Devon Dick: Andrew’s Dream
Andrew Holness, prime minister-designate, during the recent general election campaign stated that he had a dream. Some thought he was trying to evoke the memory of Martin Luther King Jr, famed USA civil-rights activist, and not realising that he was tapping into popular singer Nesbeth's My Dream. He was identifying with aspirations of the young.
This solidarity with the young was played out in the advertisements which featured many young and new candidates such as Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, Floyd Green, etc. He was promoting a dream team of new and younger faces. In addition, a main campaign spokesman was the articulate and young Matthew Samuda, who said the strategy was spearfishing at the marginal seats. In addition, there was experienced 80-year-old Mike Henry as campaign director. Henry was the campaign director when, in the 1990s, JLP leader Edward Seaga decided to boycott the local government elections and Henry led the campaign and did a creditable job.
Holness encouraged the populace to dream again with his prosperity message. There was the promise of 250,000 jobs, tax relief and significant increase in minimum wage. Gone was the bitter medicine of the 2011 campaign. He concretised the dream by promising all workers who earn $1.5m or less to pay no income tax. It was also specific in telling persons what projects they could do and how it would be funded with the additional $18,000 to be had from not paying income tax. The promise was also time bound; to start April 1. In addition, there was an outline of which industries will provide the jobs. Even Andrew's Big House he turned into a call to persons to have their dream house and build it. He sold his dream and believed in his dream.
Holness' performance has confounded the critics within the JLP who were claiming that he could not win a general election and could not get funding from private-sector interests. That was a strange position by some JLP leaders because in the last two years Holness was only behind in the opinion polls for very short periods. He is now king of JLP and argument done!
In my January 7 column in which I was mentioning potential candidates for personalities for 2015, I said, "Juliet Holness entering representational politics... while husband under pressure over their house [was]... a courageous decision for a family and caused excitement in the country." Dreamers will take risk and it has paid off with a historic victory for a party leader and wife, a first in the Western world!
Hopefully, some of the wishful-thinking analysis on politics would be put to bed, such as claiming that low voter turnout favours the governing party because election 2007 had the lowest aggregate voter turn-out and the governing party lost; 2011 had the lowest percentage turnout up to then and the governing party lost, and the same goes for 2016. In addition, that a prime minister having the power to call the election gives too much advantage to the prime minister and it flies in the face of the reality, in that, the last three prime ministers who 'called it' have lost 'it'.
Perhaps there will be in-depth analysis such as from Bill Johnson, Gleaner pollster, who, in predicting that Bobby Montague and Juliet Holness would win their seats, advanced the argument that they were seen in the constituencies far more than their opponents.
After many years, Nesbeth 'buss' as an artiste with his song My Dream having the lyrics 'my dream is to live my dream'. Holness is living his dream. Like him and Nesbeth, many other Jamaicans need to dream and be able to live their dreams.
- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.