THE EDITOR, Sir:
I write to express my utter disgust with the current confrontational 'race' for leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
I truly believed that with the early leadership tone and stance shown by Andrew Holness that something resembling statesmanship and civility had finally returned to that party.
But it's the usual cockfight to which we have all become accustomed, and which caters to the tribal nature of supporters. Supporters, it appears, can't wait for the thrill of the warpaint and loud thumping of feet around the separatist fires.
I now return to my earlier belief that statesmanship died with Robert Lightbourne.
Why is it that a simple democratic action such as a bid for leadership of a party or board of management, or whatever organisational structure, is not accepted quietly within those bodies and left to be decided by the votes of the members?
Why the campaigning and grandstanding that drives a stake through the organisation and makes a mockery of stated goals and unity of purpose?
The JLP, even more frequently than the PNP, has been torn apart by its own 'likkle bwoy in short pants' internal rivalries.
Now this. Completely unnecessary crassness.
Parties regard us as idiots
It's even more amazing that these parties still regard us as idiots when they say in the midst of their contentions, that when it's all over they will be as happy as peas in a pod.
The obvious strain and tensions between Portia Simpson Miller and Peter Phillips before and after their leadership 'kass kass' was evident to all.
Are we expected to believe that after this leadership war is decided, the contestants and the party will simply meld into a homogenous whole and go about the business of running the country with singleness of purpose?
I want to get rid of political parties. Whenever I expressed that view in the past, Rex Nettleford would tell me that nothing works unless it has its origins in a grass-roots movement.
But I believe that those movements that rose out of oppressive working conditions and lack of opportunities for upward mobility for the poor have changed.
I believe that we now own our country and are ready for a more mature system of government.
I wish we could have a board of government, where candidates in each parish are presented as individuals to the electorate in a structured manner. Once the team is selected, a selection committee with representatives from all parishes elects the prime minister.
I believe in the ultimate victory of the common sense of our people even when the lid is on the pork barrel.
There exists no system that is immune to lobbying or to corruption of some sort. We can only choose to have the one that gives the least opportunity for fraudulence.
Journalism is a wonderful thing when well executed. Journalists covering the mêlée at Audley Shaw's or Andrew Holness' platforms were careful about remarking on the contradictions between the claims of the contestants that they are running a quiet and disciplined race, and the screaming hordes of supporters. But pictures are worth a thousand words.