ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Winners and Losers

WINNERS

The Final: Classic.

Commonwealth of England – The most consistent team for the past 3 years. They had a long term plan. Were willing to change their own strict guidelines on residency to get Barbadian Jofra Archer in the team weeks ahead of the tournament. Winning was all that matters and not sentiment. A lesson for other nations to take note.

New Zealand – Constantly overlooked by pundits and opponents. But the black caps showed their mettle. Team work and discipline under Kane Williamson’s leadership was admirable.

50 overs cricket – With the rise of T20 cricket many were righting off the future of  this format. How wrong were they?

Host England and Wales – The infrastructure of the hosts allowed sports fans to get to and from games with ease.

Attendances – Unlike previous world cups not one game in this tournament had a small turnout. Even the game between Afghanistan and Bangladesh drew a decent sized crowd. The noise from 19000+ Pakistani fans at the match against New Zealand in Birmingham was like something you would normally hear at a Turkish football derby in Istanbul.

(Sunday’s world cup final was played on the same weekend as the Wimbledon finals, netball world cup (Liverpool), British Formula 1 Grand prix (Silverstone), and the July Cup (racing) at Newmarket. All packed to the rafters with fans. Kudos to the UK sports fans.)

Pitches – Prior to the start of the world cup there were fears that this tournament would be a feast of batting. Thankfully the pitches prepared by the ICC gave bowlers a fair chance of competing.

ICC – Round robin format was excellent.

Left arm fast/medium bowlers – As a former club-grade left arm fast bowler myself it was great to see the likes of Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir (Pakistan); Mitchell Starc, Jason Behrendorff (Australia), Sheldon Cottrell (West Indies) and Trent Boult (New Zealand)  make it awkward for the top class batsmen.

Breakout Players Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan) and Alex Carey (Australia)

Stars of the World Cup: Ben Stokes (England), Kane Williamson (New Zealand), Rohit Sharma (India), Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) and Jofra Archer (England)

Sheldon Cottrell – The only West Indian cricketer who consistently played with heart and passion. Deserves to be on my list for this piece of magic

 

LOSERS

West Indies – My pain from the 1983 world cup final when we lost to India continues. The fact that Jofra Archer played under 19 cricket for Barbados in 2014 and ended up starring for England sums up the poor state of planning in West Indies cricket.  Coaching and mindset needs overhauling.

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Not even Rhianna could inspire the West Indies to defeat Sri Lanka

South Africa – Their failure was a complete mystery. But the continued lost of so many of their top players to English domestic cricket – under the Kolpak rules – must finally raise alarm bells for their fans and board.

ICC – For trying to restrict any harsh criticism of the umpires by the commentators.

ICC – For giving India time to “rest” and recover from their Indian Premier League (IPL) exploits. Thus played their first match in the tournament days after some teams had already played 2 games.

Umpires – Some were just dreadful. Umpire’s call is frustrating.  They blew some big decisions. [ However, sad to see umpire Ian Gould retire from the game. One of the good ones.

Phil Simmons (Afghanistan) – Bad timing by coach Simmons to disclose to the public and players – ahead of the world cup – that he was leaving the team after the tournament. Poor decision by him to change captains just before the world cup. Spent too much time in the buildup talking about his time as West Indies coach.

India – India’s losing run chase against England was weird, given they batted for the whole 50 overs and hit just 1 six. Was this to prevent Pakistan from qualifying for the semi finals?

Had India defeated England then the latter would have had a tough task making the semis. Ironic that New Zealand benefited and knocked India out to face England in the finals.

 

Image result for williamson morgan

Marvellous Finals

 

 

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PEP & CMU Just Not Adding Up

If Apple Inc. removed its CEO, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Design Officer right in the middle of the launch of a major product, then shares in that company would fall sharply and shareholders would demand immediate answers from the chairman for such major staff upheavals. Such a dramatic shakeup would also affect the credibility of the launch of that new product.

So in Jamaican news that the newly designed Primary Exit Profile (PEP) programme for grade 6 primary school students (aged 11-12) entering high school has had caused controversy is not surprising. The PEP results has been released and has generated mixed reactions from key stakeholders. Some teachers have called out the government for rushing through this new programme.

The big problem on the messaging by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) government on PEP was that those senior figures who championed PEP in its buildup are not the ones speaking today.

