Mon | May 27, 2024

Mark Wignall | Spare no love for a political party

Published:Sunday | April 14, 2024 | 12:06 AM
Jamaica Labour Party supporters on their way to the St. Andrew North Western nomination centre on Thursday, February 8.
Jamaica Labour Party supporters on their way to the St. Andrew North Western nomination centre on Thursday, February 8.

In 2016 and in 2020, I allowed myself to feel political emotion for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). So I voted for the party in the general elections held in those years.

Of course, to anchor myself to political sanity, in 2020, I was convinced that I was on the right side of history by recognising the difficulty of effective governance during a pandemic that had never been experienced. On that basis, I lauded Andrew Holness and his government and felt quite safe lauding what I saw as his virtues and the ability of his finance minister to reach into the minds of some of us and convince us that the JLP governmental machinery was quietly humming in the big warehouse.

In 2023, when Mrs Juliet Holness was made Speaker of the House, it was very obviously a stupid move, but the foolish political moment was still inside of me. Under no circumstances is it healthy or parliamentary sound for the PM and his wife to be occupying powerful posts in the JLP.

How about the prime minister (PM) and Deputy PM? Or PM and Speaker of the House? In hindsight, what was the ultimate objective of such a move?

In every marriage each partner is, without the objective being broadcasted, trying to determine and jockey for the stronger position. Is the prime minister naturally a stronger person than his wife? Or is she, as I suspect, the one to get him to ride side-saddle. There is hardly anything wrong with a stronger wife paired with a man willing to yield to less of himself.

When Mrs Holness was made Speaker, the very first thing we expected of her was empowerment of Jamaican women and our girls, and we expected her to enjoy doing that. Sure, the politics would be there, but in no instance did we expect her to diss a woman who was more deserving of praises.

One reader emailed me about her letter to Clerk of the House Ms Valrie Curtis: “Mark, what are the allegations of wrongdoing? A lot of big words, but no substance. Allegations the Clerk failed to follow instructions or directives. What exact instructions or directives? The Speaker was quick to distribute the letter to all MP’s and in effect the public. Whose idea was this? Let us assume it was the Speaker’s idea, why is the letter so vague. Why the need to be so public about the letter, when the Speaker refused to release AG reports and IC submissions and has been so secretive herself. It was a pathetic attempt at distraction for the public and a pathetic performance by the Speaker and JLP in Parliament.”

I find little about the reader’s email to disagree with. He continued: “She tried to obliterate the Clerk’s good reputation and decades of solid, competent service in one letter. If the Clerk was so terrible, how was she able to be the Clerk for so long. Honestly, the Speaker’s behaviour is sanctionable. But she probably has Parliamentary immunity.”

Many of us need to mine our souls and rid the soft side of us of those foolish political emotions.

You may not like me for saying this, but the level of arrogance and entitlement inside the JLP is alarming. Just today, I drove up to the very spot where Chupski and I voted in 2016 and 2020 - Red Hills Basic School. Someone asked me to take them to the nearby health centre.

Going to be a hard trip for me next time out.


Haiti- 200 years

Poem by Ray Mair

Haiti, I want to sing of you

And to dance your legends

To the merengue of your songs

But now rain scours your bald hills

and leeches your green hopes

Once, your brave heart was the drum

that gave the beat that thrummed

the rhythm of freedom

through these islands

Once your mountaintops blazed

with bonfire beacons

flames in a free wind, lighting the way.

The fires now are cold

The dream so often betrayed.

But you wait, you wait,

Your drums will thunder ancient incantations

Of love and praise, to raise

reluctant Toussaint.


For those of us who are political junkies, we know that it is easy to kick our PM to the kerb. He makes it quite easy for us. At the same time, because he is a politician and he has been around for a long time, we know there must be something about People’s National Party (PNP) President Mr Mark Golding that would fit into the slot of ‘politician. Someone to know and know of.

Well for now, that may be his biggest asset. Not enough is known about him to criticise, and when he may need the political boost, there is not enough known about him to laud and lift up on our shoulders all the way to the next general elections.

Many are already jumping the gun by writing a prescription of loss for the JLP at the next elections. We know, of course, that a political party on power hates to give up the ghost and so much sweet power to a bunch of guys that as far as we know, they are into the game for the political gamble.

We have not seen any indications that Golding and his team want to do one better than Mr Holness and his wife and his Cabinet have done so far,

But really now, who is Mr. Golding? In what area of governance does he eclipse Mr Holness? To what extent does Mr Golding make himself out to be a master while PM Holness is just sputtering at the wheel?

Mark Wignall is a political and public affairs analyst. Send feedback to and