Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Patria-Kaye Aarons: Now Andrew has two big houses

Published:Tuesday | March 1, 2016 | 3:00 AM

See it deh! JLP win! After the PNP built an entire campaign around Andrew and his big house, the butterfly effect is that for the next four to five years, the man vilified and smeared will have two big houses: the one in Beverley Hills and the one at Vale Royal.

I can't say I'm not happy. The election results of 2016, for me, are a bigger win for Jamaica than for Andrew. I think what happened was less about voting in the JLP and more about voting out the PNP.

People were offended. Unbeknown to the former ruling party, this isn't 'PNP country', it's Jamaica. And that sense of entitlement may very well have been what cost them the election. Humble calf drink the most milk. I advise the incoming prime minister to see his office not as a seat of power, but as a seat of service.

I voted for the first time this year, and I'm glad I did. As I glance down at the last traces of purple ink in the creases of my fingernail, I'm reminded that the voices of a few can speak very loudly. As long as I'm able, I will always vote. And rest assured, my vote isn't tied to any party.

 

DAVID AND GOLIATH

Big up to the 'articulate minority'.

Around 5,600 fewer persons voted in this election, and yet two very significant things stand out to me.

1) Some 11 seats changed hands from PNP to JLP.

2) In 49 constituencies, fewer PNP supporters turned out to vote in comparison to 2011.

Arrogance turned off even the party faithfuls. Those who couldn't bear to vote for the other side simply stayed home, and the articulate minority came out for their voices to be heard. And so did David beat Goliath. It's apparent that the new-voter turnout was high, and I sincerely hope the momentum persists.

Not only those who vote for $5,000 and a free T-shirt should get to have their say.

For me, two one-term governments is not a bad thing. It says to me that, as a country, we are becoming less partisan and are now willing to vote parties out if they don't deliver on promises, manage the affairs of the country sufficiently well, and appear accountable to the people.

It may also augur well for transparency. In a former corporate life, there was a requirement that for at least one week of the year, all employees take a no-contact leave, and have someone else fill in at their desk. It was a requirement that stress-tested business continuity measures and also ensured that any irregularities could be discovered. A change in government can benefit from that same shake-up.

I also love that the House is split nearly equally. It keeps everybody on their toes, knowing the tipping point is near and also ensuring a balanced presence in Parliament.

To the new Government, here are a few issues that require urgent attention:

1) Keep the promises you made in the election. My mother and her twin brother are both teachers. They both eagerly await the removal of income tax from their pay cheques, as do thousands of other civil servants who welcome the break.

2) Prove that the removal of income tax won't cause the collapse of the economy. If it does, dog nyam yu supper.

3) Sort out water once and for all. Summer is a-coming and rains aren't guaranteed. People would like to know that showers and toilet flushing aren't under threat.

4) Make a decision about how to divest Outameni. It's still costing us unnecessarily every month.

5) Let's find a way to save Hellshire, and Negril, and Little Ochie and all our other beaches that we are losing.

6) Heal the health ministry.

7) Fix the election date.

There is little time to celebrate. First order of business, Mr Holness, is that you hold your party members accountable. Ministers and MPs within the first 90 days of appointment must set clear objectives for their terms (just like we do in corporate life). The leader of the Opposition should insist the same for her MPs. Yearly reviews must be carried out, and, oh, how awesome it would be if at the end of each year, the country was updated on the milestones that were achieved.

- Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@yahoo.com, or tweet @findpatria.