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Stabroek News

Identifying the least honourable
published: Friday | September 7, 2007

Heather Robinson

Bruce Golding will become Jamaica's eighth Prime Minister. This is a fact of life that we must accept. His elevation to the office of Prime Minister comes after many long months of campaigning by both the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People's National Party (PNP). His record of representation in Jamaica is a long one and during the months leading up to the general election, his public relations handlers have been successful in remaking his image.

Many post-mortems have been held in Jamaica since Monday's elections. Every voter has their own analysis to offer as to the reasons for the results. Some believe that it is the result of the many promises that the JLP made, including offers of free tuition and health care. Others believe that it had to do with the rejection by the Jamaican middle class of the idea of being led by 'Mama' in the PNP. Some persons are adamant that no government should be in office for a fifth term and, therefore, supported the idea of the need for change. Many Jamaicans were incensed by the role played by some individuals in the leadership of the PNP's campaign, and also by the secondary role given to the party over that of the party's president.

And, of course, there has been much discussion on the advertising campaigns of both political parties. The JLP got the better grade and I was shocked to hear a young voter question the wisdom of the PNP using the words of Bruce Golding when he confessed to having had relations with gunmen. She placed no value on this statement made by Golding. What is the reason for this response? She believes that all politicians have been associated with gunmen. So, in essence, as we say here in Jamaica, "a nuh nutten".


Another young voter proudly admitted that she is a flip-flopper. She will vote for whoever she believes can get the job done. She has no tolerance of the concept of a 'diehard' supporter.

During this post-mortem, the question of the citizenship of elected Members of Parliament was also discussed. Some believed that it was a non-issue because there is no doubt about the individual being a Jamaican. But is this good enough? One must ask if there are indeed citizens of the United States who have been elected to serve in our Jamaican Parliament, why have these individuals remained silent on the issue? Why have they refused to do the honourable thing and just admit to being a citizen of the U.S.A.? Is there no honour among men and women in our Parliament?

But are these the only persons whose honour we should question? What about those whose behaviour contributed to the defeat of a particular candidate or even the PNP? Should we be moving forward with the same team that failed to achieve electoral success? Will any of these persons who played primary and pivotal roles do the honourable thing and remove themselves from the leadership of the party? And if they do not see this as a necessary act, should the delegates force them to become ordinary members of the party?

Honour is not a character prerequisite in politics. Ministers are referred to as 'honourable', and prime ministers as 'the most honourable'. Bruce Golding reminded Jamaica during the election campaign that he has no desire to use that title. He knows best. During the next few weeks, Jamaica will be given opportunities to determine who is deserving of such a title, as demonstrations of (political) honour are displayed for all to see.

Perhaps we will see the emergence of a real orange team that is capable of rebuilding the PNP.

Heather Robinson is a life underwriter and former Member of Parliament.

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