  • (March 2019) Ruel Reid was relieved of his duties as Minister of Education,Youth and Information,
  • (February 2019) Floyd Green was transferred from his junior ministerial role supporting Reid to another portfolio and
  • (February 2019) Dean Roy Bernard – the most senior civil servant at the ministry – was transferred to the Ministry of Finance.

Thus their political successors in the government – Karl Samuda (oversight minister) and Alando Terrelonge (junior minister) – have lacked the authority and clarity to speak on PEP. Prime Minister Andrew Holness is currently the Minister of Education but has said very little on PEP.

Approximately 42,000 children sat the exams, 59% were not proficient in mathematics, when proficiency required a grade of between 50 and 79 %.

“An average 40% of students who sat the first Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations did not achieve the required competency. The results were particularly poor for Mathematics and Science where more than 50 per cent of the students did not achieve proficiency.” – RJR News Online

But should PEP have gone ahead? Especially as the public first got wind of potential scandals circulating the Ministry of Education Youth and Information (MOEYI) from as far back as the spring of 2018.

Newstalk 93

During a discussion on Newstalk 93’s “The Evening Edition” hosted by Lambert Brown (Opposition senator) on the Petrojam scandal, listeners were forewarned of a much bigger scandal looming at the MOEYI.

Not long after that show was aired “The Evening Edition” was cut, so too all the other political talk-shows on the UWI-funded radio station. The listeners has never had an explanation for this major change at Newstalk 93, but it’s worth noting that a number of contractual staff at the Ministry of Education also presented shows on Newstalk 93.

All this happened around the time when questions were being raised in parliament about the salaries being paid to government advisers – which included some who had shows on Newstalk 93. Programme manager at Newstalk 93 then was Marlon Morgan who is currently senior technical coordinator at MOEYI.

So given the chaos that came from PEP since the results were released, we have to ask if the launch of PEP for grade 6 students was done in the most professional and effective manner.

Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) Scandal Continues to Drip

The saga at the CMU continues and in the past 10 days the public were given some more stunning revelations.

  • In parliament we learnt that two persons linked to the disgraced former minister Ruel Reid had catering contracts from CMU; namely, Maureen Blake (Reid’s former helper) and Kim Brown Lawrence (Councillor in north west St Ann where Reid became the JLP caretaker candidate.)
  • Opposition senator Lambert Brown revealed to the senate that he knew Doreen Miller ( another “household helper” of Ruel Reid) and she denied any involvement in the alleged corruption linked to her name.
  • Fritz Pinnock – the beleaguered president of the CMU – decided to take 6 weeks leave whilst the investigations and probings continue.
  • Doreen Miller spoke to the Sunday Gleaner and revealed more of her banking dealings with a family member of Ruel Reid.
  • Ruel Reid and Balfour Peart were business partners in a company called Baltree Investment along with Reid’s wife, Sharen Thomas-Reid. [Peart indirectly paid for the infamous yacht birthday party for Ruel Reid. Sharen Thomas-Reid also worked at CMU as manager of legal affairs.
  • Ruel Reid’s former driver, Devon McQueen, was mentioned in parliament in relation to catering contracts. But McQueen has spoken to the media (and the police) and feels his name was being misused for scrupulous means by others.
  • Dean-Roy Bernard filed an injunction to prevent any substantive replacement of his post at the MOEYI.

In discussions with the Gleaner, Bernard rejected comments – made by his successor and former colleague Grace McLean – that he had authorized certain payments to CMU.

Bernard told the Gleaner “She (McLean) was intimate with CMU matters. I have no intimacy with CMU matters. She is the chief education officer. She liaises, she oversees Caribbean Maritime University matters,” he said, challenging McLean to produce one shred of evidence that he instructed her to stage the $317,000 party with public funds for Pinnock.”

Bernard has a point. Given Grace McLean’s husband Eron McLean is vice-president of university advancement and development at the CMU. Why would prime minister Holness allow Mrs McLean to have oversight of the CMU given her personal connections there? Mrs McLean worked closely with Holness a decade ago when he was Minister of Education.

But Pinnock may need to be recalled to the PAAC from his leave of absence to answer further questions on the recruitment to the CMU of  Sharen Reid-Thomas as manager of legal affairs and also the hiring of Owen Ellington, commissioner of police until he sensationally retired (at 52) in 2014. Ellington is Director of the Centre for Security, Counter Terrorism and Non-Proliferation and his deputy at CMU is former assistant commissioner, Assan Thompson.

