Jamaica’s 18th General Election, held in 2020, is now over and the once mighty People’s National Party (PNP) has fallen again.
The writing was on the wall, but they turned a blind eye to the call for urgent renewal and new mission and vision since their defeat in February 2016.
They have allowed the process to be bundled, and so they ended up sticking to old traditions that have passed their usefulness.
Many within the party have put their selfish ambitions and pride over the development of the party and also have refused to listen to the people of Jamaica – especially the youths.
There are many who still believe that Jamaica is a PNP country, not recognizing that the younger generation is not as die-hearted and tribalistic as their parents and grandparents might have been.
Don’t try to blame the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) for calling the elections in the middle of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or any other misgivings.
You only have yourself to blame. You had the opportunity to unite the party, but unity was delayed.
In all honesty, the JLP should not have been given the reins of government on a silver platter.
The JLP won the elections in a massive landslide, not seen since 1980.
Despite continuing some of the policies of the past Portia Simpson Miller-administration, the JLP has been dogged by allegations of corruption and misconduct in public office. It also has not handled the problem of crime and violence well.
However, it would be disingenuous of me not to highlight that the JLP has worked very hard in ensuring that well-needed infrastructure work was done, the economy was stable, the unemployment and poverty levels had decreased significantly, and the environment for greater success was enabled. Therefore, the JLP deserves to win and be held accountable to do the right thing in fulfilling vision 2030.
If the PNP wishes to roar back stronger and try to retake the reins of government, there are some things that members of the party need to do urgently.
- Commit themselves to a deep and honest time of introspection.
2. Create a new mission and vision that is clear and can be understood by the common man. Stop dipping back into the ‘old bag’ once carried in the Manley era.
3. Start the renewal process now. Shed some of old stalwarts who have, in all honesty, passed their age of usefulness. In so doing, create an enabling environment where the youths and women are welcomed, are listened to, and are placed in positions where they can effect change. Engage more young people to be a part of the electoral process, by becoming councilors in Local Government Elections.
4. Invest in new technologies in closing the gap of the technology divide.
5. Expand the decision-making pool where every registered and paying member of the PNP can vote and can have a say.
The PNP has a lot of work to do. You are wounded now, but not destroyed beyond repair.
Set your house in order and be a responsible opposition.
I look forward to a stronger and sober PNP by the time the next elections is due in 2025.
Hartist McDonald, Youth Advocate from South East St. Ann.
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