From all the hustling going on; the gifting of Government Goodies to the poor; the patching of roads that remained in a state of neglect for years, to the Prime Minister promising to gift a sufferer, a Donkey, it would appear, that an election is in the making.
Some observers came to this conclusion a few months ago, when Rock-stone Labourites who have been largely ignored since the 2016 JLP General Election Victory, started receiving calls; promises of jobs, and Contracts for Bolo work. It seemed safe to say that the Prime Minister and his team were practicing a kind of rapprochement, by attempting to reach out to alienated voters and supporters, in readiness for the elections.
The Prime Minister and his team began polling badly in the summer of last year, and those on the ground began warning him to take steps to stop the rot and hemorrhage before it became politically fatal. But, many found out the Prime Minister hardly listens to anyone outside of his echo chamber, who, drunken by their own sense of importance, insulated themselves from the people and so could not genuinely give an honest representation of the people’s disaffection, as they chose not to see it.
With JLP supporters and members complaining of being ignored and feeling neglected by a party leader they said no longer visited the Party’s headquarters for Standing Committee Meetings; had so rundown his own Constituency office, despite it being allotted a Government stipend to maintain it, his own Constituents were shunning the office. The writing was on the wall and it said – All was not well.
Well, with the JLP’s losing its base, it was clear that the party’s electoral chances were being reduced daily, but the death knell came with the announcement of the unconscionable pay hike to Politicians, by the same Candidate who eeked out a small win promising Prosperity and Security; and buttressed that win with a landslide, in the midst of the pandemic due to the internecine warfare waged by Peter Bunting and Mark Golding et al, in their quest to wrest the leadership away from then party president Dr. Peter Phillips.
The Script was to unseat Dr. Phillips, frustrate Lisa Hanna, Phillip Paulwell and Damion Crawford, and then parachute Peter Bunting into the Leadership of the PNP. Unfortunately, no one shared the Script with Rhoda Crawford, and not knowing how the script was to unfold, she threw a major monkey wrench in it all, by unseating Peter Bunting As the MP. for Central Manchester.
Now without a seat as an MP. Bunting became a non-contender for the PNP Presidency. And so, they (The Co-Conspirators) fell back on plan B. Have Mark Golding run for the Presidency and have him occupy the post until a suitable seat could be found to usher him into Gordon House and ultimately the Presidency of the PNP.
Problem was, they could not find a seat, and even if they did, there were no guarantees that Andre Holness, in whom resides the authority to name election dates, would cooperate with the Bunting/Golding team. At the expense of his own ambition of continuing as PM.
And so it is, Mark Golding found himself as President of the PNP, surrounded by political neophytes whose operational modus was Wrong and Strong, instead of being conciliatory.
From the very beginning, Mark Golding has been the equivalent of a square peg in a round hole – A very uncomfortable fit. End result was PNP supporters and the general Electorate, did not warm to him and or his team. Now instead of embarking on a campaign to win political souls, Golding and his team went out on a campaign of vilification, smear, and destabilization.The vilified those they thought posed a clear and present challenge to their leadership; Smeared aspirants with their social media attack dogs; and tried to destabilize others they saw as a credible alternative to their own leadership.
This myopic approach, severely wounded the Party, and instead of serving to shore up Golding’s political stocks, exposed him as a petulant little man, bent on exacting personal vendettas, rather than seeking to unify his party around his leadership and the objective of providing the Country with a viable alternative to the Corrupt self-serving, shambolic kleptocracy that the Holness Administration had come to represent.
Today, 3-years after assuming the position of PNP President, Mark Golding has still taken no tangible steps to heal the divisions he, Bunting and et al, caused in the Party. His attack dogs routinely line up to abuse PNP members they think are opposed to Golding’s presidency, and they harass and seek to belittle and or question the competencies and commitment of those Party members daily. Using the intemperate language of the Gutter, they seek to slash and burn, oblivious of the fact that for them to win, they will need all hands on deck to counterbalance the JLP’s political war chest, a cadre of bloggers, and paid internet disrupters.
It was Mark Golding, who said that Dr. Peter Phillips was Unelectable because he was merely polling at 17, percent in national likeability ratings. To date, Mark Golding has been consistently polling below Dr. Phillip’s 17.01 % threshold, with one recent poll having him polling as low as 11.9%.
Clearly, the Golding Strategy is to ride the Government’s and Holness’s personal unpopularity, to eke out an election victory. And given the tradition of the Jamaican electorate voting out Governments instead of electing their Opponents, Golding’s strategy could just hold…But there are variables to be considered,
These variables include, but are not limited to determining how deep the wounds inflicted upon PNP members and Supporters are, or were they superficial flesh wounds, that can be shaken off for a unified front. Or were they deeper, to the point that they will drive down PNP turnout?
How deep is the general dissafffectin with the Holness administration, particularly, with the Party’s base, is it deep-rooted to the point it will affect voters showing up on election day, or is too just short time buyers remorse? And will the continued and obvious disunity in the ranks of the PNP, as evidenced by the recent developments in the Westmoreland parish Council, spill over into the wider discussions and affect Voters perception of the Party as a credible alternative to the current administration?
And there’s another problem facing Mark Golding, that of the absence of a unifying message and or a clarion call, to mobilze voters to a supposed greater-good. If Mark Golding can avoid the tendency to sound like a Backra-Massa, talking down to the people with his faux rootsy affectation; if he can silence the garrulous Gen Secretary, who has a tendency to sound like a contentious Market Woman, whenever he engages his opponents and or detractors,; and if he can reign in his pet canines before the Elections are announced, to allow for flayed nerves and tempers to cool, then we wuld have a perfect storm, to facilitate his election. And even then,, there’s still one final psychological hurdle he still faces, and that is the perception and acceptance of many Jamaicans that he is indeed a “White-man”, and the Whiteman days of Governing Jamaica, are long gone!