According to Thursday’s Jamaica Observer…
Caribbean Maritime University Council (CMU’s Board) has reported that it was not notified about the engagement of four individuals, including former Jamaica Labour Party caretaker Othniel Lawrence, consultant Gail Campbell-Dunwell, and a company…a small team from the counci” conducted the “independent investigation” at the request of the chairman after a special meeting of the council on March 25 at which the allegations were discussed.”
This report sounds hmmm from the CMU Council given that members of the Council includes CMU staff Fritz Pinnock, Noel Brown, Devon Gardner and Ibrahim Ajagunna (currently acting CMU president in Pinnock’s leave of absence).
This ongoing scandal at CMU makes you wonder if the institution did deserve the university status it gained in 2017. In any scandal that affects an adult educational institutions, tuition fees write-offs always raises its ugly head.
[2015 Auditor General report on CMU when it was known as CMI: “CMI’s receivable management system proved ineffective in collecting outstanding tuition fees. As at March 31, 2015, 3,102 students owed $326.4 million in tuition fees.

 

PAAC- Bipartisanship Can Have Teeth

Credit to the current Public Administration & Appropriations Committee (PAAC) for their sterling work in holding public officials to account. Credit to both the PNP and JLP members who – over the past 18 months – have displayed a desire to get government bodies to spend wisely and deliver best practice.
Let us hope these public bodies (incl. Auditor General) will delve into the operations and processes of other established colleges, universities and education related agencies. Because it cannot just be the CMU that has serious flawed procedures and practices.
These exposures are good for Jamaica and shows that bad practices and poor governance of the public’s money will no longer be tolerated. Long may that continue to be the norm for the PAAC.
More Questions
  • When did the other senior staff members at CMU (incl. acting president Ajagunna) first know about the controversial hirings flagged in the media and parliament?
  • When did the JLP secretariat first become aware that its former caretaker for north west St Ann, Othneil Lawrence, was employed at CMU?
  • Why was Floyd Green moved from his junior ministerial role at the MOEYI? [Green was long regarded in media circles as a rising star destined for the cabinet, but instead he ended up at a much lower profile government department, still a junior minister.]
  • What is the current status of the ‘Ruel Reid Transformational Leadership Scholarship’ valued at $US3 million under the sponsorship of BAU International University in Washington DC?
  • Will Dean-Roy Bernard be asked to appear before the PAAC?
  • Did the set of scandals and bad practices at the Ministry of Education impact negatively on the government’s delivery of PEP?
Auditor General Raised Concerns in 2015
We await further revelations.
But warning signs of poor governance, significant staff failings and resource management inadequacies at CMU (then known as CMI) were flagged by the Auditor General from as far back as late 2015 in the below report.
which included comments such as:
  • “CMI engaged 253 part-time adjunct lecturers at a cost of $135.6 million, without the relevant approval from the Ministry of Finance and Planning”
  • “We found that CMI did not have in place a documented receivables policy in place to properly manage the Institute’s outstanding tuition fees. CMI did not provide any evidence that appropriate steps were taken to recover outstanding fees from delinquent students.”
  • “a review of CMI’s annual customer/student surveys showed students concern regarding perceived weaknesses in the delivery of training offered by their lecturers”
  • “Contrary to Ministry of Finance policy, CMI Board approved the purchase of 13 computer tablets for Board members at a cost of $317,500.”
  • “In March 2014, a student met in an accident while driving one of the entity’s motor vehicles. CMI records indicated that the vehicle was insured for $3.45 million and was assigned to a Senior Lecturer. CMI did not report the accident to the Attorney General, Financial Secretary and the Auditor General”
Yet by 2017 CMI was awarded university status.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (centre) receives a plaque from Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) Chancellor, His Royal Highness Drolor Bosso Adamtey I (left) during the CMU’s 2018 graduation ceremony on Thursday (November 8) at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston. Sharing the moment is University President, Professor Fritz Pinnock. This year, approximately 350 students were conferred with master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees and diplomas in a wide cross section of programmes.

Captains of genalship? Ruel Reid (centre) & Fritz Pinnock (right)

 

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Jamaica’s National Trials and that Hurdles Fiasco

The outcome to the women’s recent 100m hurdles non-race at Jamaica’s recent national senior and junior trials was a major embarrassment.

