Sunday Brew — September 20, 2020

Sunday Brew — September 20, 2020

with HG HELPS
Editor-at-Large
helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, September 20, 2020

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Bunting should lead PNP

NOW that the dust has settled, the Opposition People's National Party should stop its masquerading and elect Peter Bunting as its president.

The party should not waste time debating whether or not it should be Lisa Hanna, Fitz Jackson, Julian Robinson, Mikael Phillips, or Damion Crawford. It has to be Bunting…one among a few who can preside over the reorganisation of the great political organisation that has seen some indifferent leadership over the last 15 years.

The PNP is now swimming in history which dates back to 1944, the first general election under Universal Adult Suffrage. It was an election that saw Norman Manley (4,858 votes), the party's president, lose to Eddie Fagan (5,253 votes) and not be able to sit in the House of Representatives, that appointment going to Dr Ivan Lloyd of St Ann Eastern.

Manley was also up against two other independents, Gerald Mair (3,135 votes) and Mary Morris Knibb (269 votes), the latter of education fame.

But Manley picked himself up and returned to beat Fagan and win the seat by the next election in 1949. That situation is what Bunting is faced with, unless he wishes to shorten the process by contesting a by-election, many of which I am sure we will see over the next five years.

The bickering and pettiness that has engulfed the party, though, will mean that the journey will not be a smooth one for Bunting, who, of all the potential candidates, is the most assertive, organised, and competent.

Mind you, Mark Golding, who ought to become Leader of the Opposition, would also be a good choice. But Bunting has the edge in terms of political savvy and authority. For example, you would never see Bunting leading a party that has Patrick Roberts as a candidate.

No party can be promoting the importance of education while simultaneously using candidates who, if you ask them what is one and one they tell you 11.

Foolish PNP Senate selections

YOU know, just when you think that the PNP would start the process of getting wiser, the appointments to the Senate last Monday signalled anything but that.

There were too many of the old faces, a mixture of loudmouths and meek lambs, who are like lost souls.

But then came the silly letter from the PNP Youth Organisation calling for its favourites to be appointed to the Senate, and then Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips responded by reappointing Donna Scott Mottley, Lambert Brown, Floyd Morris, Sophia Fraser Binns, Damion Crawford, and including Norman Horne, and newcomers Gabriella Morris, and Janice Allen.

Horne is a plus; Gabriela Morris is a young, charming voice, but you need generals now, not privates in your army; Crawford has to cut down on some of the rhetoric if he is to remain relevant; Brown and Fraser Binns have done their time and have added nothing tangible to the Senate, while the sympathy factor has gone too far with Floyd Morris. It's reality time.

Phillips blundered by going along with the foolish party 'principle' of not naming losing general election candidates to the senate. That, like the party, has become stale. It was another stupid move by Phillips not to have a Peter Bunting, Andre Haughton and Valerie Neita Robertson in the Upper House. Aah, the party really needs to go back to school.

Cabinet needed varnish, a few screws

I am willing to give the prime minister the benefit of the doubt, but on the face of it, the 19-member Cabinet looks like it will face the carpenter soon for a bit of fixing up.

The massive surprise is the retention of the 2,700 bun and cheese woman, Marlene Malahoo Forte as attorney general, after all that transpired in her behaviour like a first-year law student during her first term.

Daryl Vaz can consider himself lucky, even fortunate, to have been assigned a ministry, following his errors in judgement during the past Administration. He has some questions over his head, and to have sent him to a ministry that emerged as one of the most controversial last time out says to me that the prime minister did not think that one out carefully. I saw Danville Walker's letter responding to the Vaz appointment, suggesting among other things, that what is needed is people who are willing to go around bureaucracy. Wrong. People to observe the regulations of the land. Going around bureaucracy will lead to corruption. If you want to eliminate red tape, then make the necessary adjustments through the Executive, or the Legislature.

The matter of Vaz's visitor's visas, too, must be a concern. I do not believe that an individual whose visitor's visas were taken away by Jamaica's powerful trade partners, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, should be given a ministry to head. It sends a dangerous message and can have dreadful implications.

Holness again failed to project his wife, Juliet, a more than capable individual, maybe fearing that he might be criticised for nepotism. But why encourage her to run as MP then if she cannot go on to where every elected representative wants to be? It seems that making her deputy House Speaker is not utilising her talent well at all.

Of the others, Karl Samuda may be lost at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security; and I've always felt that the best person to be policy head of the health ministry is one from the profession, hence my suggestion for Dr Horace Chang, the most worthy candidate for deputy prime minister, to be in charge there, which would allow Dr Chris Tufton to run the Industry, Investment and Commerce ministry. In the meantime, questions continue to emerge about the health status of veteran Audley Shaw, a nice, 'vybzy' man who might need some time to cater to his personal challenges.

The good side of Cabinet picks

(Floyd Green)

TWO of the inspiring selections to the Holness Cabinet announced over a week ago were those of Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green, and Minister of Housing, Climate Change, Environment and Urban Renewal, Pearnel Charles Jr.

Both youngsters of politics represent where Jamaica ought to be heading in terms of establishing a vibrant political talent pool. They are bright, intelligent forward thinkers. It is people like they who, apart from Holness's popularity, made the big difference in the final outcome of the general election.

So when you look to the right of the fence during the election campaign and see people like Green, Charles Jr, Marsha Smith, Tova Hamilton, Krystal Lee, Rhoda Crawford; and then glance to the left and see Patrick Roberts, Rohan Banks, Venesha Phillips, Keith Brown, and Val Wint you are forced to make a hasty switch back to the right.

Outside of the Cabinet, again, Holness erred by giving JC Hutchinson a 'last lick', by sending him to the Ministry of Mining and Transport to warm the state minister's high chair. He will be of no practical benefit to the Administration.

Apart from Smith's trip to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, it pleased me to see the prime minister appoint Dr Norman Dunn to the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

I have been impressed with his work as MP for St Mary South Eastern, where I'm from, and I repeat that the businessman has achieved, in three years, more than anyone before him did in a full five-year term as MP.

Hopefully, Dr Dunn will bring the skill that has guided his pharmacy, real estate, hardware and other businesses over the years to benefit the State directly.

Apart from his achievements over the last three years, Dr Dunn did exceptionally well in the last general election, winning by over 1,700 votes and taking advantage of his PNP opponent Dr Shane Alexis, whose choice of football administrator Raymond Anderson as campaign manager was one of the silliest things I have ever seen.


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