PRIME MINISTER Portia Simpson Miller has suggested, putting it baldly, that her critics are a bunch of chauvinist carpers, holding her to a higher standard of performance than her male counterparts.
This newspaper is inclined to give the PM the benefit of the doubt and dismiss her peeve as merely a political tactic, aimed at putting her opponents out of kilter and to sue for public sympathy.
We would be devastated if it were otherwise. For that would suggest that nine months into her party's five-year term, Mrs Simpson Miller hasn't grasped the basis of her mandate, which is to lead a government that creates and implements policies, after appropriate consultation, that allow Jamaicans to live prosperously in a safe and secure environment. We would, in that regard, worry that her premiership might be irredeemable, and that the Jamaica Labour Party's fate after last December's general election, as a single-term government, was not an aberration.
The fact is that there is a deep sense among Jamaicans that the country is adrift with no one at the helm, or of a leadership that is distracted and uncertain.
This is not only because the economy continues to be weak, the currency stressed and a borrowing agreement is not yet negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Indeed, it matters little to most people if, as Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips insists, the timetable for concluding a deal with the IMF remains on track.
The greater concern is the absence of a clear and coherent articulation of an endgame for Jamaica and a pathway to this vision.
The offerings on this score are, at best, patchy and little of it has come from the prime minister, whose obligation it is and who in the Government has the skill to explain to, and gain buy-in, from the majority of Jamaicans for the sacrifices that must precede the rewards.
The prime minister's failure, so far, to robustly embrace this challenge - thus employing her unique skills in a charge against corruption and favour of efficient and moral government - is perceived as an inability to disengage from the prevailing political culture.
Politicians who remain in this snare find it difficult to lead from the front and to create new pathways.
Rather, they respond primarily to what they perceive that electors, at the party and national levels, want to hear from, and expect of, politicians. This is to offer bribes in the form of petty handouts for votes.
It is this form of politics that seems to be playing out in the PNP's East Rural St Andrew constituency where the parliamentarian, Damion Crawford, is at odds with local government councillors and constituents over how he spends taxpayers' money from the trough known as the Constituency Development Fund. PNP supporters, seemingly, would prefer greater spending in rum and curry goat fetes rather than on education.
Mrs Simpson Miller has been surprisingly silent on this matter which is broadly seen as representative of the attitudes and behaviour that define Jamaica's political process, which we expect transformative leadership to struggle to change.
We, however, give Mrs Simpson Miller the benefit of the doubt. We expect her to use her party's annual conference this week to outline a clear path forward for Jamaica and redefine her premiership.
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