Fri | Jul 3, 2020

Mark Wignall | Krystal Tomlinson stubborn but redeemable

Published:Thursday | May 23, 2019 | 12:00 AM

The demons haunting a young politician like People’s National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) President Krystal Tomlinson are those which speak to her carving out her own piece of influence in the PNP leadership, especially when the PNP president, Dr Peter Phillips, is finding himself in opinion polls as a political second place to prime minister Andrew Holness. Constantly.

Many may not assess it in the way that I have but it doesn’t take advanced degrees to see that the continued inability of a political leader to gain electoral traction will eventually force second-tier personnel and important people like Tomlinson to go out on a limb and run the risk of making fools of themselves. Or attaining the objective of nudging the main leadership back to public relevance.

The young woman crashed into the most absurd thoughts that an early morning nightmare could give by comparing Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness to Adolf Hitler. What the lady ought to have known is that, as she has insisted, there is no part of Hitler’s history that is not so bad as the other parts.

Like plunging the world into a bloody conflict which saw about 85 million lives lost. Like building ovens to decimate millions of Jews. According to Ms Tomlinson, she was specifically targeting Hitler’s usurpation of the German constitution before his rabid, genocidal days.

‘A CUT ABOVE THE REST’

As PNPYO president, the nation does not expect the young woman to be an expert in all matters, local, international and historical. But, she must be seen most times as being a cut above the rest and a mentor to those in the PNP who want to chart bold, new directions.

In this, she must demonstrate plain, good sense. Last Friday, when I interviewed her on Cliff Hughes Online, it did not surprise me that she just about doubled down and poured cold water on her earlier apology. She is a stubborn young woman.

Certainly, if she genuinely believes that PM Andrew Holness thinks lightly of the Jamaican Constitution and has been trying to upend it, she could have mentioned other despots, some even home-grown, in the region.

Once she made the comparison between Hitler and Holness, no one was in the mood to recall that Hitler loved at least one dog and, in his private emotional moments, his obsession with his niece Gelli so smothered her that she committed suicide. The comparison laid bare the absolute evils of Hitler and she should have settled at the apology. She should have accepted the error of her ways and unreservedly apologise.

In the ‘apology anthology’ My Bad by Slansky and Sorkin, it says in the introduction, ‘To err is human, to err in public humiliating. Or so you would think. There was a time, after all, when bad behaviour was judged harshly, when transgressors had the decency to be properly embarrassed and when redemption had to be sorely earned. Not anymore.’

Growing up is quite painful, and while PM Holness has outstanding matters with the Integrity Commission, and that too has to be personally embarrassing to the prime minister, Ms Tomlinson ought to know that in this instance she really doesn’t need to tackle the politician with the biggest favourability rating unless she is on very solid ground.

I state that growing up is painful out of personal experience. It is hell believing one is bright when one is 20 or in the 30s, only to find out 10 years later that most of what you believed you certainly knew was hogwash.

Krystal, there are gemstones inside of you but you must rise with the sun to see them brightly shining. Do this soon.

Mark Wignall is a political and public affairs commentator Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and mawigsr@gmail.com.