With regards to the recent debacle concerning the leadership of Jamaica, I am led to give my opinion on the situation which has recently unfolded. The extradition issue surrounding Christopher “Dudus” Coke has been a serious concern for many Jamaicans. I am not aware of the full details of the extradition request, however I do not believe that the Bruce Golding led administration has been forthright with the people of Jamaica. Prime Minister Golding was indeed misleading in not telling the nation the exact details under which the law firm Manatt Phelps and Phillps were contracted to act on behalf of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). PM Golding owes further explanation and an apology to the Jamaican people for his misleading statements.
The Prime Minister further used the parliamentary Standing Order to prevent from answering further questions on the matter pertaining to the requested services from the law firm. However, based on PM Golding’s prior statements in parliament with regards to the PNP administration’s role in the Trafigura affair, his actions on the behalf of his party are not independent of his actions as Prime Minister.
I agree that no Jamaican citizen should be extradited to the United States to stand trial without ensuring that they have the full protection guaranteed to them under the laws of Jamaica. This benefit must and should be extended to every Jamaican and not just to individuals such as Mr. Coke. The extent of the JLP’s involvement with and the protection of Mr. Coke underlie a serious problem with the Jamaican political landscape. There is no denying that Jamaica’s political system is intertwined with elements of criminality within the nation. This entanglement with criminal entities extends beyond any one political party. The two-party system in Jamaica and the strict alignment of the Jamaican populace in allegiance to either party has stifled debate on relevant national issues. The partisan political nature has led to the ignorant endorsement of unethical and immoral acts by governing political administrations. The existence of garrison constituencies and the refusal by our leaders to eradicate gang culture and community “donmanship,” has crippled the nation. The political culture in Jamaica has resulted in an increase in the nation’s crime and murder rate.
Bruce Golding has an excellent opportunity at this time to take a firm stance against the political culture which has led to the current state of affairs in Jamaica. As such, this is a time for the Golding administration to make amends for what has already taken place under his administration. The extradition issue concerning Mr. Coke must to be dealt with in the purview of the public.
I do not believe that a resignation by PM Golding will at this time be the answer to the current problem. Now is an excellent opportunity for us to begin to demand answers from the Prime Minster, which he must answer in his position as the Chief Servant to the people of Jamaica. If the will of the majority dictates that the Prime Minister surrenders his position, then the will of the people must prevail. The dissatisfaction expressed by the people of Jamaica is commendable, and the nation’s current fixation with the actions of government and holding them accountable must remain. It is unfortunate that this was not done in the past. The current state of affairs in Jamaica is as much the fault of the Jamaican people as well as our political leaders. The Jamaican populace has been passive in demanding explanations and actions from our leaders. We have sat by and watch the nation sink into a state of injustice. Jamaica will never regain its splendor until the people of Jamaica realize the necessity of actively participating in rebuilding the nation.
No political party or entity can distance itself from the criminality that runs rampant in the country. Jamaicans should have been demanding answers and resignations long before today. It may be ineffective to list all the previous acts of corruption by political administrations past and present, for which no one sought to remedy. Let us then ride the current wave of national political discourse that is taking place. However, we must be rationale in how we act and of our demands. Any Jamaican that feel that they have been wronged by the Golding Administration has the right to demand for the dissolution of the government, but in so doing must not seek to replace it with an administration that will be just as inept at dealing with our current dilemma.
Let us not allow ourselves to denigrate our discussion to ideological divides and nonsensical name calling. Creating social networking groups inconsistent with an atmosphere of sound intellectual discussions will not make Jamaica or our state of affairs any better.
Where do we go from here? What actions must and can be taken by the people of Jamaica to finally rid the nation of crime and corruption? Today is the day, and now is the time that we must strategize and begin to find meaningful ways of rebuilding our island nation. No country can be constructed without a proper foundation. Jamaica’s foundation has been eroded. We must become committed to reestablishing this foundation. We cannot and should not rely on any political administration to do this. It starts and ends with the people of Jamaica, the common man, the students, the entertainers, families, the ordinary mom’s and dad’s. Perhaps when we realize as a people that the future of Jamaica depends greatly on our actions today, maybe one day the guns will stop barking, maybe one day we will have a leadership committed to the development of the nation as a whole and not just the development and substance of party loyalist and garrison constituencies.
Today is a defining moment in our history as a people. Let us not allow this moment to pass by without making the best of it. Pledge today to end the crime and violence that has so long plagued our nation. Let us embrace our power to stand together as one and not be made into mere tokens for use by our political administrators. It is time we put an end to the tears that have been flowing, to the thousands of lives lost. Put an end to the disregard for the lives of the children who hold the nation’s future in their hands. It is time to take back Jamaica; the future is ours for the making. A nation at war with itself is a nation defeated. Let us unite to build a better Jamaica.
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