Peter, the mutineers, and the right move


Peter, the mutineers, and the right move

Louis Moyston

Monday, January 13, 2020

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According to the article 'Peter in a pickle — Some members of PNP shadow Cabinet livid over return of Dayton Campbell', published in the Jamaica Observer on January 9, 2020, Dr Peter Phillips has restored Dr Dayton Campbell to the shadow Cabinet and to the party's council of spokespersons, and is now facing mutiny in the ranks of his shadow Cabinet.

Making peace is important. The People's National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) have had a history of wars from the trade union activities in the 1940s to the 1960s, and extreme tribal party relations accelerated into warlike proportion after 1976. Today both parties are at peace, there is relative calm in the related communities, and, to a little extent, PNP members are joining the JLP, and JLP to the PNP.

Then, why can't some members of the PNP accept one of its own after the recent leadership battle? It was spirited, and boundaries regarding good and regular behaviour were violated, but the effort to mend this breach must be welcomed heartily.

The leader of the Opposition must be congratulated for making such a bold and decisive pronouncement; it is an indication of the strength of will to confront the incoherency in the party. It was a right decision and a mature act, and Dr Campbell is not a hypocrite to accept the recall. He did the right thing. To those 'mutineers', did Dr Campbell do anything that was new to internal party leadership campaigns?

One senior party member, according to the report, said he does not know if the member who threatened to resign “has seen how petty he will look and the damage he could do to his brand”.

Any effort to reduce tribal politics in Jamaica must be embraced, whether it is internal party tribalism and/or the general PNP and JLP tribalism. The time has come for that new post-Independence politics. It requires change! What is even worse is the tribalistic behaviour of some young politicians.

The leader of the PNP must have been listening to the people. The general members of the public and members and supporters of the PNP welcome this as one of the boldest acts of the leader of the PNP. Dr Campbell is one of the most informed and articulate politicians in the country, and there are those who are determined to ignore and neglect this quality 'firebrand' are the less for it. He is an excellent role model for all Jamaican youth, especially those in the rural areas. After his medical degree he continued to law school and earned a degree as he prepared himself to serve the country. He is not about gimmicks at a time when attention-grabbing and publicity stunts are popular, he remained steadfastly purposeful. He has the 'juice' to stir and inspire the souls of Jamaican folks.

If the role of the political party is, in a general sense, to organise itself in a manner to capture or retain state power, the party must put its best feet forward — and this is done through teamwork and not an individual starring from the platform.

It became very clear to the leader of the PNP that the issue of transformation was too important to be kept as a secret, and that there has not been any release of any policy ideas on transformation with the haunting spectre of election over the horizon.

Politics is more than “pretty talk”, it is about work and performance. The political leadership of this country must demand new thinking and behaviour from the young. The politics of the 21st century belongs to the intelligent and those who are willing and bold to lift Jamaican politics out of the pig sty mud and the “dutty” tribal political relations to higher level. It was not one group of Jamaican people that brought us to the turbulence of the 1930s that defiantly challenged the colonial order at its culmination in 1938. It was a united Jamaica that fought for that monumental victory. What greatness have we, collectively, achieved since then?

The young generation of Jamaican politicians is expected to heal the breach that was committed after 1938 in dividing the Jamaican peoples into two major antagonistic tribes, and not to widen the divide. Some of our problems regarding social disarray and underdevelopment can be traced to the severe dangers of partisan tribalism in Jamaica and #wearetiredofit!


Louis E A Moyston, PhD, is a university lecturer. Send comments to the Observer or

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