Mon | Sep 26, 2022

Mark Wignall | Lisa Hanna’s best move

Published:Sunday | August 14, 2022 | 12:08 AM
Lisa Hanna greets supporters on Duke Street during the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament in February 2020.
Lisa Hanna greets supporters on Duke Street during the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament in February 2020.

Whenever adults arrive at the conclusion that they are doing something monumental, there is hardly a consideration that the move may have its idiotic components. Let’s look at Portia Simpson Miller, then president of the People’s National Party (...

Whenever adults arrive at the conclusion that they are doing something monumental, there is hardly a consideration that the move may have its idiotic components.

Let’s look at Portia Simpson Miller, then president of the People’s National Party (PNP) and first female prime minister. And spare some space to admit into the discussion between you and me, Ms Lisa Hanna.

There was a time in 2007 when Portia felt great in celebrating her first anniversary of holding her pilot’s licence. In her attempt to build women in the PNP while strengthening the political side of the party, Portia convinced Lisa Hanna to do a crash course on learning how to jump out of a plane and guide oneself to a marked-out landing.

Portia parachuted Lisa Hanna into South East St Ann in 2007. There was immediate pushback, and Portia did not take to kindly to it.

In a meeting some place in the constituency, Portia excoriated those in the pushback faction and made them know that should their actions bring about a loss for the PNP at the next general election, the ‘wrath’ of the PNP would descend on them.

We know how that went. The Jamaica Labour Party barely scraped ITS way to a win. Portia was livid, but technically powerless, and confined mostly to a seat in the spectator stand.

But this is not about Portia. Lisa Hanna has announced that she will be quitting representative politics in South East St Ann by the end of the political term. Maybe 24 or year 25.

Lisa was not the best fit for South East St Ann. Portia could not then admit that an error was made in placing this lady from suburbia in the physical space and social life of genuine rural people with rural concerns.

If there was one factor that stood out in Ms Hanna’s representation, it was that gulf in socio-cultural understanding. The complaints that I would constantly hear is, “Shi think sey shi better dan we”, followed by, “shi nuh really understand we”.

A factor that ought to be considered troubling for the PNP is this: How could it be that for 15 years one of the finds of the last decade that was destined to be a significant part of the face and direction of the PNP turned out to be an abject reject of the PNP voters in one of the strongest PNP constituencies?

And that begs the question. What else in key party policy or position over the last decade has the PNP got wrong but has still not recognised or acknowledged?

SOME TENSION IN THE GAMING MARKET

Although I am not a gambler, I am fascinated by the people I constantly meet at street level and their seemingly cultural attachment to the official numbers market, made famous by Supreme Ventures, plus betting on the horses.

It was my belief, based on many studies I read, that the gaming market is not like, say, the car parts market. A large multiplicity of car parts stores may genuinely result in a competitive market and cheaper parts to consumers.

It is my belief that once Supreme Ventures was chosen and conditions were signed off on the various ‘good works’ that the mandatory tax would extract, the inclusion of another company would create a business cannibalism that would force both entities to expend more with each one trying to stay ahead of the other.

Monies that could look better on the bottom line.

Recently, Prime Sports, a subsidiary of Supreme Ventures, dispatched a press release detailing legal action between that entity and its rival in the gaming industry – Goodwill Gaming.

The long and short of it is that in October 2021, Prime Sports took Goodwill to court.

They were seeking an injunction against Goodwill using any advertising or promotional material that could bear similarity to material originally conceptualised and used by Supreme Ventures. A month later, Prime Sports sought an interlocutory injunction seeking to place a brake on Goodwill using a specific fame name bearing close resemblance to one used by Supreme.

On July 29, the court issued its judgment in favour of Prime Sports (Supreme Ventures).

I don’t want to say I told you so in terms of what was likely to happen in the new dispensation of regulation of the gaming market in Jamaica. It was almost expected that the new players would be forced to copy instead of innovate.

Of note is the fact that the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) had not so long ago reported Supreme Ventures to the Fair Trading Commission.

In fairness, one would have expected the BGLC to do the same with Goodwill. Why is there a silence, and why does it seem so selective? Certainly the main regulators of gaming in Jamaica ought to effect in their actions the best that could be considered as that entity steering far from declaring any favourites.

Why is that not being demonstrated now?

A POSSIBILITY, PERHAPS?

About two weeks ago, I read about a court case in The Cayman Islands. At one stage when the judge was addressing the person convicted for a relatively minor crime (compared to Jamaica), she said his action was “un-Caymanian”.

Wouldn’t it be good for our people to create such a powerful social footprint?

Recently, Lee Kuan Yew’s son said: “This is how we do things in Singapore – always daring to dream, setting our sights on the next frontier and searching for better solutions and fresh possibilities. We look and plan ahead not just for the next five or 10 years, but for the next 30 or 50 years and beyond.”

Based on the intense political exigencies that have always occupied the minds of out political leaders, how do we get that out of the way and chart an uninterrupted course towards really building this country?

The Jamaica Labour Party may believe that its best chance to attain that objective is to render the People’s National Party politically irrelevant. And all within the law.

Mark Wignall is a political and public affairs analyst. Send feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and mawigsr@gmail.com.