As Jamaica’s general election draws near, many are wondering if the people will vote for more crime and unemployment, or will they vote for change. Before I begin this article it is important that I make it clear that I am not affiliated with either party. I, like you, am just someone who loves the beautiful island of Jamaica and wants what is best for it and its people.
Four years ago after the People’s National Party’s landslide victory, I remember going to get my hair done, and being told by the stylist that things will be much better now that the PNP is in charge. Growing up overseas, I was unfamiliar with Jamaica’s political parties and its political processes. What was very clear to me however, was that every Jamaican was either a laborite (supporter of the Jamaica Labor Party), or a comrade (supporter of the People’s National Party); even those who say they are uncommitted tend to be passionate about one of the two parties. You see, the stylist, much like many Jamaicans, connected with the PNP in an inexplicable way. After paying close attention, I soon realized that the masses were not connecting with the PNP because they are the better party, in fact, most Jamaicans will openly admit that the JLP does a better job at running the country. However, the PNP have mastered the art of poli-tricking. Again, let me state that I am not officially linked with either party and I have never voted in Jamaica, nor can I. That being said, it does not take a genius to read the PNP’s playbook.
From what I have seen, the People’s National Party has managed to remain in power for so many years because they support and encourage lawlessness, poverty and instability. And although some Jamaicans will deny it, the reality is that a lot of us have become accustomed to a lawless hustling way of life. I have spoken with police officers who were very open about being able to hustle money from members of the public when the PNP is in power and getting away with it. The same officers also confessed that when the JLP is in power, if they are caught doing any wrongs they stand a greater chance at being admonished than when the PNP is in power. I have personally been robbed by two police officers in 2013 in Westmorland, and I can recount so many other stories that my friends and colleagues have shared about similar experiences. Additionally, Jamaica’s murder rate has gotten out of control since the People’s National Party came into power a few years ago. It got so bad that at one point the National Minister of Security, Peter Bunting, reportedly said that “the country needs Devine intervention.” This was interpreted as he was unable to do the job which he was elected to do, which is to secure the people of Jamaica.
In the last general election, the PNP’s campaign was all about JEEP (Jamaica Emergency Employment Program). The PNP government swept into power promising Jamaicans jobs, jobs and more jobs. Unfortunately, the JEEP broke down months into the PNP’s term leaving thousands of Jamaicans still out of work and frustrated.
So here we are again, another election is just around the corner and the people of Jamaica get to decide on their security, employment, or lack thereof. Will Jamaicans choose an increase in crime and unemployment or will they seek change?