There is a spirit of truth that must be placed on the table when the discussion on poverty in Jamaica is front and centre. We cannot deny the need to significantly improve the lives of all Jamaicans, the decades of uncertainty, local and global economic implications and effect and our own political efforts to lessen socioeconomic inequality. However, we must always be cognisant of facts and not allow the sway and influence of political bias to make us gullible or even hoodwinked into believing any false narratives created by default or design.
It is clear that the People’s National Party (PNP) would love the citizens of our lovely island to believe their stewardship has been worthy of unwavering support and regard, respect and of course, seen as the best ever in the reduction of poverty. The facts are there to the contrary. Their attempts to place negative economic outcomes at the feet of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) while finding excuses for their own hiccups, downturns and failings is now a tired script used in a likewise felt theatrical flop. This is the same PNP who had the best opportunity to advance the course of average and poorer Jamaicans while the world economies were all on a high. Instead, we were the country of shutdowns, closures, redundancies, bankruptcies and the inevitable ballooning of the poverty rate…and the numbers of those afflicted and affected.
In fact, the PNP should hang its head in shame being the administration that sent the middle class precipitously close to, and in many cases over the edge, into poverty. The erudite K.D. Knight himself stood in Gordon House and declared the stewardship of the PNP government had been disappointing, failing to deliver its mandate to the people, especially in the area of economic development and growth.
This attempt to downplay or negate the current JLP administration’s positive push of prosperity for all is obviously a desperate attempt to distract from the inability of the PNP to manifestly and productively grow the Jamaican economy. The JLP hasn’t tried to make excuses when it has had to take fiscally conservative or prudent steps to preserve the economic gains. It has not sought to blame the PNP for hurdles in its way or even take away credit where and when it is a due to the PNP. Yet, the PNP in it’s true hypocritical form and fashion wants to convince citizens and possible voters that the current administration has not done exceptionally well in poverty reduction.
The results are there to be data and fact checked at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), so those chained to media interpretations, bias or flawed information should do the research. Instead of trying to score cheap political points and mislead the nation on the positive strides being made by the JLP in poverty reduction and a raft of other economic development programmes, it would serve the PNP a good deal to offer ideas and workable solutions to make Jamaica move ahead.
The country can ill afford in 2019 to continue the retrograde and relic type politics that creates a divide. The only way forward is being able to applaud the positives regardless of political party and playing a part in making the dream of every Jamaican come true…prosperity for family, community and country. There is no room for hypocrisy, propaganda or playing politics. PNP, please put the country first for a change.
By Rodney Campbell