Impending Sleep Deprivation

If this blog is updated at an even more sporadic rate than present, it’s because I am consumed by the NBA Finals and the World Cup. And next year is the Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Don’t know how I’m going to manage catching up on watching as many games as possible. I jus’ hope it’s not American commentators. *frown*

In any event, I was glad to see in today’s Gleaner that Abe Dabdoub, now an Independent Member of Parliament, has tabled legislation for sterner rules regarding funding for political parties. I hope this legislation does not now (1) get politicized or (2) get the same treatment as the reformation of our ancient Constitution.

The argument that ‘honest’ donors may be turned away from making donations because they don’t want to reveal their identities is rubbish. Bruce Golding had the gall to put forth this excuse as his reason for not supporting similar recommendations put forth in a Trevor Munroe-led committee. Unbelievable. Such a ‘defense’ does nothing to dispel the widely held idea that Jamaican politicians are crooked and up to no good, or that politics lives true to its Greek origins. We cannot allow politicians to cower in fear of losing a few dollars (ok, maybe millions) from wealthy donors. Besides, as Omar Davies’ failed campaign for PNP President shows, money really can’t ensure (buy) everything. This campaign money issue is far-reaching. Party leaders must be made to show that they are not afraid to let the public know where the money is coming from. It would seem that those in Parliament forget that they are elected officials and in the end should be accountable to voters and the wider public. Perhaps they need a little reminder. And a conscience.

It’s time for Jamaicans to be unafraid to admit their political affiliations and who their money to. There’s nothing wrong with siding with one political party so long as it’s not a danger to your safety and you don’t illegally or unfairly manipulate situations to that party’s advantage. Getting rid of the former caveat will be a matter of time and persistence against the pervasive association between criminals and politicians.

Supporting legislation to make public the sources of campaign funding is but one way to put into practice the notions of accountability and transparency. Our political culture is so deeply entrenched in buy-a-vote tactics that having campaign contributions laid open to public scrutiny is necessary, not just welcome. Ordinary Jamaicans to intellectuals to think tanks to talking pundits should be able to scrutinize the donations received by any of Jamaica’s political parties. I also agree with Dabdoub that until we have developed a habit of making this information public and transparent, no public funds should be used to fund campaigns. This legislation is a step in the direction of greater public sector accountability. Too much money is lost in ill-advised or just plain schemes or just plain corruption as it is. We need to start developing and practicing a philosophy of transparency in public and private sector business where the parties involved can be held accountable.

Where Jamaica’s money is concerned strict and enforceable rules are necessary to ensure an adequate, efficient and fair use. Where Jamaica’s future is concerned, everything legally and humanly possible should be done to make sure it is secure.

O yeah, there’s an argument out there that firing Paulie will not solve the cement problem and that the problem is actually a problem of management ability and decisions. Yes, Paulie is a poor manager and I doubt he has the ability to make decisions for himself much less a country of 2.7 million. Fire him. It won’t solve anything immediately of course but it sure as hell will get the ball rolling. Again, accountability is important. More on this later, of course.

And as for Portia’s declining approval ratings. Ha! Well the numbers had no where to but down really given the historic event and euphoria, which is why some wanted her to call elections almost immediately (like for this Summer…not gonna happen until after Summer this year). Sister P did not, however, help herself by her slow response to the ongoing cement crisis, ‘faith’ in Paulie, or the present cass cass within the PNP. PJ may have been a lousy PM and leader but he kept iron control on party problems and kept the party unified and loyal. Sister P has a tough road to keep her faithful from purging the party of all those not supportive of her. To do such a thing is a sure ticket for the JLP to win the next elections. Add to this that Bruce made a credible budget presentation and has been sounding more like a leader and less like an idiot with all that bangarang talk. Woi. I still think she’s what Jamaica wants right now – hope – but in order to be what Jamaica needs – good, strong, effective leadership – she has work to do.

Now it’s off to begin a month of willing and blissfull sleeplessness. As Dallas and Miami finish off the 1st game….


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