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NW Manley's PNP more progressive than present day

Published:Monday | October 19, 2015 | 10:00 AM
Norman Manley

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I refer to your front page story of Sunday, October 18, 2015 titled 'PNP surge'. Having read the article, which summarises the findings of a recent Gleaner-commissioned poll by Bill Johnson, I noted what could only be viewed as a peculiarity of our political culture.

The poll found that the parties were in a dead heat with the People's National Party (PNP) one point ahead of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) from a sample of 1,200 individuals who were polled across the island.

I assume that this is the same sample that was polled over the review period that produced results such as Andrew Holness preferably to Portia Simpson Miller to lead the country, Audley Shaw a better finance minister than Peter Phillips, a plurality of voters believing that the country is heading in the wrong direction or, more poignantly, that 57 per cent of those polled think the PNP should dump Mrs Simpson Miller as leader and prime minister.

With all those findings, how can one explain this so-called PNP surge? Interestingly, the pollster went on to state that approximately 45 per cent of those indicating support for the PNP were doing so purely out of family tradition, with comments such as, "my grandfather would turn in his grave ... ."

Therein lies the problem. With the greatest of respect to your grandfather, dear loyal PNP supporter, your grandfather's support of the Norman Manley-led PNP cannot be compared with the Simpson Miller-led PNP era.

National Hero Norman Manley, as premier and chief minister of a pre-independent Jamaica, can be proudly saluted for presiding over a fast-developing island-state that focused on education, expansion of our tourism industry, and the establishment of the Kingston Development Order of 1957.

Your grandfather supported progress, not what has happened since his time such as the decimation of the Jamaican economy, mismanagement of the health sector, spiralling crime and a level of hopelessness never seen before in our country.

I am hard-pressed to believe that these PNP voters, who claim family tradition as their reason for supporting the PNP, think that their grandfather's PNP is the same as it is today or in recent times.

Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips, in his Budget presentation in 2012, agonised about the fact that Jamaica's current state is due mainly to the fact that the country has had anaemic growth over the last 40 years. The point is not lost on us that the PNP has held the reigns for three-quarter of that period.

Now, while we can excuse that 45 per cent that votes on family tradition, it is still a paradox about the other 55 per cent who, in the same poll, claim Mrs Simpson Miller should be dropped as leader or that the country is heading in the wrong direction.

It is time we move away from weak arguments for and against a political party such as 'black man time', 'woman time' and 'young people time?' Should not your vote be about holding elected officials accountable to you the voter?

Michael Delahaye

mikedelahaye77@gmail.com