Fri | Nov 27, 2020

JLP must honour foot soldiers, too

Published:Saturday | July 13, 2019 | 12:19 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), a year late, considering the big anniversary was last year, has announced scholarships to be named in honour of party leaders who became prime ministers.

I submit that the honours are misdirected because the former prime ministers have already, by virtue of their office, held one of the nation’s highest honours and the recognition should have properly been given to other outstanding persons who have now faded into oblivion: Robert Lightbourne, Clem Tavares, Lynden Newland and Edwin Allen.

To do so would give honour to the forgotten and deepen the party’s collective memory. The service that these ministers gave to industry, housing, the workers and education, respectively, have earned them this right.

Reward trench workers

And honour is due not only to those who lead, but also to those who follow. That is why in my 2017 proposals to the party regarding 75th anniversary honours, I suggested medals for outstanding constituency workers and area council officers so that the foot soldiers would feel honoured and be motivated to greater effort.

It is not the Legacy projects or the economic miracles that will return the party to office, but the tireless work of foot soldiers kept in close touch by the party leaders. To consider naming the scholarships only in honour of former prime ministers and ignore the second-tier leaders and others is a mindset that leads to political suicide.

ORVILLE BROWN

Bronx, NY, 10461