Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Letter of the Day: Underhanded political campaign tactic

Published:Thursday | November 19, 2015 | 11:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

On the political hustling recently in anticipation of our 17th general parliamentary elections, the People's National Party (PNP) suggested that the house being built by Opposition Leader Andrew Holness and his wife will become a campaign issue.

In an underhand attack on the Opposition Leader, Peter Phillips - the man who, while serving as national security minister, signed secret memoranda of understanding with a foreign government that had the effect of infringing upon some of our constitutional rights - allegedly intimated that Holness has used politics for self-aggrandisement, as Holness should supposedly not otherwise be able to afford to build, what Phillips termed, "the biggest house in Jamaica", costing "billions and billions and billions of dollars".

According to Phillips, to the contrary, no one has ever questioned Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller for looking out for herself in her over 40 years in politics, as she has never sought to accumulate anything for herself.

Phillips' snide remarks only serve to remind that the PNP is nothing but a party of envy and division. That is nothing new, however.

In the 1970s, under the misguided philosophy of democratic socialism, the PNP government did not believe that it was natural and fair for Jamaicans to work hard and achieve.

Those who sacrificed and achieved had a duty, the PNP believed, were to share with or take care of those who were simply too lazy and refused to achieve much through their own blood, sweat and tears.

With the PNP remaining a true adherent to that belief, it is no wonder that the entitlement mentality is very much alive and well in the country today.

We saw that PNP belief in operation again in the early 1990s when the misguided economic policies of the Government caused the destruction of the new Jamaican entrepreneurial class that was birthed under the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government in the 1980s after the destructive period of the 1970s under the PNP.

As the political campaign takes shape, the JLP must demonstrate that it is not the party that believes you should pull people down in order to lift others up. It is not the party that punishes or envies those who seek to do well honestly and legally.

The JLP must demonstrate that it is the party of growth and opportunity. Simply loving the poor without waging a serious war against poverty will not reduce poverty. It is in growing the economy and providing real opportunities for our people that poverty will be reduced.

Additionally, passing International Monetary Fund tests without the attendant growth measures will not move this country forward sufficiently to better the lives of the people.

The JLP must demonstrate that it is the party of working people - the party for anyone who believes in work and is prepared to work hard so that his and his family's life can be better.

The JLP must demonstrate that it is the party that believes that it does not matter the circumstances of your birth or your family ties, everyone in this country stands an equal chance of succeeding if you work hard.

As the political campaign heats up, with some amount of desperation seemingly settling in the PNP, the JLP must continue to focus on selling itself to the people that, as the historically better manager of the country's affairs, it is truly the party better poised to take the people of this country from poverty to prosperity.

KEVIN K.O. SANGSTER

sangstek@msn.com