Of what relevance is Mr Mark Golding's complexion, Mr Barker?Tuesday, November 23, 2021
We don't know for sure, but we feel confident that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) constituency Vice-Chairman Mr Millholland Barker, would have received a stern letter, first thing yesterday morning, from his party leader Mr Andrew Holness.
In that missive, Mr Holness would have put Mr Barker on notice that his attempt to bring People's National Party (PNP) President Mr Mark Golding's complexion into our already flawed politics is grounds to ask him to exit the party.
Mr Holness, a transformational leader, by his own reckoning, would have been as grateful as the rest of us to Jamaica Observer writer Mr Horace Mills for exposing Mr Barker's backward views that we thought had been left behind in the 1970s.
Given Mr Barker's obvious seniority in age, we would have expected some level of wisdom, instead of the wallowing in the mud that he brought to his St Catherine North Western constituency conference on Sunday in Ewarton.
In his attempt to enlighten us that Mr Golding will have a tough time wooing the electorate by virtue of his complexion being much fairer than that of the average Jamaican, Mr Barker said this:
“He is not of the same type of colour that we have — not that I have a problem, but Jamaica is different. Jamaica likes a certain colour and, if yuh don't have that colour, yuh inna problem.”
Mr Golding's complexion, he wanted to educate us, is among factors that could negatively affect his entire team, considering the general impact that a party leader should have on his slate of candidates, as “governments don't win election; a party win it”.
He then proceeded to let us know that the late former JLP leader and Prime Minister Mr Edward Seaga could attest to suffering politically because he was not of a dark shade. “The greatest planner we had was Seaga, but him did have a certain colour.”
Fortunately, Mr Barker does not speak for all or even most Jamaicans, who have largely embraced the national motto: “Out of many, one people.” Nor do we, for one moment, believe that he spoke for Mr Seaga, who did not dignify a feeble attempt to make his colour an issue in an election with a response.
Mr Barker appeared to have been suffering political amnesia in being ignorant of the fact that one of, if not the most popular politicians in Jamaica was the late PNP president and Prime Minister Mr Michael Manley, despite being of the same complexion as Messrs Golding and Seaga.
Indeed, former JLP Prime Minister Mr Bruce Golding was “fairer than the average Jamaican”, and so was Sir Alexander Bustamante and Sir Donald Sangster before him.
Mr Barker, twice a loser in municipal elections in the Ewarton Division, was a third-time loser for his childish effort to rouse a party crowd that did not seem impressed with his speech. The JLP might wish to decide if it wants such a man to be its standard-bearer in the area.
Thankfully for the party, the constituency chairman and ex-policeman, Mr Newton Amos, was there to distance well-thinking Labourites from the silly ranting of the man who wants to replace him, should and when the time comes.
Mr Mills quotes Mr Amos as saying he did not think a party leader's colour influences or should influence the electorate's perception, and that colour bears no relevance to our politics in Jamaica.
Schoolchildren need to see a sign that the likes of Mr Barker has no place in a modern, enlightened party.