THE EDITOR, Sir:
Since my first letter generated some responses from people who believe that I am mistaken in suggesting that Andrew Holness offers the best hope for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), in particular, and the country in general in terms of transforming our politics, I just wish to add the following:
I believe that Jamaicans, including the media, who claim, like Ian Boyne, that Audley Shaw is the only one who can 'Tek it to Portia', are either being mischievous when they make comments like that, or have a narrow view of our politics, or are very short-sighted in terms of how they interpret the mood of the people.
For one, the JLP don't need a leader to 'Tek it to Portia'. The people who consistently support Portia have their reasons for doing so, and they will continue to do so, as long as she remains a visionary given to apparitions, prophecies, or revelations. What the JLP needs is a realistic leader, with a vision that can transform the party and the society into one that is less quixotic.
If we had done so since 1962, we would not be now depending on the International Monetary Fund to bring us back to reality. Our political parties must transform themselves into the vehicles, not only for this transformation but to sustain the transformation as well.
It would be difficult to drive this home to Mr Shaw in the twilight of his political career, and for this reason I understand 'the fire in his belly'. But, fire can't 'full belly', and the heat generated by his oratory will not remove the economic and social handicaps of our political tradition.
Political transformation is needed in both political parties. We cannot continue a tradition of electing leaders who spew hot air and make unrealistic promises, as we did up to December 2011.
Mr Holness is under fire because he has offered himself as a transformational leader. What's more, he has youth and intelligence to make the transformation sustainable. So, it shouldn't be surprising that there are people within his party who feel that, if he succeeds, their hopes of becoming the next leader are dashed; or people who feel that the influence they sway over the party, because of their investments, is threatened.
Mr Holness has taken on a very powerful clique and a 'rich' tradition. He is up for a serious battle if he insists on transformation and he cannot let people turn him into a modern-day Don Quixote. They will try to undermine, overthrow or ridicule his efforts, but as patriotic Jamaicans seeking the best for ourselves and our children, we have a duty to either support him or welcome his efforts.
We must, at least, give him a chance if we are to turn around the trend of fewer and fewer members of the electorate voting for a government; more and more young people being turned off from politics; a growing number of intellectuals and professionals seeing politics as a 'pit latrine'; and the media seeing politicians as political gangs occupying Gordon House, or just a bunch of jokers.
That cannot be the future we envisage for ourselves and our children, if we are really patriotic.