Chester Francis-Jackson, Contributor
Dears, when the political history of contemporary Jamaica is written, the impact of its efforts at self-government and cultural and social independence, should make for quite an interesting read!
There is no doubt that historians will give the primary role to the People's National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), in the evolution and fight for equality, to these two institutional giants and the visionaries who articulated and authored their existence and charters.
But while the PNP had its genesis in the belief of the sanctity of the majority to initiate its own course, free from the yoke of colonialism and the vestiges of the cronyism and 'bucky-masterism' that characterised the day, the JLP has had a more curious evolution.
What is undeniable, however, is the fact that both the PNP and the JLP have been forces of good when it came to the end product of a politically independent Jamaica. Needless to say, reasonable minds will disagree and no doubt argue over or about which party played a greater role.
The PNP has emerged over time as a great institution, its record of nurturing thinkers, leaders, builders and legislators, unparalleled in the region. Those who have watched the party over the years are now of the opinion that the party has fulfilled its mission of having been a steward of political power, intent on handing it over to its rightful heirs .
Well, on the eve of the PNP's celebrations for its 75th anniversary, party leader and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller hosted what was described as a reception and press mingle to unveil their plans for the 75th anniversary celebrations, at the fab Devonshire restaurant, at the historic Devon House, last Thursday.
It was quite the political do, but refreshingly short on political backslapping and/or glad-handing!
The current leaders of the party are determined to rekindle and reconnect with the support core via a series of activities. It all kicks off with a church service on April 7. From there, it will be a series of community outreach programmes, then to the party's annual conference on September 19 to 22, when celebrations will move into high gear with the launching of a party book and documentary, showcasing what the party sees as its achievements through the years, no doubt with its eyes on the political prize in the years ahead.
Dears, it proved quite a charming outing, and then some. Short as it was on interminable speeches, it was beautifully accented with some fabulous-tasting vino, marvellous finger foods, and simply fabulous company!
Out were former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson and co-chair of the 75th anniversary celebrations; party chair Robert Pickersgill; House Speaker Dean Peart; Security Minister Peter Bunting; Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding; Industry Minister Anthony Hylton; Local Government Minister Noel Arscott; Information Minister Sandrea Falconer; Minister and MP Horace Dalley; Senator Imani Duncan-Price, looking as fabulous and glamorous as ever. Also junior ministers Julian Robinson, Richard Azan and Arnaldo Brown. Members of Parliament Mikael Phillips; André Hylton; Denise Daley; Raymond Pryce; Mayor of Kingston Angela Brown Burke; Professor Winston Davidson; Professor John Lindo; Robert Buddan; Pat Crawford; the esteemed Michael Vacciannie; the charming Barbara Hume; Delano Franklyn; Andrinne Higgins, and Alston Stewart. Businessman J.P. White; Val Wint; Captain Effiom White; the charming Pamela Redwood; Robert Drummond; the lovely Kay Osborne; Dickie Crawford; Clare Forrester and Winston 'Babatunde' Witter. Also the lovely Cheryl Crooks; Dwight Myers; Barbara Hart; Dennis Hickey; the lovely Gynelle Findlay; Carl Little; the fabulous Ashley-Ann Foster, in from Montego Bay, among a number of others.
Now let the anniversary celebrations commence!