it — It was in the pipeline.

I could go on, as the PNP has always been the party of talkers, not doers; just talk of “working, working, working”. How many ground-breaking ceremonies have we seen? The number of openings and ribbon-cuttings pales in comparison.

The JLP, on the other hand, knows how to build things. After all, the man that is credited with building the most important institutions in Jamaica — and, critically, the rebuilding of the economy of Jamaica — is Edward Seaga, the JLP's former leader. Hugh Shearer, another builder, was also a JLP-backed prime minister.

More recently, when the French construction company and the PNP could not finish the Mount Rosser bypass road, the transport minister, under a JLP Government, Mike Henry, came in and had it finished.

The JLP is not the party to say it's in the pipeline, instead it says: Built by Labour!

So it shouldn't be of any surprise to anyone when we are witnessing the JLP building things. Granted some of the things have been taken from the PNP pipeline, but that's what nation-building is about. Unlike the PNP, which found plans that the JLP left in the 60s and 80s and abandoned them and instituted their ill-thought-out replacements, the JLP is about looking at good ideas to either expand on, build out, or just straight out build.

If the PNP had been concerned about the development of Jamaica it would have at least tried harder to clear out the pipeline and build more. If the PNP truly wanted a better Jamaica it would not be critical of the Andrew Holness Administration building a project that undoubtedly will offer great benefits to Kingston and, I dare say, make Three Miles (Portia Simpson Miller Square) look First World. No sensible Jamaican would give two hoots about whose idea it was first. All Jamaicans care about is getting it built. We all just want to enjoy a fine piece of development.

If the PNP wanted to take credit for it they would have made it a priority and executed it — after all, it is in the constituency of former party leader and prime minister Portia Simpson Miller.

Don't worry, though, the great builder Andrew Holness will get it done.

In the final analysis, the JLP will continue to build Jamaica. From economics through to infrastructure, it's all the same to the 'great builder' and his team. In the immediate, medium, and long term, Jamaica will benefit. Too much was stuck in the pipeline. By the way, is that where JEEP (Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme) got stalled?

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