Hear I Rant Jamaica

Portia, you’re no Michael

I was one of those that didn’t expect the ‘crash programme for rich people’ package to crash in congress. I didn’t expect a public backlash large enough to have congressmen bailing on the bill. I still don’t think that there is that large a public discontent. Something else is at play.

While I do agree that there is sentiment against giving taxpayers money to Wall St, this country is too ill-informed to have even that reflexive action on an issue like this.

What I was not aware of before, is that in order to have a ‘bipartisan’ feel, the democrats were insuring that an equal amount of republicans signed on to the bill so that if anything, the repubs couldn’t turn around later and use it as an issue against… which is smart politics.

The democrats did their part by getting more votes than required of them… the republicans faltered. For the first time in a long time, the democrats didn’t fall for a republican trick. Kudos (very small ones).

But I think that there are other contributing factors including how difficult it is to get anything with George Bush’s name on it passed. Such is the level of distrust for this administration and its cronies.

The other thing is that the ramifications of the package weren’t properly explained to the ‘’lumpen’. Foolish me (and the architects) thought that it would be self-explanatory. There is an African saying “When elephants make love it is the grass that suffer. When they make war, it is the grass that suffer”. In other words, it is best to keep them standing and moving on… but not everyone gets that.

And still another factor which I did point out, was that there wasn’t enough there for the plebes. If the package had contained even a smalls, then more people would be inclined to back it.

Now the senate is making another push to get a similar but somewhat modified bill through which will set the template for congress. So, it will be done. This time they have several things going for them, the main one being that when the first package failed, stocks crashed. Now many who had opposed the first bill, have felt real pain as their investments also plummeted. Reality cheque. Sometimes, they are now thinking, it is not wise to rail against one’s own self-interest.

Something I don’t like however are those horrible halloween-like words, “tax cuts”. And since that is to bring the republicans onboard, we know who is gonna get that. That is a mistake.

What I still don’t see is a plan that relates to a wide cross-section of Americans. The senate is considering a little something-something for homeowners who have mortgage troubles… but how many of us have such problems? The larger concern is credit card debt and loan charges.

If you are going to give Wall St so much money, you have to give something meaningful to Johnnie and Jennie P. Many people I know have an increasingly growing monster in their wallets. Granted many wouldn’t learn the lessons and change their spending habits, but it makes no sense having so many people lined up for bankruptcy. Force the banks and credit card companies to be more consumer friendly… afterall, it’s our money bailing them out.

And as a late item, shoudn’t there be some penalties… a little retribution never really hurt anyone. In my day, we would have off the heads of the fat, spoiled, petulant, self-important, greedy Marie Antoinettes. That’s what Wall St needs right now… a guillotine.
Jamaica isn’t feeling the backlash of the recent events in the American economy as yet. But they soon will. Finance minister Audley Shaw stated in the House a whole lot of gobbliegook about Jamaica not endangered but nowhere did it seem he addressed decreased tourism and remittances revenue.

Tourism revenue will fall and no matter how much more money they spend on marketing, the American market will be yielding less this year. It would be better if they shift focus to Europe and Asia though I’m not sure how much help they will get there. What is now apparent is that the government’s ‘crash programming’ of American Airlines (AA) was a bad idea.

The government is to pay AA if they failed to get in a certain amount of bodies into Jamaica. Not bad, if you are sure that they can’t fail to make the required amount. Terrible when you see a dwindling tourist market and thus a higher likelihood of meeting the numbers.

But to me this is just plain stupid. American Airlines doesn’t even have to do much to reach the quota… no marketing, no hustling, nothing… because whatever they do or don’t do, they win.

I haven’t read too much on the story, but I bet there was a threat of an American pullout on certain routes. But nature and economics abhor a vacuum. Someone would have stepped in or stepped up. Now that this deal is done, you can bet that others are waiting in line… except for Air Jamaica who most likely has been given a less than royal central finger.

The other area in which the Jamaican economy is gonna ‘feel it’ is remittances. Money flowing into Jamaica will be less and I wouldn’t be surprised that money flowing out will increase. Many people will be surprised that remittances is really a 2 way street. I know several people who send money from Jamaica to keep their relatives here surviving.
Portia Simpson Miller has reaffirmed her leadership position in the PNP with even a larger margin over Peter Phillips. This upset a whole heap a people… namely middle-class and intellectual supporters of Phillips.

I was surprised months ago when I saw that Phillips was the one to challenge Miller. I thought that a better person to groom would be Peter Bunting and at one time it did seem as if this was being done. I have lost touch with much of what is happening in Jamaica so I can’t say why the Phillips faction didn’t throw their lot behind Bunting. When I find out I will pass that on. Bunting certainly would’ve been more formidable.

On the eve of the conference, I was asked my opinion. With little reservation and little knowledge to back my opinion, I said Miller. No matter what one thinks about Miller, Phillips isn’t in the same league as a communicator as Mama P.

Practically everything about him is a turn-off. I’m not promoting style over substance, but in Jamaica you have to get people’s attention before they can hear what you have to say. It’s called marketing, and Phillips isn’t an easy product to sell. In fact his sell-by date has long passed.

The PNP does need a fresh face and I wouldn’t count on Portia beyond being more than the interim (I know her and her followers don’t think that). If she goes up against Golding again, I’m not sure she will win, even with the baggage Golding is carrying. Manley could do it in the ‘80’s after losing to Seaga. But (and you know it’s coming) ‘Lady, you are no Michael’.
PS: Registration to vote in November 4 election is almost closed. It’s not cool playing the fool. Register NOW.

About the author


Writer, photographer, artist. Have been doing all three for some time. More about myself and my art can be found at http://www.louisdavisart.com, and http://www.broward.org/arts/publications/cq/2008/winter08/cq_winter08.htm


  • You’re exactly right, George. All the Republicans want to do is starve the beast, eliminating any and all social programs. It was ghastly to see Texas governor Rick Perry on The Daily Show. He is Dubya 2.0 and even more frightening than Rubio and that Martian felon Scott combined. Last week someone here said it all: “They (the voters) are stupid.”

  • Bill White carried the cities here in Texas but minorities did not come out to vote as they did for Obama, and since rural Texas remained committed to Perry we could not overcome–so now the devil will be running for president next. He and Palin would be most attractive and photogenic-bloody nightmare!