Daniel Thwaites | Bitten by mosquito politics
"Now, every single Jamaican, Portmore, I am speaking to you - if a mosquito has ever bitten you in your life, do not vote for the PNP."
Those words by Kenisha Allen, JLP candidate and former councillor for the Spanish Town division, have stirred up a fair amount of ribaldry and entertainment. I think she meant it as a comment on the management of public health, but many heard it as a throwback to a stark division between all things Comrade and all things Labour: "Dung to de mosquito dem inna Portmore is PNP!"
Evidently that's how Everton Fisher, former PNP mayor of Black River, heard it, because he contended in reply that: "We cannot, at this time in our nation's history, be talking about whether PNP mosquito or JLP mosquito."
You sure? It seems like that's exactly what we're doing.
I think if you really look into what she is saying, the candidate has clearly been studying her folk poetry. So she decided to folk up de place:
Maskita one, maskita two,
Candidate jump inna hot Malahoo
I mean callalloo. It's just that I miss the good old days when Malahoo was the reliable source of these types of sayings.
Basically, Kenisha's message was that Angela Brown Burke can galang wid har PhD. Kenisha is so clever that she has given herself a PhD in political microbiology after arriving at the stunning discovery that the mosquitoes of Portmore are PNP. Look here, from another angle, y'know, it's full time now we celebrate the discoveries of these young scientists and give them a chance.
And to be fair, if Kenisha was allowed to elaborate, maybe we would learn that affiliation is based on which garrison the mosquito hails from. Or it might be the mosquito's gang! There might be some One Order mosquitoes and some Klansman mosquitoes. The key issue there is that one should never try to swat any of those special ones, for they are always ably defended by even larger stinging insects in the courts.
Anyhow, to peek backwards a bit, there was a time when it was proudly announced "dat dung to de dawg inna mi yard is Cumred!", or "dung to de puss inna mi house haffi seh Showa!" But the general consensus was that this was a waning practice. The whole tribalism thing was supposed to be passe, outa fashion, so yesterday, last week, last year, and all that.
And I think it is a provable fact that there are fewer political dogs and cats roaming the streets and lanes of the island, and if you are unlucky enough to be growled at, barked at, chased, set upon, scratched, bitten, or even (God forbid) mauled, the first inquiry wouldn't nowadays be about the political affiliation of the animal.
At least I thought that was the new way of seeing things, even though I've noticed that the new system has showed some strains. For example, let's not forget the canine that marched in support of Dudus. He was a fresh reminder that we're always on the verge of a throwback. Also, I just get a sneaking feeling that that dawg is somewhere waiting to emerge again.
Seriously, this sort of thing is not what anyone was tuning into the local government debate to hear. I thought we were shaking our collective heads at the USA where you can get a man like Trump dropping these sorts of classifications. Or is it that we have a Trumpian communicator?
If so, let me suggest the next major issue after the insects: "We're gonna build a wall, and Tivoli is gonna pay for it!" To be honest, based on the stories I'm reading about policemen pinned down again, and based on the video being posted everywhere with the gunshot weh a lick inna Tivoli, a wall doesn't sound like the worst idea at the moment.
EVEN THE ANIMALS DIVIDED
But back to the issue. Fact is, for all we know, the animal population of the country may be hopelessly divided by political affiliation. We don't speak their languages very well and the media haven't made it a priority to find out what their ideas are, or what their preferences are in terms of governance.
That's not to say that they don't give us hints. For example, I'm now convinced that the jackass population is pretty evenly divided between the two camps.
But more to the point, I remember when Andrew was requesting for Portia to come and walk the streets of the garrison with him. That plan obviously isn't going to work if when even a likkle beenie mosquito juk somebody, the first question is going to be: "Is a PNP or Labourite mosquito dweet?"
Have we also considered that maybe it's all this talk of eliminating them that's causing the mosquitoes to act up? Like the scammers, they clearly have more political clout than would at first appear. Look at how they have injected their issues into the national conversation.
Realistically, I'm guessing most people who heard the mosquito comment immediately thought to themselves: "An annoying insect that feeds off of others and needs to be repelled before it gets into your house and community!" That's my councillor! That might be the first thought. But most level-headed people would have put that thought aside as unnecessarily cynical.
Except that when the debate devolves into who got bitten by a PNP or JLP vermin, pest, or insect, you can't blame the public for growing ever more cynical. Especially if the political young are hatching a new infestation of what is recognisably the same old set of diseases.
- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.