Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Jamaica's Political Establishment Implosion and The Independent Challenger in 2016

It was to the end of 2015 that I came across the term "political resocialization" while watching a forum on youth participation in democratic conducted by the youth group Respect Jamaica an UNICEF Jamaica initiative.
Indeed the speaker eluded to the fact that the Jamaica's political  culture after the bloody and divisive period of the mid 1970's to 1980 had serious skewered how the newly independent nation defined democracy and was the beginning of the acclimatization of pre & post independence Jamaicans to tribal, dependent, corrupt and unreliable politics that has persisted even to this day with robust national development left to suffer in its wake.

Within the same period of last year as Prime Minister Simpson-Miller hinted at a very possible early election, her own party[The People's National Party] candidate selection was turned into nothing less than a circus show of the undesirable elements of politicking including accusations of corruption and favoritism, mudslinging, conspiracies of all sorts left to fester as once favored, seemingly 'working' first term Members of Parliament were replaced in their respective runoffs.

With the election a certainty in 2016 and volatility within the political establishment at an all time high, there is no doubt that the two party system is heading towards implosion as the formal structures for handling internal matters begins to buckle under the call for a more democratic process. 

This call is strongest in the rural constituency of North-East St. Elizabeth, that has been a stronghold for the PNP as the first time young turk Raymond Pryce will be replaced with another candidate after the selection; his supporters have been adamant that they will only support the party at the ballot only if MP Pryce is the candidate.
The Independent
With the opposition party Jamaica Labour Party unlikely to pose a challenge in North-East St.Elizabeth there is a growing void for representation that s by the people and for the people. Joseph Patterson, the President of the newly formed United Independent Congress(UIC) has decided to plant his feet in the divided constituency and take advantage of the weaken stronghold.

With an independent being supported in a constituency with a voter turnout of 32% shared among the main parties in last general election; his ability to tap into the 48% of non-voters will be crucial. With a freshness and difference about him, and the possible pride of being the first constituency to elected an Independent is certainly energizing enough to get non-voters out on the day.

With constitutional and governance reform a critical part of the UIC's mandate, Jamaica maybe heading towards a galvanizing shift away from the colonial masters inspired system of governance.