Columns

Poor playing from PNP

Opposition stuck in rear-view mirror

BY Carlton A Gordon

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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The latest about-face response, on Nationwide Radio , from a past and two present People's National Party (PNP) representatives on the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), Julian Robinson and Wensworth Skeffery, to allegations from former Director of Elections Orrette Fisher of political interference or influence has caused me to revisit an oft-repeated observation that many Opposition critics and knee-jerk attackers of Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his Administration may be unwittingly consigning themselves to an extended period in the “losers' circle”.

The PNP's ECJ representatives, after having previously agreed with an official ECG statement in which the ECJ said it had no evidence to support Fisher's allegations, now come across very strongly as pursuing political expedience and opportunism — which appears, so far, to be achieving nothing.

Many other criticisms of Holness and his Administration have been on the grounds of all the “bad things” that have happened in the past and are likely to happen in the future.

Case in point: The Opposition PNP's recent move to challenge the constitutionality of the proposed national identification system (NIDS); their threatening almost violent opposition to various aspects of the now popular and relatively successful states of public emergency and zones of special operations; plus their seemingly desperate (but understandable) insistence on lopsidedly apportioning blame and condemnation for what was and/or ought to have been in relation to issues at Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James.

On the other hand, it seems to me that they and Jamaica might well be better off, and could even share the 'winners' circle' with Holness, et al, if they would take a leaf out of Holness's book.

Listen closely to what Holness, in particular, and the rest of his team, generally, have said. And look at what they have been doing. For example: In his latest response to persistent calls from Opposition spokesmen and others for the Government to publish its crime plan, Holness declared that he was now beyond planning/publishing, and well into implementation.

In cricketing terms, he has advanced confidently down the wicket, like a Vivian Richards or a Chris Gayle. And, if you are the wicketkeeper, or a fielder on the other side, you have a choice. You can remain focused on trying to stump him, or run him out, or you can retrieve the ball that has been hit for six into the crowd, or have the umpires replace the ball that has been hit out of the park so that the match may continue.

A leaf from the athletics handbook may be even more appropriate considering that Holness earlier described himself and his new Administration as being in a relay. Having just received the baton from the previous runner, he was off and his team races towards the finish line, in first position, not waiting around to observe or criticise either teammates or competitors in the race.

As team leader/driver of a racing car team or even as truck drivers, he and his team are focused on the road ahead, moving at full speed, but willing to adjust to new conditions and challenges, whether familiar or unfamiliar, especially as they are faced with issues and concerns that have not been addressed for decades, but which all agree must now be resolved in short order, as much as possible.

Like all professional drivers, they check their rear-view mirrors from time to time to avoid collisions with reckless competitors trying to overtake on blind corners or to engage in other dangerous manoeuvres, without regard for passengers' welfare.

Watch Messrs Christopher Tufton, Horace Chang, Edmund Bartlett, Audley Shaw, Nigel Clarke, Ruel Reid, Robert Montague, and other members of the Holness team as they press forward with new and positive mindsets, body language, disposition, and style, not allowing themselves to be distracted or held back by naysayers and detractors, even while being mindful of and willing to address new and long-standing issues and concerns.

Indications are that there is a significant level of excitement in the crowd, with strong support and encouragement for the leading team, but there appears to be some confusion, even disorientation, among the opposing teams.

Some opposing cricketers and their supporters are suggesting that Holness should be given out, stumped, or run out because he hit the ball too hard and too far. Some athletes are engaged in quarrels about who should take the baton on their team and suggesting that Holness got an unfair advantage because of his Usain Bolt-like speed out of the blocks, and virtually single-minded focus on the road ahead after receiving the baton.

Meanwhile the opposing teams' drivers seem, generally, to be driving in reverse. Not surprisingly, as they appear to be insisting on focusing on what they see in their rear-view mirrors. Here's hoping that the necessary adjustments will be made, according to Yahweh's will, for the sake of all Jamaica.

carltongor@gmail.com

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