Danielle Williams, Jamaica’s number 1 sprint hurdler in recent years, had clearly false started and was given the red card by officials to vacate the track. But she refused to walk away and this led to chaos, lengthy delays and poor leadership by the track officials.

Eventually the race was cancelled after another debacle where the runners (Williams had finally walked away) were recalled late by the starter. By then Janeek Brown had run most of the race and quite rightly in frustration removed her shoes and headed off the track to the stands.

Williams’ management team should advise her to issue an apology to Jamaican fans, her competitors and officials for her unprofessional behaviour. For a seasoned athlete such as Williams to throw her toys out of the pram over her mistake was disrespectful to the other competitors. Some of whom such as Janeek Brown and Amoi Brown were about to run the most important race of their young professional careers.

(We saw recently at Olso’s Diamond League where top American sprint hurdler Brianna Rollins, false started and simply walked away from the blocks.)

Some local fans and sport journalists have vented their blame at the track officials and in particular starter, Ludlow Watt. Their view is that given Williams’ standing as Jamaica’s top sprint hurdler, Watt should have allowed her back in the race. Some openly admit they expect Jamaican officials to do their best to give top athletes preferential treatment whatever the track violation they have committed. They feel that the priority of the starter is make sure that the top athletes qualify for major international events.

As Jamaica’s most senior sprint hurdler, Williams should have set a better example to her younger competitors and simply left the track with grace and honour.

Williams and her coach Lennox Graham should be reprimanded by the local governing body Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association ( JAAA) for bringing the sport into disrepute. For one thing coaches are not allowed on the track during an IAAF meet and Graham was clearly seen by the start area in conversation with officials.

Image result for danielle jamaica hurdles trials 2019

Danielle Williams – Just Lost It

But the starter, Ludlow Watt, too should also face sanctions for failing to control the situation more effectively and swiftly. But Watt is not likely to face any disciplinary action and this brings me on to a quirk within the setup of the JAAA.

Watt is not only an official chief starter but also treasurer for the JAAA. How can it be that track officials are allowed to be members of the JAAA board? Such a conflict of interest does not sit right. It’s like saying a top football referee is also a board member of the governing body FIFA.

The JAAA president needs to decide whether Watt is more effective to Jamaica’s athletics as treasurer or as a starter. But he should not continue to perform both roles in the long term.

As for the false start rule, I hate it. It is too harsh and robs the paying public of seeing their sprint stars who tend to be the marquee performers at such events. The rule is unfair on the sprinters given that field athletes can get away with foul jumps/throws but track athletes get no 2nd chance for their violation.

Special mention to Olympic champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson and rising 17 year old sensation, Brianna Williams, for giving Jamaican fans a classic in the women’s 100 metres at the trials. One for the ages.

 

Further reading:

Danielle Williams out, IAAF rankings to decide hurdles representatives at World Champs

No Diamond League guarantees for Williams – JAAA president addresses sprint hurdler’s World Champs chances

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Conservative Leadership Race to Downing Street – Short Term Let?

The very first thing that struck me about the ongoing British Conservative Party leadership contest was the poor standard of candidates.

When I think back to some of previous leadership races such as the Hurd-Major-Heseltine race of 1990 this current contest looks very 2nd rate despite the publicity generated.

Given the low calibre of the 10 candidates that started this contest, it does clearly explain why Theresa May lasted this long as leader and prime minister. As it would not have taken Mrs May much brain power to run rings around this lot, when they were part of her cabinet.

Now the leadership race is down to a face-off between Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson. Yet you just wonder how did the UK get to this unfortunate position where neither candidate is truly deserving of the title of prime minister. Both Johnson and Hunt have had dismal records as cabinet ministers.

My own choice for leader was Penny Mordaunt (Defence Secretary) but she stayed out of the contest and is backing Hunt. However, I am sure she and Amber Rudd (another Hunt supporter) are waiting in the wings to seize their moment when the inenvitable slip-ups from the new PM leads to the collapse of the minority Tory government.

This decade has seen the conventions of British politics continue to be rewritten. It is unlikely that any political party will be in a position to win the necessary 326 seats to be a majority government. UK national politics now resembles that of Italy.

Today, some folks in the UK are defined politically by whether they are Remainers or BREXITERS. 6 months ago the idea of a Nigel Farage being part of any UK government looked far fetched. Not any more.

To the victor of the Hunt/Johnson contest, just leave your non-essential items in the crates when you move into 10 Downing Street. You may not be there for long as the chaos of British politics looks to get even more turbulent.

