Twice in one day!

October 11, 2006 at 4:09 pm 25 comments

I’ve been contemplating writing about this for a while and have been ummming and ahhhhing and have decided to finally post something on the topic of Transfigure. You see, I’m interested in politics. But disheartened with it all.

To start with, my problem is that I’m confused. I’m confused as to what really is going on. You see, as far as my law knowledge goes, if it is indeed a ‘gift’ then the PNP technically have done nothing wrong. Until we face issues of funding political parties and pass some legislation, then there is nothing to say that they can’t take gifts. However, yes they are on iffy ground taking a ‘gift’ just before a contract is renewed.

Of course, ideally we don’t want our politicians to owe anyone anything. But being realistic, unless they are funded from public funds, they are going to have to take money from the private sector.

We need to set up laws that say that all donations over X amounts need to be declared. That we can or cannot accept donations from foreign. That companies giving money can or cannot get state contracts.

But the other side that no one seems to be mentioning is that JLP has been campaigning big style for months now. Where is that money coming from? Is it just that they have better bank contacts that mean that nothing about their donations gets leaked?

I’m still confused though. I feel that having one party in power for so long isn’t good for democracy. They become settled and they feel they can get away with anything. A change is good, new ideas, shakes everyone up, prevents complacency. But at the same time, the JLP have done absolutely nothing to convince me to vote for them. They have not said a word about any policies they’d introduce. They say they’d spend more on education and health, but not said how or where it would come from. Instead, they seem happy to just go on allegations and accusals.

I hope that we deserve better. I have a dream that these elections will actually revolve around what is good for the nation, what they would do with power, how they would help us. Give us some concrete ideas rather than just ‘we’ll fix it.’ Because lots of bad things happen in Jamaica that need facing. But also, lots of good things happen in Jamaica. I’d love to hear the JLP say that we think PNP has done X badly and Y well so we will change X by doing this and we’ll keep Y.

I’ve registered to vote and my vote is up for grabs. I just hope that someone can convince me to vote for them using a positive reason, rather than relying on the cass cass.


Entry filed under: On politicing and current events.

Food glorious food Asking for advice…

25 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cooldestiny  |  October 11, 2006 at 4:37 pm

    I disagree with one statement you made. One thing that the JLP has said and committed to (not that their word means shit) is constitutional reform. Now, that is a tall order and I don’t believe they can achieve it in one term in office. However, this is the direction Jamaica needs to go in if we want things to get better. This will pave the way for improved legislation and guidelines as it relates to donations to political parties, granting of contracts, etc.

    Let’s be realistic. Corruption will NEVER be eliminated. As I say, as long as we can see meaningful economic growth, povery decline, employment opportunities increased, good education and health systems, acceptable standard of living, etc, I’m sure the masses would say to hell with the corruption for the most part.

    I also believe that voters are now more aware and also the more educated in our society (like myself) who have abstained from voting in the past, has made sure to get enumerated to be able to cast their ballot next election.

  • 2. Leon  |  October 11, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    Trafigura my dear. I won’t vote at all. I don’t like either of them. Yes there should be a law governing campaign spending, but the PNP’s just trying to look “conscientious.”

  • 3. Melody  |  October 11, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    How I’ve been hearin’ it, JLP reportedly aimin’ at free secondary education, universal healthcare (increased central subsidies), & constitutional reform — now they’ll prob’ly add campaign finance reform. Mek dem try. But arrogance, defiance, attack-as-defence, outright lies, focus on questionably fundin’ conference instead o’ throwin’ a scrap at de starved social sectors — I’d definitely give de JLP a chance right about now.

  • 4. Gela's Words  |  October 11, 2006 at 7:42 pm

    No KG, it’s not that’s it’s just a gift. That’s how parties normally fund their campaign, by gifts from the private sector. But this Trafigura (not Transfigure 🙂 thing looks suspiciously like a kickback. When you look at the fact that Trafigura benefits from a contract that doesn’t go to tender (no transparency) it appears from the surface that PNP is being paid off for ensuring that the company maintains that lucrative contract. And that is why the funding is questionable. That’s the problem. That’s why there are international laws governing all this. You notice how fast Trafigura issued a statement saying that they didn’t give to any political party? Cuz they could get in trouble for this. They could be in contravention of OECD rules relating to this.

    If I have a private company overseas, happen to be good friends with the PM herself, knows that she’s in the middle of an election campaign, my company does no business with the government or doesn’t seem to benefit from any preferential treatment (as in being awarded a contract that didn’t go to tender), and I decide to give her a small gift, I don’t claim to be very conversant with international laws, but I doubt very much that it would be problem.

    In the case of Trafigura it could be said that they got preferential treatment with their ‘evergreen’ contract. Was that the reason why they were so generous?

