Daniel Thwaites, who writes columns in this newspaper, is the son of Ronnie Thwaites, the parliamentarian who carries the education portfolio in the People's National Party (PNP) administration. That might imply something, but says nothing definitive about Daniel Thwaites' politics or ideology.
You are likely to be on surer ground, though, when you recall that Daniel Thwaites was a founding member of the Patriots, the PNP affiliate that was supposed to be a response to the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) G2K that had branded itself as a grouping of young intellectually minded people seeking fresh solutions to the country's problems.
Before emigrating, Thwaites, with degrees in law and philosophy, worked as an adviser to Peter Phillips in his days as national security minister. Indeed, he was considered a part of the Drumblair wing of the PNP, with Phillips as the leader and the Manleys (Norman, Michael, Edna) providing its spiritual anchor.
Much of Daniel Thwaites' early vision of the PNP and the tool that politics could, and should, be in national development, were shaped - we suspect - by his knowledge and readings of Michael Manley. The latter was the party's charismatic and controversial leader of the 1970s and '80s, who twice served as Jamaica's prime minister.
This is important, especially in the context of the PNP's annual conference that begins towards the end of next week, and the issue that Daniel Thwaites has, even if obtusely, placed on the party's agenda - should its leaders choose to recognise it.
In his column on Tuesday, Daniel Thwaites reflected on the moral nadir and futility of Josef Stalin's communism and the waste wrought by Jamaica's escapade of ideological hopscotch across lines of divide drawn by anachronistic Bolsheviks and their opponents.
Daniel Thwaites wrote: "I find it fascinating that in Jamaica, on the other side of the world from the Soviet Union, nationalist aspirations were clothed in the rhetorical mumbo-jumbo of dark Eastern European barbarism, which in turn galvanised reactionary forces such that children ducked bullets on their way to school. How far it all seems? And yet the results are evident on the streets all over Kingston that we were the cockroach that should have (and could have) found the leadership to avoid that fowl fight."
The PNP's leader, and Jamaica's prime minister, for much of that turbulent period was Michael Manley. He was opposed and succeeded by the JLP's Edward Seaga.
learn the lessons
This newspaper does not believe that Jamaica ought to be imprisoned by the past. But we must understand it lest we miss its lessons and repeat its mistakes. Indeed, failure to engage in a frank conversation about the period of which Daniel Thwaites laments, and not coming to a resolution thereto, is in part the cause for its remnants still being "evident all over Kingston".
Even great leaders err, their weakness and frailties more evidently viewed from the distance of time. It is to do a disservice to the future if those failures are the subject of revisionism - of whatever stripe.
The PNP's current leader, Portia Simpson Miller, is the most trusted political voice in Jamaica, perhaps the only one capable of placing the country on a path of consensus. It would do Jamaica well if she acknowledged Daniel Thwaites' agenda and began some hard truth telling next week - now even.
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