Up until a few months ago, maybe more, the JLP Leadership and its supporters, were predicting that they would be in power for another decade or two, hyped on their own Kool-aid, and completely disconnected from the reality of those they governed, they managed to convince themselves, that indeed, all was well and getting better!
The truth was however, all was not well, as the average Joe was finding it increasingly difficult to provide for himself and his family. And The Nextdoor Mary, mother of 3, who managed to find employment as a Helper, earning $15.000.00 per week, was finding it even more difficult, as her salary was not keeping pace with the cost of living. And with each passing day, the basic cost of food, made feeding her and her 3-children, that much more difficult.
Now, Dave, used to work as a full-time Gardener, whose employer grudgingly paid him the minimum wage recommended by Government, and realizing that the maths was not working in his favour, he gave up his full-time job, and began working as a Day’s Worker, charging $7000, per day for his services. But being an entrepreneur, the $7000, was his basic fee; if he had to use his own tools such as a whacker, lawnmower, or his saw, then that attracted a fee, as did washing motor vehicles. He now has steady jobs 4 days per week, earning twice the minimum wage, and he is still having trouble meeting his basic needs, so he is busy trying to find two additional days, to fill his work calendar to six-working days.
Now all three, are, scratch that, were supporters of the Government and held high hopes for Andrew Holness’s Prime Ministerial stewardship. Now, these were people who had no ambition beyond being able to feed themselves and their loved ones. So they were easy to work with. Today, however, all three, are rabidly anti-Holness and Anti JLP to the point that they are willing to campaign against the JLP, to remove them from power.
Their reasons are simple, they are frustrated by prices in the supermarkets and shops, and they were disheartened by the news that Andrew Holness and the JLP Cabinet, voted themselves multi,-million dollar raises, in the face of the suffering being borne by everyday Jamaicans like themselves. They see the pay raise to Politicians, as a slap in the face and a complete betrayal of their trust and expectations, based on Holness’s pre-campaign promises of Prosperity and Safety and Security. And they are none too pleased with the announcement that the Country is being taken into the era of being a Cash-less society, as they see this impacting them negatively, in a significant manner.
Now, Next-Door Mary; Average Joe, and Dave, represented the base of the JLP. Mary is willing to tell you how many times she had to sit on ballot boxes or hide them under her dress, to prevent the PNP hoodlums from stealing them to influence the outcome of elections. And Dave sharing his experience of how many people he used his own Motorcycle to ferry to and from polling stations in the last elections, you will not only understand their deep sense of betrayal, but you will begin to get a clearer understanding of why, they take all of the recent development so personal, to the point they are now willing to do everything in their power to see Holness lose the next elections.
In their reasoning, Holness does not care for the poor. And even worse, he does not care for the people who sacrificed to make him become Prime Minister. Joe points out that every time the Police act in this Country is to brutalize and or further victimize the Poor. To his mind, they are beaten, their goods confiscated and sometimes get arrested every time they try a Little hustling, to support their families.
Dave points out that there are no aisles in the Supermarkets and or Groceries, that are reserved for minimum wage earners. He bitterly points out that he as a minimum wage earner, and his boss who possibly takes home millions in salary annually, pay the same amount for food, whenever they go shopping.
He believes that if the Government was serious about helping the poor, they would do something tangible like adjusting the GCT on basic food items to ease the burden on the poor. But all three, are convinced that the Government only cares about its own survival and very little else. As they are not convinced that the Government is doing anything to Fight Crime, and or stem the wave of criminal activity affecting the Country; or the corruption within the ranks of the Government.
They have all considered and are still considering migrating as an option. But say before they go, they would like to get rid of ‘Anju’ as he is a ginnal.
And there in lies the problem facing Andrew Holness and the JLP – They are losing their base, and without the base, the party cannot win the next elections. The work performed by the base to turn out and secure votes is incalculable. They are the Party’s ears and mouths, spreading the word and policing the faithful to make sure everyone toes the line and remains committed. When they break away from the fold, the Party is vulnerable to voter manipulation and or intimidation. And equally important, when they are demotivated and stay away from the polls, the other side has free reign and usually runs roughshod over election workers, poll clerks, and observers.
Apart from the high cost of living and the breakdown of security in the Country,, all three offered that they are indeed bothered by the Prime Minister’s new ‘boasy’ attitude and the constant cass-cass he engages in. They want a less confrontational PM. one who’s in touch with the people and is willing to listen to them and act in accordance with their wishes.
In the Theatre, the saying is, ‘it’s not over until the ‘Fat-Lady’ sings’. Well, in the Jamaican Political Theatre, the Fat Lady, (The Voter), is warming up. And it seems that she is preparing herself to deliver the Mother-of-All Farewell Arias.