I have been listening to, watching, participating in the discussions on whether or not I believe Jamaica is facing a crisis of leadership. I am amazed at the answers which come to either support or deny the statement. As is expected, the typical response from a number of Jamaicans is to say yes if you are supporting the Jamaica Labour Party and to say No with eloquent explanations if you are a supporter of the People’s National Party. So the question of Richard Azan’s resignation was never a real question, we all know that this would not happen, not in a million years would this have caused either of our political parties to break ranks and hang one their own out to dry. By now we have figured out that the United States Government would have had to intervene for our politicians and leaders to take a stance against impropriety and corruption.
So why were we engaged in the discussion? Were we just “shooting the breeze” as they say or do we just like to ‘run off our mouth’ after all at the start of the discussions we knew where all of this was likely to go. Call me naive, but I am going to say there was something new about this recent call for resignation, it sounded more like a test of the Portia Simpson led administration, somehow I get the feeling that those Jamaicans who are not caught in the debacle of party politics were taking note of the government’s response. I think this was not so much about Richard Azan, it was more a dare for the PNP government, it went something like this “you said you were different, I dare you to put your money where your mouth is.” Unfortunately, the government’s response was very much the same old response, it lacked awareness of the subtleties of the discussions which were being had across the nation. Somehow the PNP got it wrong, this was not only the expected hysteria from the other party, the tone and tenure of the conversation had changed.
I suspect that those who asked for some sanction to be taken against Mr. Azan understood precisely that the current outcome would have prevailed. So now I am left to wonder if our political leadership is really this disconnected from the sentiments on the ground. The Jamaican political experience should have taught them that those closest to them are likely to tell them precisely what they want to hear. Remember the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes?” But our political leaders are famous for hiding from the truth,they have deluded themselves into thinking that they are the full authors of the Jamaican story, their supporters continue to lie to them, to ‘con’ them into thinking that their actions are acceptable. I have heard so many ‘die;hearted’ PNP supporters reassure themselves that the only people having a problem with the current situation are Labourites, and that most of Jamaica has no problem with what happened. “Listen to the talk shows” they argue, “most of the people who call are in full support of the government.” and they conclude convincingly “is the old tired Labourite dem a run up dem mout” . Well at least convincingly for them.
I suspect that there is something else afoot, I get the feeling that we are likely to refer to this particular situation again as we begin to add to the Jamaican political reality, I have a feeling that when we look back, when we reflect we might recognized that we were on the cusp of a major shift, unfortunately some of us would have missed it.