Thu | Dec 3, 2020

Letter of the Day | Take the step in the right direction Mr Golding

Published:Tuesday | October 20, 2020 | 12:08 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

A recent newspaper article reported that “Former People’s National Party (PNP) Member of Parliament for St Ann North Western, Dr Dayton Campbell, is urging delegates of the party, who are scheduled to vote in next month’s leadership election, to choose the candidate with the bigger bank account.”

The article went on to quote Dr Campbell as having said:

“The party can’t run pon water. It’s a funny thing I see in politics, enuh. On election day almost everybody want money fi vote, but when you have somebody weh have money inna the party, it’s like wi want to cuss them. The party needs smaddy with money and who can raise money, because you need money to run a political [organisation].

“Is what is really going on? On election day when you go out there, you nuh hear everybody a ask ‘bout money? All some people right here suh in the room now a go want money fi vote the seventh,” he said, while chuckling.”

DISTURBING COMMENTS

While not surprising, these comments were most disappointing and disturbing. Since when have the elements of the ‘skill set’ required to lead a political party or a nation included wealth?

Dr Campbell’s words, which suggest that vote buying is one of the strategies being employed by Mr Golding’s campaign. We need not discuss the negative implications of vote buying, including it being a criminal offence and a corruption of the political process.

Allegations of vote buying during elections have pervaded for many years. The practice is not peculiar to general elections, but is also reportedly common in local government and party elections.

Against the background that Mr Golding is a potential president of the People’s National Party and, as a result, a potential prime minister of Jamaica, it is important that we consider the following:

1. Does he approve of the strategy of vote buying as stated by Dayton Campbell?

2. Will wealth be a prerequisite for persons to serve in a PNP led by Mr Golding?

3. Will he disassociate himself and the PNP movement from this and other corrupt practices?

4. Will he rein in his own supporters when they act or propose to act in a manner which is corrupt, even if it is against Mr Golding’s own interest?

5. Will he bring a new type of leadership to the PNP and Jamaica by actively and unequivocally disengaging from the corrupt practices; for example, vote buying?

Mr Golding, the ball is in your court to do the right thing. Remember, “Respect, love, honesty and integrity are some of my campaign pillars because I believe we all have these attributes in us.” (Mark Golding, Instagram post, October 4, 2020.)

You now have the opportunity to demonstrate this philosophy in action and to help create a new political culture marked by the very integrity which you claim will form the basis of your leadership. Dissociate yourself from the politics of the past by denouncing the corruption and perversion of the political process.

It’s the first step, and most important step, you can make in your political journey.

JALIL S DABDOUB

Attorney-at-law