Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Brian-Paul Welsh | Playing the fool

Published:Tuesday | October 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM

While the nation continued its march into oblivion with wanton murders, general disorder and a struggling economy, members of the ruling elite could be seen merrily gallivanting along the north coast in a protracted race to secure the throne for one of their prized sons with ambitions of joining the ranks of political leadership. Watching this masquerade for the privileged as it unfolded outside its regular silly season revealed the depths to which those of high standing will stoop to find favour with gullible peasants.

For those unfamiliar with the cultural habits of the slavemaster's children, while drunk on power and in the heights of ecstasy, many have been known to disrobe and perform acts of public vulgarity typically associated with the subordinates they love to scorn. Ordinarily, we can observe such rich frolic maybe once a year, on Carnival Sunday, when many gather to watch the awesome display of 'stocious' socialites jumping and splitting, wining and dining in scanty apparel as they celebrate another season of blessings. Similarly, in the weeks leading up to the by-election in South East St Mary, as those in control and those so minded became increasingly inebriated from the noxious fumes of power, a few lost control of their sturdy gait and stiff upper lip, getting caught up in the moment and displaying behaviour typically unbecoming of those above the fray.




As is now customary in this twilight zone of island politics, the few with any reason to celebrate in this increasingly depressed state made fools of themselves as they paraded 'round the island beckoning to the commoners to accept a charming alien implant as their new leader. This series of immodest performances and common tricks temporarily disrupted life for residents in rural and forgotten Jamaica and shone a light on the conditions those in the shadows are forced to accept, the things the foreign visitors vow to miraculously improve should they be accepted.

Eddie Seaga, former chef illusionist, hit the road to add support to prince charming and his prosperity gospel. Despite looming mortality, Seaga's sacrifice of his remaining zeal breathed life into a desperate situation showing that the ghost of pork-barrel politics truly has no expiry date. This set the stage for the appearance of the new messiah and it came to pass that the prince of prosperity looked down from the clouds, exposed his sole, and waded gingerly through murky waters, meeting the village folk on their turf. Of course, this miraculous moment was captured and quickly spread as the stuff of legend with none brave enough to mention that the emperor has no shoes.




That the prime minister of Jamaica in 2017 had to walk barefoot through rivers and over dirt roads to find any common ground with those he promised a better life ought rightfully be perceived as a matter of shame, but for this new generation of spin doctors, it presented the perfect opportunity to fabricate a picture of his down-to-earth accessibility despite it truly being an exposÈ of how decades of political tomfoolery has benefited the fortunate while leaving the poor just as unfortunate as their slave ancestors. Rather than achieving its desired effect of displaying light-hearted comradeship with our countrymen, instead, the last few weeks of campaigning exposed the contempt of the ruling class for those they seek to exploit.

Just when many thought things couldn't get any lower, in an effort not to be outdone, the PNP canvassed the crowd at a last-minute rally and found the apparently dishevelled and evidently discontented brother of the opposing candidate, giving him a microphone to unleash his unfiltered analysis of his sibling's character. Cheekily defaming the not-so-poor politician in a manner best described as indefensible, the crowd lapped up insult after insult exalting the winning performance, declaring in local parlance that he 'Dunn' him!

The day after the election, when the belly laughter subsides, and stomachs begin to growl again, will memories of the previous week's fun flood the minds of the poorest and most vulnerable like the rivers in South East St Mary when it rains? Probably not, which means the playmakers will continue to revise and improve their ingenious strategies to trick the indigenous population into doing their bidding. Hopefully one day soon, we will all realise the folly in this game of thrones, and see who wins and who loses when ordinary folk are played for fools by those supposedly in control.

- Brian-Paul Welsh is a writer and public affairs commentator. Send feedback to and