Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Performance time for politicians - Queen Ifrica ‘happy’ for shake-up

Published:Sunday | September 6, 2020 | 12:20 AMShereita Grizzle - Staff Reporter
Queen Ifrica
Queen Ifrica

Music industry insiders are today urging politicians to let Thursday’s results at the polls serve as a huge lesson in how they handle the affairs of the people going forward. With a number of veteran politicians having lost their seat in Gordon House and others barely hanging on to power in their constituencies, some entertainment industry insiders believe that the latter should be taken as a sign that there are no longer any ‘safe seats’ in representational politics.

They expressed the view that, with some political strongholds having been dismantled at Thursday’s polls, it is an indication that the voting public is no longer selecting the leaders based on loyalty, but on performance.

Outspoken reggae artiste, Queen Ifrica, told The Sunday Gleaner that, having watched how the election unfolded, she is happy with the ‘shake-up’ that some politicians received on Thursday. She said that, for too long, the Jamaican people have allowed politicians to be rewarded with years and years in power without putting in the work in ensuring the masses are rightfully represented. “I am hopeful that this election, Jamaicans have centred themselves in this whole politics picture and are really telling politicians that, look here, ‘no badda come wid your ‘safe seat argument’ or your two likkle quart a rum and yuh big song a play and yuh likkle shake out/ because dat nah work again.

Because when unu win and gone back in, the road dem still wah fix 30 and 40 years down the line and the water still nah run inna di pipe dem, and so I am happy for this shake-up, because a lot of these names that have got shake-up, dem constituencies dem filthy and di people dem a bawl fi true. Di people dem really wah see some clean communities weh dem can function wid dem families. The basics of what life should be is entitled to every Jamaican, and that should be one of the centre pressure points by this Government going forward.”

Complacency warning

With that said, Queen Ifrica said the prime minister elect and his team should not get complacent.

She said, if there is any lesson coming out of these elections, it is that voters are not afraid to switch things up if they feel they are not being represented well. “Five years is very short and Jamaicans are some people who a lot of people think they can take for granted. But, if you know anything about our country and our people, we are some people that will love the hell outta yuh until we really see weh yuh up to,” she said.

“Now is the time where Jamaicans are re-focusing on that idea of what it means to put their interests first. We are really seeing the regular Jamaican man demanding to get a slice of the pie, and they are choosing the best candidate to get them that. If we find out say yah fake and yah fraud down the road, yuh deh pan yuh own fi di rest a your time. Giving Andrew Holness the opportunity to continue in his prosperity quest as he calls it, we want to see the Jamaica people really progress for real. We need to see the involvement of the people’s interest.”

ZJ Sparks, another outspoken voice in the industry, agreed with Queen Ifrica. She said that, with the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) having had such a massive victory at the polls, the Andrew Holness-led administration cannot afford to get comfortable.

“The JLP should not get comfortable. They need to represent the Jamaican people to the best of their ability, because there are certain things Jamaicans should have access to and they should not be bargaining chips upon election,” she said. “They can’t afford to get arrogant. They need to listen to the people and that is important because, at the end of the day, every family in Jamaica, every individual wants to achieve their goals and dreams.”

Keona Williams, artiste manager and public relations practitioner, shared similar sentiments. She said, with the way the general elections panned out on Thursday, the JLP must understand there is no space for complacency. “I believe Andrew Holness has found a way to connect with the public. He has incorporated popular culture into politics in a way that has resonated with young people. From using Nesbeth’s My Dream song to the way he handled his recent campaign, he has captured the attention of the youth who are not fearful to go out and vote for the candidate they feel is best, even amid a pandemic,” she said. “Voting has become more free and open and so no seat is safe. I hope they (the Government) know that if they don’t do the right things, votes will swing.”