Archive for the ‘Politics and culture’ Category

‘Polling Jamaica style’

Monday, August 27th, 2007

An article in today’s edition of Barbados’ The Nation newspaper gives a “grim” assessment of Jamaica’s political culture, as written by a Bajan studying in Kingston:

“To these faces of orange and green, a vote for their party is the validation of tomorrow’s meal and to deprive them of such is to throw oneself into the lion’s den.”

Read the full article from The Nation online.

Foot in mouth disease strikes politicians!

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007


No, not like the similar sounding disease that affects cattle, but the urge politicians often feel to say things that embarrass themselves and offend the very public they are attempting to win over.

Or perhaps they just made a mistake.

People’s National Party (PNP) General Secretary Donald Buchanan, a politician whose tongue is frequently drawn, was especially unfortunate. No lesser figure than his boss, PNP President and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller scolded him from a campaign platform on Sunday, following his remarks about the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) being “retarded”.

We selected a few more gaffes from the current campaign:

“… dem will hold yuh down … An’ tek it!”
- Roger Clarke, PNP candidate for Central Westmoreland warns supporters at a Party rally in St. Elizabeth last weekend about rival suitors for voters’ affections, the JLP.

“Roger Clarke is a sorry excuse for a human being … I have a message for him … if your virginity remains intact, please rest assured that it will remain that way because we would never rape anything like you.”
- JLP Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew Desmond McKenzie assures Mr. Clarke that his party are in no way desirous of him.

“On the 28th, me ah give dem a whipping.”
- PNP candidate for Western St. Mary Delano Franklyn has an intellectual reputation. Listening to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’s election date announcement, Mr. Franklyn would have noticed that she is fond of the number seven, of which 28 is a multiple. However he should also have heard her announce August 27 as Election Day. JLP candidate Robert Montague probably won’t remind him.

“You nah go fin’ Bruce Golding lay down in a bed with the opposite sex.”
- An earlier attempt by Mr. McKenzie to reassure voters about the sexual behaviour of the JLP. Given Mr. Golding’s stated anti-gay stance this was an obvious error, which his Party colleague corrected.

“Gangsta fi Life!”
- PNP candidate for Northern Clarendon Horace Dalley got a little overexcited on a campaign platform with microphone in hand when he chose to imitate the refrain popularised by deejay Mavado. This might be viewed by some as a Freudian slip about the political system given recent violence and the widespread belief that both political parties are tainted by associations with gunmen.

“Put a ‘X’ beside the head.”
- Don Foote, JLP candidate for Eastern Westmoreland was trying to encourage people to vote JLP at a rally earlier this month. He would rather have said “beside the bell”, which is the traditional symbol of his Party, rather than encouraging people to seek affinity with that of the PNP.

Perhaps you have your own suggestions for inclusion? Add your comments below …

Red Hills painted green and orange

Friday, July 27th, 2007


Photos by Jermaine Evans and Kerry-Ann Bercher: political graffiti in the constituency of North Central St. Andrew, along Red Hills Road.

The ‘Silly Season’ is most definitely upon us, now that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has set August 27 as Election Day. Political graffiti, daubed on public and private property, is increasing as the big day approaches. This week Gleaner Online chanced upon a glaring example in the constituency of North Central St. Andrew, along the busy Red Hills Road.

‘CASSIE TO THE END, ‘JLP SAMMO RULE CASSIE’ and ‘CASSIE NUH PRE NUH CHAT!’ are some of the slogans you will see spray painted on walls, homes, and businesses in support of the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) along the road. Flags and banners in the green of the JLP and the orange of the PNP are also being used to clearly define the ‘political turf’.

Such graffiti, besides being illegal also contravenes the Political Code of Conduct, which has been agreed to by both the main parties.


When contacted incumbent Member of Parliament, Karl Samuda expressed surprise that the Avenue bearing his name, had received enthusiastic amounts of green paint from supporters. Mr. Samuda - or ‘Sammo’ as he is referred to in the graffiti - said he would take steps to have it buffed out.

At the time of writing PNP caretaker Christopher Munroe could not be reached on the issue.

Separating the rival political zones is a bus stop, located a feet away from the Sunrise Supermarket, which provides a border marker. On and around the bus stop party signs were overwritten by supporters of the other party.

But with less than five weeks to go before the election, residents shrugged off the inconvenience of the graffiti. It was ‘politics as usual’.

Seven-Star General defends the PM’s

Friday, July 13th, 2007

Deejay Horace ‘L.A.’ Lewis, the self-proclaimed ‘Seven-Star General’, has weighed into the ‘Sevens’ controversy.


L.A. was keen to defend Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller who was criticised for repeatedly mentioning the number seven and its Biblical significance during her speech to announce the election on August 27, at a People’s National Party (PNP) rally in Half-Way Tree, St. Andrew on Sunday.

“I are the seven!” pronounced the deejay who is still better known for his efforts of self-promotion; rather than the musical career he is promoting. He said he empathised with Mrs. Simpson Miller since when he choose his own ‘Seven’ tag, others in the music industry responded that it was a number associated with Satan.

Photo by Kerry-Ann Bercher: Horace ‘L.A.’ Lewis

“Just as how God made the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, election day is perfect timing,” said L.A.

In typical unconventional fashion he suggested she should follow his example in the music industry and bridge the political divide by forming an alliance with retired Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Edward Seaga – the two politicians are thought to have a mutual respect, although Mr. Seaga is retired.

“You know what I think? If Portia and Seaga work together, nothing can hold back Jamaica. Just like how Bounty Killer is the Five-Star General and I am the Seven-Star General and Bounty is the head of the Alliance and I am the head of the Federation, but we are still in the same army and we work together same way,” he said.

Website of ‘Reggae Superstar’ L.A. Lewis

Portia and Bruce dearer than Bob

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

There were surprised looks on the faces of people viewing the price tags on three paintings exhibited in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel in New Kingston.

A portrait of Bob Marley, a face instantly recognisable to tourists was on sale for $35,000, while those of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Opposition Leader Bruce Golding, two images presumably less marketable from the hotel gift shop, were priced at $70,000.


Photo by Ross Sheil: Paintings of (left to right) Opposition Leader Bruce Golding, the late Bob Marley and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller exhibited at the Hilton Hotel in New Kingston.

“Bob is an icon!” exclaimed one Kingston resident who epitomised the view that the reggae star was being undervalued; sandwiched between the two political leaders. “He has taken this country far away from days gone by when it was nowhere and from that people have wanted to come to this island.”

He valued the politicians at $25,000 each since in his opinion they have not yet made a similar contribution to national development.

Another local observed that with elections pending, artist Junior Moore was being commercially aware. “Typical opportunism from a Jamaican!” he smiled.

None of the above, replied Mr. Moore when contacted by Gleaner Online. He said that having been painted two or three years ago the Marley painting was simply less valuable than the other two portraits, which were completed one month ago.

“I was just thinking of the persons themselves and someone had commissioned me to do Portia and since I had an exhibition I thought I wouldn’t be right to do just one person, so then I put Bruce Golding in,” he explained.

The Hilton is exhibiting 17 of his paintings until the end of this month. The prices of the three paintings mentioned in this article have now been adjusted to $50,000 each.