Mon | Nov 18, 2019

Grindley: Give Trump a chance - Former Jamaican businessman chides critics of US president and likens him to Michael Manley

Published:Sunday | December 2, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
Trump
Leonard ‘Gerry’ Grindley, former chairman and managing director of the Grimax Group of Companies and member of the US Republican party.
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Donald Trump, the polarising president of the United States, has been described as a "modern-day Michael Manley" by Leonard 'Gerry' Grindley, a Jamaican who has been acknowledged by the Republican Party in the US for his "dedication to the continued success of President Donald Trump".

Manley, a former prime minister of Jamaica, captured the imagination of a large section of the Jamaican population with his socialist rhetoric on his way to leading the People's National Party (PNP) to election victories in 1972 and 1976, but lost the faith of the people before he was booted from office in 1980.

He was to lead the PNP back into power in 1989 before illness forced his resignation in 1992.

In an interview with The Sunday Gleaner, Grindley cautioned Jamaicans against a rush to judgement about the man whose immigration policies have triggered widespread criticisms.

"Get to know the man. The man sounds like Michael Manley," said the 86-year-old, a registered member of the Republican Party who lives in Florida.

"But even better than Michael because he now has gone about fighting the people who are stealing [from] the US," added Grindley.

Trump, a billionaire developer, was elected the 45th US president when he defeated Hillary Clinton, his Democratic challenger, in what political observers described as a bitter election campaign.

 

INSENSITIVE RHETORIC

 

Some of his utterances during and after the election have been described as insensitive and hurtful, but Grindley, the former chairman and managing director of the Grimax Group of Companies, dismissed claims that Trump, who labelled Haiti, El Salvador and some parts of Africa as sh... hole countries, does not like African Americans.

"When everybody says he doesn't like black people, it's not true. He set himself out to lift up black people," the former Grimax boss said.

"He said, 'I want you to vote for me, you have nothing to lose', and they voted for him and, believe you me, he has opened up jobs for them in particular places that their communities have become greater," argued Grindley.

According to Grindley, Trump has gone into predominantly black neighbourhoods where factories were closed and has worked with residents to get them back into operation.

 

MAN OF HIS WORD

 

"He went to Pennsylvania where the coal mines were closed and the people were in disarray, and he shut down the importation of coal and opened up those mines and put people back into operation," he said.

"It's unbelievable. He said that he would do this and that he would do that, and I said to myself, 'I believe him', and he has done it," said the retired Jamaican businessman.

He acknowledged that Trump had numerous faults, but insisted that he has "more good than faults".

"It's like you have a rude child. He says a lot of bad things to you, but everything you ask him to do he does it well. You look at it and you say 'how come him give you so much trouble and yet he produces'," continued Grindley.

He argued that many people dislike Trump because "he doesn't speak the Queen's English, but the man is as sure as a willy penny".

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com