Image result for pickfords downing street

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Radio Discussion: Jamaica’s Political History, the Early Years – Role of Bustamante, Seaga & the Manleys

  • How did Edward Seaga get into active politics?
  • What is Seaga’s legacy to West Kingston?
  • Did the PNP first start the redevelopment of West Kingston?
  • Did the JLP first build Arnett Gardens?
  • Did Seaga ever try to publicly embarrass Norman Manley?
  • How did Seaga embrace revivalism – did he ever get into “spirit”?
  • Did Jamaica’s political violence start in the 1940s or much later?
  • Who came up with the incendiary political terms “blood fi blood, & “fire fi fire”?
  • Was Seaga behind the idea of Marcus Garvey’s body being transferred from London to Jamaica? Or was is it Leslie Alexander (a white Garveyite) and Vivian Durham?
  • Was the idea of the PNP devised by New York based Jamaicans?
  • Where did the term “dutty Labourite” originate from?

All the answers and much more can be found in a fascinating discussion hosted on Nationwide Radio by Cliff Hughes who spoke with Desmond McKenzie, MP for Kingston Western (0:00-29:00) and Jerry “Bongo” Small, political historian  (29:16 -1.06:00).

 

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PNP Leadership Race: Peter vs Peter vs ?

Jamaica’s People’s National Party (PNP) will have a leadership race as Peter Bunting has confirmed his intentions to challenge current leader, Peter Phillips.

In his statement Bunting remarked

“Dr Phillips has made an outstanding contribution to the party and the country in the various positions in which he has served over the past three decades.

However, since becoming [PNP] president, he has not implemented a single transformational initiative within the party and is just not seen as the right person for this time, Therefore, I confirm that I am offering myself for president of the People’s National Party at the annual conference in September,”

Challenge is Necessary

Since Phillips permanently succeeded Portia Simpson-Miller as PNP leader in 2017 he has flattered to deceive and the party has slipped badly in the polls behind the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

The JLP government has been blighted by numerous corruption scandals and their ineptness at reducing violent crime and improving the public health service has been quite stark. Yet Phillips has not displayed the leadership to hold the government to account. It has been left to PNP figures such as Fitz Jackson, Lambert Brown, Mikael Phillips, Mark Golding and Donna Scott-Mottley to successfully take the fight to the government.

Lately, Bunting had been giving subtle hints of his intentions to challenge Phillips.

  1. He has been more vocal in parliament in attacking the government over policy and corruption.
  2. He recently broke ranks with parliamentary colleagues to oppose the recent extension of a State of Emergency in St James, Hanover and Westmoreland.
  3. He is an active member of various parliamentary select committees especially the Public Account Committee (PAC).
  4. He has stepped up his accessibility on social media and made regular appearances on the popular radio talk shows.

Mark Golding, the PNP’s official spokesman on finance, has quickly come out to support Bunting. So too colleagues Dayton Campbell, Ian Hayles, Luther Buchanan and Michael Stewart. Senior PNP members such as Lisa Hanna, K.D. Knight and Phillip Paulwell have  endorsed Phillips.

In Golding’s statement he writes” Dr Phillips is my friend and made a tremendous contribution to our Party and country. However, all indications are that Dr Phillips cannot lead our Party to victory in a general election.

Golding’s support of Bunting is to be expected. They have been successful  business partners going back decades and currently are part of the management team at Proven Investments Limited.

Bunting’s challenge has to be welcomed as Phillips has so far delivered a lukewarm performance as leader of the opposition and has not captured the imagination of the public.

Is Bunting the right man to win the general elections for the PNP?

I have spoken to quite a few PNP die hard supporters over the past 3 years regarding the vacuum of leadership in its ranks. All felt that Phillips was the wrong leader from very outset. Some have never forgiven him for his attitude towards then leader Simpson-Miller. But when the conversation turned to Bunting as a potential successor all quickly gave him the thumbs down.

But this leadership race will give Bunting the chance to present his ideas and personality to the delegates. Bunting is smart cookie and given his background in business it will be interesting to see how he projects himself during the campaign. Especially when it eventually gets heated.

Will other members of the PNP join the leadership race?

For the PNP’s sake I hope so. The Peter vs Peter race needs at least a 3rd strong opponent.

