Prime Minister Andrew Holness
“Things fall apart; cannot hold the center. Only anarchy has been unleashed on the world; the blood-thinning tide is released and the ceremony of innocence is lost everywhere. The best lack convictions and the worst are filled with passionate intensity.” – WB Yeats
The late radio personality Wilmot “Motty” Perkins repeated the quote with insulting regularity on his daily call-in show Perkins online. In a speech on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, Prime Minister Andrew Holness paid tribute to Perkins. As a background to announcing the Government’s decision to extend the life of public states of emergency (SOEs) in seven parishes, the prime minister, who was clearly angry and frustrated, spoke at a televised press conference about the escalation of the situation criminality, which was absent. strong action could lead to anarchy.
To find the best examples of governments and political leaders willing to take tough decisions and pursue strong actions against the emerging tsunami of decadence and indiscipline, one must look outside of Jamaica. United States President Ronald Reagan, in a show of government correctness, fired more than 11,000 air traffic controllers who defied his executive order to end their “illegal” strike within 48 hours or face termination of their services . A measure taken by Reagan, which was considered by many at the time, as an extremist air travel, was odd. The cost to America was great economically. The advantage is that there has not been another strike of this kind by air traffic controllers for more than 40 years.
In contrast, Holness, in his address on 15 November, referred to the anarchistic behavior of the Transport Workers’ Sustainable Development Services led by Egerton Newman (TODSS), which had gone on strike. For three days the Government and the travelers were hostages. It was Ezroy Millwood and the decrepit déjà vu of the National Transport Co-operative (NTCS) again. It is as if Nero fiddled while Rome burned.
Wilmot “Motty” Perkins
In Jamaica successive governments and politicians have consistently failed to demonstrate strong leadership. They seemed more interested in popularity than in principled action which carries a certain amount of electoral risk. Rampant criminals and hit-and-run transport operators have the upper hand. Instead of firmly confronting and subduing the forces that want to destroy the nation, what we have instead is palliative treatment; a small solution here and there, which will reduce the pain but fails to deter the perpetrators of heinous acts against the State and the citizens or to solve fundamental problems.
At the handover ceremony of the units in the Rosny Park Housing Development in St Catherine, it seemed that, from his comments, Prime Minister Andrew Holness had discovered the negative effects of the Government’s intransigence and the need with personal accountability at the top. In the front page story of the Thursday, October 13, 2022 edition of The Cleaner he is reported to have said, “I don’t care anymore. I have to start thinking about the legacy. What will Jamaica be? Will it be the way I came and saw it?”
Shortly after what could be described as a turning point in Holness’s leadership of the Government and the country, Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) chairman and St. Mary’s West Member of Parliament Robert Montague, at an address by delegates at a meeting of the Council in District One, rhetoric that rose. the partisan audience, but on close examination it is the antithesis to Holness’s aspirations to be a transformational leader. November 7, 2022 edition of The Cleaner made the statement. “Many times, dem rise up on Andrew and criticize him, and we as Laborites always say, ‘So, Andrew can deal with it.’ We can’t let that happen. Andrew is doing a great job. We have to protect him when that happens.”
With that being the normal culture within our political parties, one should not be surprised that a prominent member of the ruling party could make a blatantly racist comment about the Leader of the Opposition and his late father, without public reparations and punitive measures from the Community . leadership. It was left to Political Ombudsman Donna Parchemnt Brown to issue a statement condemning the speech. Like day after night, the political Ombudsman and her office have become history. It is difficult not to associate the two.
On Wednesday, November 30, 2022 chief executive officer Grace Kennedy (GK) Senator Don Wehby delivered the James Moss-Solomon Memorial Lecture on the campus of the University of the West Indies. He recounted the rise of GK from a small commercial and commercial business in downtown Kingston to a Jamaican brand with a global footprint. Instead of basking in past successes, he set new and tougher goals for future expansion and growth. One could not help but draw parallels between the company’s progress and the country’s and wonder what Jamaica would be like today if it had benefited from the same level of leadership.
Ultimately, whether Prime Minister Holness leaves the kind of legacy as a leader he wants will come down to his own rhetoric and actions. He continues to miss opportunities to demonstrate that he is the master of his own political house and its destiny. He has the intellectual ability, the work ethic, the good will, the love of country, and the goodwill among many Jamaicans to be an influential and memorable prime minister.
As another year of unrealized potential draws to a close and a new year filled with great expectations approaches, well-meaning Jamaicans are impatient for a change in the quality of national leadership “so that Jamaica, under God, may increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity. and to participate in promoting the welfare of the whole human race”.
Dr Henley Morgan is founder and executive chairman of the Trench Town Renewal Social Enterprise Agency and author of My Trench Town Journey — Lessons in Social Entrepreneurship and Community Transformation for Policy Makers, Development Leaders, and Practitioners . Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or [email protected]