It has been the better part of a month since Audley Shaw went public with his previously back-room campaign for the leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
But he is yet to make the kind of case required, beyond personal ambition - which he claims not to be his motivation - of someone deserving of the job. Nor are we any clearer as to why Andrew Holness ought to continue to be in the top post.
Neither man has offered a compelling narrative about the JLP under his leadership and how that would translate, potentially, to the economic, social and political advancement of Jamaica.
In Mr Shaw's case, he is likely to claim that he is not yet at that stage. He still characterises his stump across the island to woo support as a consultation with the delegates before arriving at a decision as to whether to challenge Mr Holness. Which, of course, is nonsense!
For were he to back down now, Mr Shaw would be cast as cowardly and accused of having unnecessarily destabilised the party and of opening wounds that, even if sutured, would remain raw for a long time.
SUSCEPTIBLE TO CHALLENGES
The foregoing, however, are not this newspaper's primary concern. We believe, firstly, that leaders of political parties, like all democratic institutions, cannot be immune to challenges.
So this contest between Mr Shaw, the shadow finance minister, and Mr Holness, the opposition leader, should help to burnish the too often faded democratic credentials of the JLP.
Moreover, with the party's previous two leaders having been largely affirmed by consensus, a vote now will provide the winner the quality of legitimacy that comes only with victory via the ballot box, of which Mr Holness was deprived, especially after his party's thumping loss in the general election 19 months ago.
As we alluded to earlier, there is something larger at stake in this contest between the men than control of the JLP. The person who leads one of the country's two major political parties is the potential prime minister, with the power to formulate and/or dictate national policy. The case for leadership of a political party, in that context, is not a purely internal matter. The candidates have, we feel, an obligation to convince the larger national constituency of their worth.
SHAW HAS MORE TO PROVE
In this case, the greater burden, as the challenger, rests with Mr Shaw. He knows, he tells us, that "something is wrong with the JLP", which one can assume to be Mr Holness and his leadership. If there is no repair, Mr Shaw argues, "then we can kiss the next general election goodbye".
Unfortunately, Mr Shaw has offered little more that is of substance. An election victory to what end?
He has not, for instance, indicated whether he would offer a fundamentally alternative programme to the fiscal containment policies of the current administration. Nor has he fully explained why an agreement with the International Monetary Fund during his tenure as finance minister was derailed, and what Jamaica's posture with the Fund under his proposed leadership would be.
Mr Shaw's failures, though, do not extricate Mr Holness from his responsibility to offer workable policies, and his party a credible path to government.
Being likeable cannot, of itself, cut it.`
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