Thu | Nov 26, 2020

Mark Wignall | A Golding triumph lies ahead

Published:Sunday | November 1, 2020 | 12:06 AM

People’s National Party (PNP) presidential candidate Mark Golding speaks to his supporters on nomination day at the PNP Headquarters.
People’s National Party (PNP) presidential candidate Mark Golding speaks to his supporters on nomination day at the PNP Headquarters.
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on Friday, October 30, 2020, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base.
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on Friday, October 30, 2020, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base.
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There was hardly any time allowed for it to be a long, drawn-out campaign where People’s National Party (PNP) constituency reps, party workers, and delegates would get bored, be cured of orange fever, then go home again to wait out COVID-19 and see the kitchen cupboard becoming empty again.

Instead, it went like this. Everyone knows Lisa Hanna. Hardly anyone knows Mark Golding. They are going up against each other. Many begin to know Golding and hear Hanna. Hanna’s words do not add up. Golding’s trust factor and leadership chops increase. A gap is in the making.

My initial fears for the PNP were centred on the possibility that Mark Golding as PNP party leader would turn out to be another Peter Phillips, a man strong on party knowledge, political strategy, and need for party reform and growth but who cannot quite sell his glory to party insiders or the broader constituency in the electorate.

Having heard him and seen the response to him, I am already sensing a renewed energy in the PNP, a threat to become likeable and attractive to many of those who sat out the September 3 elections.

Of most interest to political watchers is the stark difference in the respect both candidates have been benefited from their constituencies. In South St Andrew, I have not heard a peep from anyone bad-talking Golding. In South East St Ann (SESA), the criticisms are not just mounting, they are mountainous.

Of special note is that the criticisms are by no means new. The most stinging one centres around then party leader Portia Simpson Miller being dissed when she visited SESA in 2016 and the MP Lisa Hanna not being there, as would normally be expected, to officially meet and greet her.

The many fault lines of Hanna were pointed out to me years ago. I spoke with many people in her constituency in those times, and two factors were always competing with each other: the one of arrogance and the other of trust. It has been, and still is, her own people in her own constituency who have seen her as more disruptive to the PNP than she is capable of mending broken fences.

In the last week or so, Golding’s stature as best suited to restructure the PNP, rebuild it from the constituency up, and heal the long-term divisions has grown while Hanna’s very lack of those traits has been revealed.

In her appearance last Wednesda y on All Angles, Hanna was, seemingly, not given a chance to advance her candidacy as much as she spent time defending the political pile of detritus that was packed up around her.

Come Saturday, I expect Golding to be the next PNP President.

Ambassador Tapia will never know us

United States Ambassador Donald Tapia could never be a big supporter of the Trump doctrine and hope to be a friend of Jamaica. We know that he is a political appointee, and we knew what to expect.

Caught up in America’s deathly fear of the inevitability of China’s encroachment on the ‘manifest destiny’ of America’s global power, the military industrial complex represented by various political people called US presidents has been warning developing countries like Jamaica about the supposed evils of China.

According to economist Dr Richard Bernal, from Dragon in the Caribbean, ‘The implosion of the Soviet Union and its empire ushered in a brief interlude of a single superpower that is being steadily eroded by the rise of China to become a global power like the European Union. ... Today, China is the world’s second-largest economy in the world, having become the largest merchandise exporter, largest producer of manufactured goods, and largest holder of foreign exchange reserves. According to Jeffrey Sachs, China could overtake the US in world GDP by 2050.”

Whenever Ambassador Tapia mentions China to Jamaicans, he prefaces it and completes it with ‘Communist China.’ That, I suppose, is designed to scare us. Oh boy1 Those communists are coming for our barn of corn.

So the ambassador took to Twitter, and he cut a sorry figure when challenged by Jamaicans by dissing us as if he was too good a mood after a late night out. While being interviewed on Cliff Hughes Online, he apologised, but in the process, admitted that his tweet was sent by a staffer and not him personally.

Even if that were so, it would have been better and more manly for the ambassador to not tell us that. This halfway-in apology but halfway out, blaming someone else is irresponsible. But for now, we will accept it. Until the China boogeyman cones around again.

GIVE TRUMP THE BIG BOOT AMERICA

Come Tuesday, the eyes of the globe will be on the United States as the majority will be hoping and expecting that America will do the right thing and rid the world of the global pestilence that has occupied the Oval Office since January of 2017. All polls are pointing to a big Biden win, but there is also US domestic apprehension that there will be a highly disordered transition, where Trump may not concede. Frankly, even though it is obvious that Donald Trump is a severely disordered man, I believe that fear to be overblown.

To give in to that fear is to admit that among the Senate, the House, the political leadership, and the Justice Department, there is not one ounce of gumption left that two burly DC cops cannot be found to haul the orange ghoul out of the White House.

The reality is that Donald Trump has befouled the presidency. Those who voted for Obama in 2012 but switched to Trump in 2016 have seen what that switch has wrought. While there will be a range of issues like Obamacare, COVID-19, and the economy on the mind of the electorate, I believe that many people are seeking stress relief.

He needs to be voted out.

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