Gordon Robinson | I.M.F? Is Mark fault!
The People’s National Party (PNP) seems determined to turn opportunity into shambles and, like Mr Phelps’ Mission Impossible tape, self destruct.
For too long politicians have felt free to publicly terrorise or abuse journalists, police, civil servants, councilor caretakers, girlfriends et al with impunity. For too long politicians have believed they are Emperors without fear of sanction for hostile, narcissistic behaviour.
But, not to worry, we soon get a ceremonial Jamaican President.
For now PNP must address the humanitarian horror show that unfolded at PNP Headquarters on Monday night as PNP supporters protested while its Executive was reportedly meeting. While two senior PNP Officials were there or thereabouts, a third, PNP’s Deputy General Secretary, tried to evict two journalists covering the protest because they were wearing green clothes.
What the actual furshlugginer?
When the journalists stood their ground, an as yet unidentified PNP supporter was caught on tape threatening the female journalist “Me can rape you, yu know”.
Well, allrighty then. Think it can’t get any worse? Buckle up. It. Gets. Worse! According to PNP’s initial statements:
• Nobody heard it.
• Nobody saw who said it.
• Nobody can identify the voice on the tape.
I guess he was just a stranger wandering in from off the road. Sergeant Schultz would be proud of the PNP.
Stranger I know where you’ll find her;
Down the road from here about a mile
and a quarter.
You’ll know the place by a shackey barn
that stands in the field by a run-down farm
by a pond, filled up with stagnant water.
An updated Statement (Wednesday night) called the rape threat “banter” between two supporters and claimed it wasn’t aimed at the journalist.
Rape as BANTER? Really? Seriously? How far into the gutter can PNP go to protect its right to arrogant intransigence? In Wednesday’s Parliament Mark argued, after the Speaker had ruled a word inappropriate and Lothan Cousins withdrew it, that it was ok because it was in the dictionary yet admitted it wouldn’t be appropriate in a court. PNP looks like a rundown farm cultivated by farmers whose behaviour mimics that of stagnant water.
Between 1976-1980, Michael Manley broke his solemn campaign promise “We are not for Sale” by surrendering Jamaica to IMF control. Political activists, current affairs commentators and graffiti artists alike translated IMF “Is Manley Fault!”
We are in a similar place. In my opinion, blame for the monstrous madness at PNP HQ Monday night must be placed squarely at Mark Golding’s feet.
I.M.F. Is. Mark. Fault!
Well, maybe 95 per cent Mark’s fault. Garrulous GenSec Dayton, at least putatively responsible for PNP political strategy, must take some credit.
Why do I blame Mark? Constituency candidate selection has always been a fluid process in which Party Leaders have quiet vetoes. But a leader’s duty is to sell the illusion of democracy by making top-down decisions seem bottom-up. If the two can’t converge after every effort at inclusion, then the leader must use empathetic strategies to change minds.
Mark Golding hasn’t shown a scintilla of this skill. From Day One he inserted Rise United faithfuls in every key post including by demoting his opponent’s campaign chairman, PNP’s Senate Leader of Opposition Business. He replaced her with his friend and Rise United co-leader whose qualification was as a two-time electoral loser (for PNP Leader and subsequently for MP). He publicly supported a Rise United candidate for Chairman against a One PNP candidate only to lose. Thereafter his inner circle has been a Rise United echo chamber.
Now he has succeeded in botching candidate selection processes in at least four constituencies: North-East St. Elizabeth; North-West St. Catherine; South-East St. Ann; and now South-East St. Catherine. On each occasion sitting MPs, prospective candidates and/or party workers claimed breaches of due process. In some cases constituency-wide Polls replaced delegates’ votes thus giving JLP supporters a say in the selection of PNP candidates.
Parachuting is always permissible where circumstances require (e.g. Lisa Hanna and Roger Clarke). It’s not the parachuting. It’s HOW you parachute.