    So that’s what made the donation ‘wrong’

  • 5. Gela's Words  |  October 11, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    And KG, you made a point. That a party in power too long becomes convinced that they have a right to it, and they become arrogant. That’s a good reason to vote for the other party if you have nothing else. You notice how quick they PNP were to lash anyone who questioned their action.

    I understand your confusion though, I got enumerated just for Portia. I figure that since Portia being leader doesn’t make a difference I might as well try the other party. One, see what they have to offer, two, solve the problem of one party being in power too long – and we can see where that has gotten out of hand.

    I just think if we give the JLP a chance, after 2 terms if we’re not doing better as a country, we throw them out before they get too comfortable and arrogant.

    MY vote is certainly not guaranteed to any party. They need to damn well work for it.

  • 6. Guyana-Gyal  |  October 12, 2006 at 11:32 am

    Now I’m more puzzled…what’s the difference between donation and gift. I must find the Gleaner or Observer and read about the whole thing.

    At least you can all discuss politics openly…even if I hint of it on my blog [about Guyana] I get cussed…a sort of threat, telling me to shut up or else…

    I’d vote for any party that wants to push education and enterprise.

  • 7. Kingston Girl  |  October 12, 2006 at 2:10 pm

    Trafigura / Transfigure

    That’s what i get for blindly agreeing to the spell check!

  • 8. damanimichael  |  October 12, 2006 at 3:12 pm

    the only time jamaica going reach anywhere is when the parties get the cojones to form a unity government. free education, constitutional reform, why sounds like pnp in 1998 and 2002. the jlp now sound like the pnp and the pnp sound like the jlp, isn’t it more likely that the policies are just not that far off. why must there be animosity between the parties?? ahh well, one can dream can’t they…

  • 9. aarond  |  October 12, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    Shaping up to be a crazy election. Thanks for stopping by my blog, but I must ask: what kind of picture should I have posted? or was it a type of thong? or finally a type of guy?

  • 10. Kingston Girl  |  October 12, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    Red thongs on men tend not to be a good idea. Especially men who need a tan. And who have skinny arses.

  • 11. Irie Latino  |  October 12, 2006 at 8:26 pm

    Thongs on any man is a bad idea. That’s just my opinion. I made a mistake on Portia. I supported her because I believed her victory would somehow uplift us at a time when we needed it. Here was someone who came from nothing who became Prime Minister and was a woman. I thought this was something that would be a great motivating factor for people. The PNP has always won victories by utilizing some kind of “vision”. Manley did it in the 70s and they did it in the late 80s with “We put people first” which Jamaicans preferred to the superficial sounding “It Takes Cash To Care” JLP slogan. Unfortunately, the PNP’s performance has always betrayed their vision. Portia’s non-performance is quickly eroding whatever her rise to the Prime Ministership may have stood for.
    And what of the JLP? Almost two decades of crying down the PNP but without any viable sounding option or explanation as to why they would do better. And why should we have believed that they would have managed the country better when they could not manage their own individual and party affairs. Someone mentioned that they promise constitutional change. Well, Bruce Golding promised it. But let’s not forget that a lot of the guys in the party didn’t like him or support his ideas. They brought him back because they felt he could help them win. How will their real feelings about him play out when he tries to push his agenda. And as a former NDN member, I find it hard to forget how he abandoned a party for the sake of political expediency that we helped him create to push constitutional change.
    So, both parties provide us with very “sucky” options. The solution…like I’ve always said…is to push both of them to do the right things through constructive protest actions, lobbying, being more vocal and forming more political action groups like Jamaicans For Justice. This type of action will be stronger than any vote. Let them realize that the office they are elected to is no piece of cake and that they will be elected to serve their country and not their party. And by the way…let us make sure too…that when a politician resigns…he or she stays resigned! I think they believe resignation means recess.

  • 12. Melody  |  October 12, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    OK, Latino, but inna de meantime yu noh haffe vote fi somebody! Even if U choose not to choose, U’ll still have made a choice. Every-ting U’ve said is legit, but still make it count!

  • 13. Irie Latino  |  October 12, 2006 at 8:58 pm

    Well I have voted in every election since 1989. And I will vote again because a choice always has to be made. I’m just saying that I think it is time to put more pressure pon all of dem.

  • 14. Gela's Words  |  October 12, 2006 at 10:18 pm

    True wud Irie, true wud. But let’s give the PNP a chance to reflect on their actions by giving them a little time out. Lawd, I sound like I’m campaigning now to hell. But I’m so tired of them that I feel like hitting the campaign trail.
    What’s all this talk about a man in thong? Now I have to go check aarond’s blog.

    GG are you serious about not being able to discuss?

