Even making allowances for the fact that she may have been addressing partisans hoping to feast on political red meat, Prime Minister (PM) Portia Simpson Miller didn't make full opportunity of the platform offered by the People's National Party (PNP) annual conference on Sunday.
Or, to use an analogy that still resonates in this post-Olympic period, she got out the blocks, but failed to hold her form.
Like many, this newspaper had a sense that the Government had become rudderless - disparate ministries and agencies amalgamated by hope rather than strategic design. Prime Minister Simpson Miller, it appeared, had gone on a prolonged shore leave, especially with regard to matters of the economy. She assumed ownership of nothing.
It was against that backdrop that we had urged the PNP leader and prime minister to use the party's conference to get back in the wheelhouse and fulfil her obligation as captain. We recommended that she apply her considerable skills of persuasion in explaining the inevitability of the gales to be encountered and the promise of safe harbour after the turbulence.
Mrs Simpson Miller started well enough. She acknowledged that there were "some difficult choices today in order to have a better tomorrow", as well as the need for Jamaica to complete an agreement with the International Monetary Fund in order to unlock resources from multilateral financial institutions.
But an agreement with the Fund, she conceded, will have "some conditions that we have to comply with", including pension, tax and public-sector transformation.
Where Mrs Simpson Miller stumbled is in her failure to offer her political constituents, and the wider Jamaica, substance on the Government's thinking on the reform agenda. It was all too anodyne.
The fact is that phrases that transmit no specific meaning or information about how the public sector will look, who will work in it, and what services it will offer once the process is complete. Nor do they say much, if anything, about the level of taxes Jamaicans will have to pay, what they should expect for it, and how much civil servants may be called on to contribute to their pensions.
Further, restoring the fiscal account and bringing the national debt to sustainable levels are, for most people, abstract concepts. It is for a leader with the skill of Mrs Simpson Miller to interpret the likely immediate impact on their lives and what will happen afterwards. In other words, the PM has to begin a frank conversation with Jamaicans as part of getting their buy-in for her Government's programmes.
In the process, Mrs Simpson Miller ought to have, and must now, eschew narrow partisanship. Jamaica's economic crisis, and the problem of its debt, predated September 2007 and the four years of the Jamaica Labour Party administration. For the better part of 40 years, including the 18 consecutive ones of the previous PNP administration, the economy grew, on average, by less than one per cent a year.
We hope that all the investment projects the PM spoke about come to fruition. However, there remains the absence of strategic, policy coherence to woo and make Jamaica attractive to investment and sustainable growth.
If the PM recalls, the last foreign direct investment into Jamaica, for the hotels, came in the context of the Tourism Master Plan.
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