The most improved member of the PNP in parliament has been Lisa Hanna. Her recent speech during in the sectoral debate was a watershed moment in her career. It was the speech of a future leader, full of ideas and policies. But she is in the Phillips camp. So far.

In a 2016 Jamaica Observer online poll on who should succeed then leader Simpson-Miller, Phillips (32%) came out first followed closely by Hanna (29%) and Bunting (27%).

Whoever the next PNP leader is, Hanna and Damion Crawford will have to be central to the election campaign to appeal to younger voters and those who stayed away from the ballot box; given that 53% of the electorate did not vote in the 2016 general election.

Even though Bunting has the support of Mark Golding I find the latter a more viable candidate for the leadership. He is a top class parliamentarian and runs the powerful Public Accounts Committee effectively. He comes across as composed and uncomplicated.

What goes around…

Some Phillips supporters are angry at Bunting’s challenge for the party’s top job. But political amnesia is at work.

In September 2008 Phillips was so unimpressed with Simpson-Miller’s leadership that he challenged her for the top job and came second; with Simpson Miller receiving 2,332 votes compared to Phillips’ 1,959.

Earlier in July 2008 Phillips felt Simpson-Miller’s leadership was a disaster and if she became PM again then it could lead to the Haitianization of Jamaica and Jamaican politics. Phillips also felt that the idea of him being part of a Simpson-Miller cabinet would be too distasteful to consider.

[Phillips did go on to serve in the Simpson-Miller cabinet (2012-2016) as finance minister and steadied the economy that earned plaudits from key local and international stakeholders.]

It is worth noting that in a June 2008 opinion poll then PNP leader Simpson-Miller had a 52% positive rating, Phillips did challenge her.

In a recent March opinion poll Phillip’s positive rating stood at 12%. If PNP supporters does not believe Phillip’s poor poll numbers does not warrant a leadership challenge, then they are either in denial or too worried about their careers to speak out.

Let us not forget that Phillips was the campaign director of the PNP’s dire 2016 general election race where the party lost 11 seats and power.

This is No Longer Seaga’s JLP

The PNP must realise that the current JLP machinery is a formidable juggernaut. This is not the late Edward Seaga’s JLP of the previous 2 decades, when losing general elections became an occupational hazard.

Since Seaga retired as leader in 2005, the JLP has won 2 of the last 3 general elections. The party has a solid campaign machine aided by a team of articulate supporters well positioned to deliver the party’s message and positive image. Crucially the JLP is backed up by big money.

Money Matters

Whoever the next PNP leader is must have the appeal and connections to attract funds from big donors.

In the post 2016 election review, PNP treasurer Norman Horne called-out several senior PNP members for not passing over to the party millions of dollars they collected in during the election campaign  – PNP Campaign Scandal – Jamaica Observer August 2016

Since the 2016 election it has been very clear to onlookers that the PNP’s finance has diminished drastically. Just look at poorly funded campaigns the party ran during the 2017 local government election and in some by-elections where there were hardly any PNP advertisements placed in the media.

Thus the Phillips supporters should not be too hard on Bunting as the party is currently enjoying the kind of publicity that they can ill afford to pay the media.

Winning Is All that Matters

It is early days into the leadership race and Phillips is the undoubtedly the clear favourite to win.

The leadership race could be what Phillips needs to really impress on the electorate that he is ready to be Jamaica’s next prime minister. This leadership race will certainly give the PNP much needed positive press coverage. Take this past week for example.

For the first time in years the PNP has constantly made the headlines ever since Bunting made his announcement. The leadership race has even overshadowed media coverage of the plans for the funeral of former PM Edward Seaga.

It would be wise for the members/delegates to hear the candidates’ plans to improve to political and financial fortunes of the party before jumping to conclusions.

The key issues I would like to hear from the PNP contenders will be their strategies for the economy, education, health, transport and housing? What are their plans to reduce violent crime, stamp out corruption, convict grafters and remove politics from pubic sector boards?

Interesting times ahead.

Phillips & Hanna

Image result for bunting golding

Golding & Bunting

 

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So Wrong of Corbyn not to “welcome” Trump?

Dear Jeremy

First, congratulations to Labour for winning the Peterborough by-election and staving off a surge from Nigel Farage’s BREXIT Party.

But what a missed opportunity earlier last week?

Much as I understand your strong antipathy towards Donald Trump, you should have made a genuine effort to meet the President of the United States when he came on his State visit.