  • 15. Ri  |  October 13, 2006 at 8:29 am


    A secret donation to a political party by a company (especially a foreign one) which has a contract with the government is wrong because it is tantamount to a bribe, possibly to induce the govt. to continue this sweetheart of a contract that Trafigura has (Jamaica receives relatively little from it).

    In the international financial markets, bank secrecy was never intended to conceal impropriety, so all of those who are crying foul about bank secrecy, you are defending impropriety, and worse, criminality.

  • 16. Kingston Girl  |  October 13, 2006 at 8:54 am

    I never said that what they did was right – I’m just saying that technically they never broke any laws as far as has been proven yet.

    And while I don’t like that, I have to admit to being jaded by politics so that that just appears to be nothing out of the ordinary for me.

    And yes, I’d love to see a difference somewhere someday and I’ll be with Irie doing what I can in my little ways!

  • 17. Anonymous  |  October 13, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    What you guys are experiencing so have we in Trinidad. It seems all the Caribbean Politicians are cut out of the same cloth.
    Manning in Trinidad is promising constitutional reform as so has Mr. Panday of the UNC. It is never a dull moment with them.
    Like Kingston Girl has said when they are in power too long the arrogance fairly drips from them.
    And with the price of Oil being high and our economy being Oil & Gas based it seems they can do no wrong. But interesting things happen all the time.
    We have had 2 MP’s coming up before the courts for bribery…
    We shall see.

  • 18. Gela's Words  |  October 13, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    They all went to UWI, they probably gather all the aspiring politicians in a class call ‘ginalship 101’

  • 19. Dr. D.  |  October 14, 2006 at 9:18 am

    KG, you must exercise your right to vote. Though both Ps have demonstrated in the past that they can both do wrongs, it is time that the present government realizes that the country cannot allow them to just sit down and do as they please, term, after term. Make a choice and go for change. As Gela says, if that fails then throw them out after a time t as well….not four terms in office.

    Like I have said elsewhere, those who do not vote as they think that both parties are no better are just as much a part of the problem, than trying to help create a solution. These are the same ones who keep lamenting when things get screwy. You ask if they voted…’no’. I say to them, well, in that case, you have no real grounds to talk. Just suck up whatever happens….as you did nothing to induce a change.

  • 20. Kingston Girl  |  October 14, 2006 at 8:26 pm

    Have no doubt – I will be voting. Am also thinking of volunteering with EOJ that day as well. I am justnot sure yet who I am voting for – and I am really hoping that someone will convince me to vote FOR them, rather than merely voting AGAINST someone!

  • 21. Gela's Words  |  October 14, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    I volunteered to work and did so the last election. Not interested in doing that again though.

  • 22. Marissa Bustamante  |  October 15, 2006 at 11:40 am

    Voting for change, for the sake of change? Where have I heard that before?

    Dear Lord! That has to be perhaps the worst reason for choosing a candidate. I thought people had learned that lesson when they initially chose Michael Manley for that very reason, among other misguided ones. But, then again, this is Jamaica where lessons are NEVER learned and the same mistakes are repeated again and again. e.g. Manley’s re-election in ’89. Oonoo cyan learn!?!?!?

    Complacency and entitlement are certainly bad traits in any party and corruption is unacceptable but, I feel that you should choose whomever you feel is the best candidate. You should never choose just for the sake of change.

  • 23. Marlon James  |  October 16, 2006 at 11:33 am

    My fear for Jamaica is not that it will get better or worse but stay the same forever. I’m pretty sure that is what will happen. I ask myself again and again how far must the Jamaican be outraged before he or she hold politicians accountable. It hasn’t happened yet so the question remains unanswered for now. There are people who hate the term “third world” but that is exactly what we are, a country and a people trapped in the triumvirate of politics, bureaucracy and corruption, the latter making millionaires every day. It’s strange country, with skyrocketing unemployment, but expatriates arriving by the hundreds every month for jobs that Jamaicans can do. But back to politics. Bad times are good times for somebody and right now the worst of times is the best of times for far too many.

  • 24. Anonymous  |  October 16, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    My sentiments exactly Marlon. Trinidad has the same thing. We celebrated the Bi-centinal of Chinese arriving in Trindad and on that day one of the television stations ran a piece on imported chinese labourers working during the holiday. When the camera got close to them not one said they spoke english. Not one of our Trade Unions said anything. How can we have imported Chinese labourers doing the jobs that Trinidadians can do ??
    They were mixing cement. They were not engineers…..very strange things are afoot.

  • 25. Mad Bull  |  October 16, 2006 at 9:20 pm

    Guyana Gyal is talking the truth, only, I wonder how they know who she is? Maybe She could probably do it if she only bloged from an Internet Cafe, or maybe she could email out the post to a friend who could post it for her.


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I'm a twenty-something year old girl living in Kingston, Jamaica. These are some stories from my life.
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