Tue | Jan 21, 2020

Jaevion Nelson | More than a flicker of hope

Published:Saturday | November 10, 2018 | 12:00 AM
An impassioned Prime Minister Andrew Holness giving a motivational speech to students at Penwood High School on November 6 as part of the Kingston and St Andrew Development and Homecoming Foundation's Student Motivation and Empowerment Programme in 40 schools.

There is a palpable sense of hope sweeping across the country.

Unemployment is at a record low. Net international reserves are the highest they have ever been since Independence - US$3 billion. The debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to fall below 100 per cent of GDP for the first time since 2000. Tax revenues continue to outperform the Government's budget at 3.6 per cent above target and the Jamaican dollar continues to revalue against the USD.

Di dutty stil tuff fi nuff a wi, but we have much to celebrate.

The challenge for the Government is to ensure that all Jamaicans benefit fully and equally from the progress that is taking place, so fewer people go dem bed hungry a nite time and dem pickney nuh go school hungry a mawning time.




If the country continues on this trajectory, history will certainly be very kind to Prime Minister Holness and his team. Already, there seems to be much approval among many Jamaicans for the work they're doing. When I talk to people and overhear conversations in public spaces, they sound, in large part, pleased with what seems to be a sense of urgency to get things done. The infrastructural development, roadworks included, is a major talking point, as well as the calibre of new politicians he has been bringing into the party.

Earlier this week, I was at the Passport, Immigration & Citizenship Agency (PICA) and heard some people talking about the work that is being done and they were particularly pleased to point out all the roads that were being resurfaced. Later in the week, a conversation with some colleagues echoed similar sentiments.

Andrew ratings tall star. People are also pleased with the work being done by his ministers. Health Minister Christopher Tufton, Finance Minister Nigel Clarke, Agriculture & Fisheries Minister Audley Shaw and State Minister Floyd Green are names that are frequently mentioned in such conversations. Floyd is especially impressive to many people. He is relatable, smart, bold, and what he says resonates with people bigly.

Unlike the PNP, people I've encountered are generally pleased with the public relations being done. They feel it is necessary for politics and good governance and are happy to have access to more information about what's happening. Importantly, they often acknowledge the work done by the previous administration to lay the foundation for some of what is being done, particularly where the economy is concerned.

Overall, they think there is still room for lots of improvement by Holness and his team in terms of what they are doing, how they go about it, and the extent to which the populace benefits.

The PNP will, therefore, have a tough time convincing the people to vote for them if they do not change their strategy. With all that is happening, it seems to me that the PNP's duty, at this time in its 80th year, isn't necessarily to point out the Government's flaws and what they had in the pipeline, but to demonstrate they can build on what is being done now and that it has sound ideas it can deliver on to make life better. It has to rid itself of the old way of doing politics and embrace a new approach that isn't founded on finger-pointing and glorifying one man. People need to hear your ideas and buy into what you are proposing.

The people are hankering to see and hear more of Damion Crawford, Lisa Hanna, Raymond Pryce, Julian Robinson and Mikael Phillips, in whom they have much hope.

Kudos to Holness and his team. Hope and action are definitely what Jamaicans need at this time.

- Jaevion Nelson is a human rights, social and economic justice advocate. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and jaevion@gmail.com or tweet @jaevionn.