October 28, 2020

No more garrisons says PM elect

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Andrew Holness

Suspense is rapidly escalating as to whether Jamaica’s new Prime Minister to be, Andrew Holness will be assigned Member of Parliament, MP, for the Western Kingston constituency, hometown of the former area leader, Christopher “Dudus” Coke.

If the incoming Prime Minister inherits the constituency, he could be charged with the responsibility of improving the rapport between the community and the party, following the extradition of Mr. Coke, and forced to juggle the task of appeasing the Jamaica Labour Party loyalists while simultaneously transforming the constituency’s image.

Suspense is also rife as to whether the new leader can fulfill his proposed mandate, to eradicate political activism, which pundits claim is entrenched in the lifestyle of some communities.

Prime Minister elect, Andrew Holness, told the Jamaican press that despite being the political representative for a garrison community, he has no personal desire to uphold the stigma.

“I have been accused of being a “garrison” politician because I have a garrison community. I don’t believe that is fair,” said Mr. Holness.

Political analysts have said that affiliation with gangs has been used by politicians as a traditional tool of voter manipulation and control and for the foundation of garrison communities.

Both the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, JLP and the opposition, People’s National party, PNP, have long been accused of harbouring criminal elements and political activists.

Christopher “Dudus” Coke

In a highly contentious and ardent mood, Jamaica’s soon to be Prime Minister, Mr. Andrew Holness says he has no intention of entertaining the emergence or support of any more “Area Leaders” or “Dons.”

In his address to the nation, through a Jamaican news media, the politician distanced himself from the embracing of any criminal element in his constituency, either as “Area Leaders” or community “Dons.”

Mr. Holness also pledges not to allocate or utilise public funds in the accommodation of any “Don Man” activities. The soon to be JLP Leader made the starting revelation that residents of some communities are already too adjusted to the “Don Man” styled leadership to appreciate change.

Mr Holness, also indicated that financial provision by government for elaborate funerals for community members is a tradition that he does not intend to continue.

“I never use public resources to support “Don Man-ship.” People were upset, even though I built four basic schools, built a community centre, and is now going to build a police station.

“I have cleaned all the gullies down there, [the referred to constituency] three times over, did a wall fence project, and corrected their water problems but yet; I don’t get credit for that, because what people want is for me to use public resources to pay for funerals.” said Holness.

Referring to the constituency which he represents the incoming leader said: “Who is the “Don” for West central St. Andrew?”

Following the arrest and extradition of the former Tivoli Gardens, [West Kingston] Area Leader/Don, Christopher “Dudus” Coke, the constituency has been functioning without a conspicuous leadership figure.

Jamaicans protest against Dudus’ arrest

The constituency has a history of aggressive loyalty to the Jamaica Labour Party, JLP, and is arguably the Party’s most valuable support base in all their elections.

West Kingston, is widely regarded as a political garrison, and has recently incurred the stigma of being the place where the departing JLP leader, Bruce Golding, suffered his infamous “fall from grace.”

Mr. Holness’s ambition to rid Jamaican politics of the so-called, “garrison” component is not the first of its kind by a JLP leader.

In his acceptance of the honour to lead the JLP, and the country, in 2007, the outgoing Prime Minister, Bruce Golding expressed his intention to alienate the party and its image from any sort of affiliation with questionable community figures.

 

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