Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Letter of the Day | Is Andrew Holness a demagogue?

Published:Friday | February 17, 2017 | 12:13 AM


Is the prime minister of Jamaica a demagogue? I asked this question against the background that when he was leader of the Opposition and conducting many tours around the country trying to drum up votes to get into Jamaica House, he made several commitments and appealed to the popular desires and prejudices of many.

When I looked for the meaning of the word 'demagogue', it states that it is a 'political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument', and I think that is exactly what Andrew Holness did when he was in opposition in order get into office.

We need not look far on the number of popular promises that he made without any rational thinking to come to the conclusion of whether or not he is a demagogue.

First, the $1.5-million tax plan was to see many people getting up to $18,000 in retained income. So far, this has not occurred.

We were told that they would not introduce a tax package to fund the tax plan, yet this was done. Does this not make Mr Holness a demagogue?

Let us also look at the fact that Mr Holness stood in Mandeville and made a promise to the people of Jamaica that if they voted his party into power, they would be able to sleep with their windows and doors open and they would not be a victim of the murderous gunmen who have us under siege, but look at where we are at now, a 42 per cent rise in murders compared to the same period last year. Does that not make Mr Holness a demagogue?

Mr Holness appealed to the popular desires and prejudices of the people when he said that within 100 days of his administration, he would have legislation started on impeachment, but not a word on that. Does that not make him a demagogue?

grand referendum

He said he would have a grand referendum on the Caribbean Court of Justice and the contentious buggery law. What has happened to that?

We have heard nothing from the prime minister about the referendum legalising ganja, which he promised to work on while he was on the campaign trail. Does this not make him a demagogue?

Finally, Mr Holness said he would also introduced term limits for the office of the prime minister, but not a word out of him on this matter since he was sworn in.

Given all the promises that were made by Holness while he was trying to gain state power, and given that we can come to the conclusion that he has not kept all that I have listed above, and that he was merely appealing to popularity, one can leave with no other option but to agree that indeed he is a demagogue.


Toronto, Ontario