You made your views quite clear from as far back as April that you planned to boycott Trump’s visit. You fulfilled your promise and instead spoke at an anti-Trump rally.

I have to say that your decision not to attend the State banquet was misguided and I am concerned about the lack of diplomacy you are displaying on the world stage. I am also concerned about who is advising you on foreign policy.

Jeremy, when are you going to realise that as the leader of the official opposition, you will have to meet and work with politicians that you disagree with on many issues. I would rather you had met with Trump than being on the outside looking in. But despite your protestations leading up to visit, lo and behold Trump told the public that you wanted to have a private meeting with him and he turned you down.

The ideal thing for you to have done, when you were first aware of Trump’s visit, was to issue a public statement welcoming the visit and that you look forward to discussing a number of critical issues with the Donald. Then Trump may have been more forthcoming. If not, then you would have had the upper hand in calling him out.

Yes, Trump is a polarising and controversial leader. He can be pompous, rude and offensive. But he is the most important head of government that you will have to consult on a regular basis should you become PM.

Trump’s modest operandi is all about planned chaos before resolution. So expect the drama, PR stunts and the snide remarks. But look beyond such behaviour and bluster from Trump to achieve your Party’s own goals.

Jeremy, you are the leader of a political party where many of your own colleagues have been rude, pompous and offensive publicly to your face (and back) since you became leader.

In Tom Watson (your deputy leader) you have the most insubordinate number 2 I’ve ever seen in UK politics. Even Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has made harsh remarks about your leadership.

[I know you must realise that Khan is using his own public row with Trump to boost his chances for reelection and also to go after your job.]

Remember Jeremy, you are constantly accused of allowing anti-Semitic behaviour to thrive in the Labour party. Whether this allegation is true or not, how would you feel if international leaders refuse to  meet you because of such allegations?

The UK is currently being led by a rudderless Conservative government and thus here was an opportunity to meet Trump on cordial terms. You could have raised concerns over BREXIT, trade, Iran, Cuba, Palestine, Israel, Saudi Arabia, intelligence, North Korea, and China.

Just imagine the faces of Netanyahu and John Bolton if they saw pictures of you discussing Palestine with Trump? You could have been that rare of person – a pro-Palestinian politician with access to Trump.

Despite the numerous disagreements that you and Trump have, there are a few things you both have in common:

  1. The mainstream media in the US and UK hates you both in equal measure. Especially the BBC.
  2. You both are anti-EU.
  3. Senior management of US and UK intelligence services are no fans of either of you.
  4. You both support less US military aggression across the globe.
  5. You both support negotiations with North Korea rather than the far scarier alternative
  6. Sadiq Khan hates you both.

To be honest Jeremy, by now you should have globe trotted to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America and UN to get first hand understanding of issues affecting the wider society, hone your diplomatic craft and build key networks.

Yes, we all know Trump has made some incendiary comments about race, women and much more. On the issue of race your advisors could have consulted the likes of Van Jones to learn how he worked successfully with Trump to achieve changes to the criminal justice system.

Jones, a Democratic Party strategist, has been a vocal critic of Trump from the very night  the latter won the 2016 US presidential elections. Yet Jones managed to work with the Trump administration to pass the First Step Act, which allows non-violent criminals  early release by way of increased “earned time credits.”. The Act rolls back some of the harsh and unfair measures in the 1994 Crime Bill that was passed under the Bill Clinton administration. The Crime Bill  damaged the lives of African Americans more than any other group of Americans. Jones is African American.

CNN’s Van Jones Praises Trump for Criminal Justice Reform Passing Senate: He ‘Has to Get the Credit’

Just a quick reminder of some of the individuals you have met that are no shrinking violets..

The Labour Party’s fortunes has been floundering in recent months for reasons you do not need reminding of right now. But I strongly suggest that you add some advisors with solid  diplomatic experience to your inner circle. Also do get out of the UK bubble and meet leading politicians from other nations on their home soil. We have yet to witness Corbyn the statesman on the international stage on a consistent basis.

The UK is crying out for major changes at Downing Street. The current crop of Tory candidates vying to succeed Theresa May as PM should hopefully not be there too long. We have had a decade of Tory led governments and many have grown tired of their policies, wickedness and incompetence.

It’s Labour’s turn. Just don’t blow it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in donald trump, jeremy corbyn, theresa May, uk politics | Tagged , | 1 Comment