So, in an atmosphere of discontented rumblings, political neophyte Alfred Dawes suddenly becomes a wannabe candidate. He immediately exposes political inexperience by disclosing he has Mark Golding’s imprimatur. Mark immediately denies this: “I have no horse in any race.”
But every Party Leader has a horse in every race. Mark publicly announced his horse against Paulwell and lost. Why didn’t Mark warn novice Alfred not to say anything publicly about their real or imagined conversations? Is it that Mark is as green (oops, sorry, “amateur”) as leader as is Alfred as candidate?
What caused the change in candidate selection process? Dayton claims reliance on scientific method. But I wonder if it’s the ghost of the Brown-Burke/Paulwell election. Is it fear of delegates’ votes that caused Mark to substitute Panderson Polls?
After that debacle, when Delegates hear the man with no horse has decided on a horse without asking them, what do you think is likely to happen? Did Leader/GenSec not expect protest? Followed by media coverage?
So how come Deputy GenSec wasn’t trained to diplomatically welcome journalists covering this predictable consequence of anti-democracy? How come he felt empowered to verbally attack journalists with putrid, petty rationale? So, when journalists failed to comply, is it strange that a supporter felt emboldened by his Leaders’ Autocratic example to escalate enforcement?
Because, make no mistake, rape isn’t about sex or difficulty restraining sexual desire. Rape is about having power and control over another person. Research establishing 3 of 5 rapists are also in consensual sexual relationships with their victims confirms this. So, taking PNP’s latest flip flop with several grains of salt, let’s ask a UN translator to convert the thug’s words to Jamaican: “Di gyal nah listen to di big man. Me a go show ’im how fi do it an’ show har what clock a strike!”
Patient connecting of dots would’ve predicted some version of this atrocity was inevitable as soon as Mark/Dayton decided to change constituency candidate selection processes then implemented the new strategy like two Bulls in one China Shop. And no badda wid “NEC decision” nonsense. We know how NEC works.
It’s nowhere near enough for PNP to “regret” and apologize on behalf of an unknown supporter. Stop telling me how sorry Dexroy is; how this isn’t him; and how you’ll ensure it won’t happen again. If it wasn’t him why did he do it at PNP HQ during a PNP Executive meeting?
Since PNP’s candidate selection autocracy started this political snowball rolling words won’t assure anybody it won’t continue. PNP must accept organizational culpability. Dexroy must resign or be fired. Immediately! Mark and Dayton must accept personal responsibility by offering personal apologies to both journalists based on personal acceptance of responsibility for the verbal terrorism. Without these actions, all the facile written statements of regret/apology aren’t worth a fart in a bucket.
The Stranger was written by Dolly Parton and recorded by close friend Kenny Rogers. Have a look at their heartwarming rehearsal video for a 1985 tour (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwpedmQbwQ4).
In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (Act 4; Scene 3), the civil war is entering its final stages. Brutus and Cassius are discussing tactics. Cassius wants to re-group at Sardis (a secure location) to catch their breath. Brutus wants to double-down on attack before Octavian can recruit more men:
There is a tide in the affairs of men
which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat
and we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Power is a force that ebbs and flows. Leaders must recognize when to “go with the flow.” Waiting causes your power to pass its crest and ebb. Going against the flow is suicidal. Fearless leaders seize the moment. Others try to postpone or avoid so opportunity is “omitted” (missed) and ventures are lost.
When recent PNP commissioned Panderson Polls showed JLP/PNP in a dead heat, Mark Golding’s power as a leader was at its flood. All he had to do was go with the flow guided by a General Secretary with political skills beyond talking too much.
But, between CryBaby Mark and Chatty Chatty Dayton they just couldn’t leave well enough alone. Instead of giving Delegates the illusion of participation, they overtly, clumsily pulled rip cords on preferred candidates’ parachutes thus fomenting unrest among party workers. Then, when unrest took to the streets, strategic ineptitude increased until ugly unwinnable battles with media workers trying to report news were allowed to escalate.
Now PNP has lost all recent gains and is once again mired in political shallows and miseries.
Peace and Love.
- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org