Addressing the launch of this year’s Jamaica Labour Party Education Fund scholarships, Holness said the “misadventure of the PNP, which diverted us from the path of economic growth, selling the people of Jamaica false hope and unrealistic dreams, wasted the gains made by the post-Independence JLP administration,which it succeeded."
“We had a flirtation with ideologies that were foreign to us and did not serve us well. With all the social problems that needed to be addressed, had we stayed the economic course and ensured that our economy was aligned to the opportunities that were created by the industrial transformations that were taking place, Jamaica would be a better place today,” Serju quotes Holness as saying..
"Holness drew on comparisons with economic progress made by Singapore and South Korea, which, at the time, were worse off than Jamaica. The fundamental difference, he said, was that these countries were not distracted and maintained a steady and balance course, which has served their economies well.
"Jamaica, he added, missed out on this era of global development at a time when it was enjoying significant investments in bauxite, tourism, agriculture, and infrastructure, which would have borne fruit had the focus been maintained on our economic independence," Serju said.
In response to Holness' comments, A Jamaican political observer, Bongo Man, decided to respon to Prime Minister Holess, the full text of which we publish here-under:
Andrew Holness, the PM of Jamaica has a lot of temerity, too much perhaps to critique the very first attempt undertaken by the late PM Michael Manley to tackle some of the causes of our country’s underdevelopment including its structural dependence on US imperialism in post-independent Jamaica.
With all the affrontery of the neoliberal and pro-imperialist slave he is, PM Holness refers to the dignified policy framework of our late PM rooted in his political philosophy of Democratic Socialism as “Manley’s misadventures.”
If Holness’ characterization of PM Manley’s approach to tackling Jamaica’s structural underdevelopment and dependency as the root causes of our country’s poverty, income-wealth inequality, racial inequities,historical economic dependency on foreign powers for markets, finance and technology as a “ misadventure”, it’s reasonable to ask, how would he characterize his policy framework of business as usual, subservience to US interests and foreign capital and his timidity to avoid by all means to anger the US empire. Wouldn’t it be quite appropriate to call them “Holness’ pro-imperialist misadventures?”
Has PM Holness already forgotten the critical role of his late mentor, PM Edward Seaga and the leadership of the JLP, the party he now leads in their active collusion with and execution of a campaign of economic and political destabilization against Jamaica and Jamaicans?
Has the PM really forgotten the well organized propaganda campaign to destroy the vulnerable tourist industry and the other sectors of the Jamaican economy by scaring both local and foreign capital investments away from Jamaica with vicious lies about socialism and communism taking over Jamaica? Has PM Holness really forgotten the campaign of terror against ordinary Jamaicans day in and day out to scare workers from going to work, dances, parties and other routine acts of social gathering while blaming it all on PM Manley?
Has PM Holness forgotten the cooperative role of the IMF in the US destabilization plan which failed the Manley government on relatively flimsy fiscal and monetary breaches so as to impose vicious cuts in public sector spending leading to massive layoffs of working people?
Does PM Holness forget the propaganda campaign, “ IMF means Is Manley’s Fault?”
Who does Mr. Holness really believe he is fooling except himself? Has the PM become delusional?
Does the PM really expected that the Jamaican economy would have grown when his party and his mentor, the IMF and the local oligarchy willingly collaborated with the then government of the United States to destroy the Jamaican economy largely in its attempts to end Manley’s and the PNP’s campaign platform of Democratic Socialism from tackling the underbelly of underdevelopment and poverty and to create economic self-sufficiency and sovereignty.
PM Holness, who actually “diverted (Jamaica) from a path of economic growth in the 1970s?” Was it PM Manley and the PNP or your late mentor and political party leader who, locked in his Cold War anti-communist ideological mold, was intent on destroying the incipient diplomatic and economic relationship between Cuba and Jamaica to keep Jamaica within the “US backyard?”
What did PM Manley and the PNP stand to gain by destroying the economy while in office during the 1970s?
Further, PM Holness also accused the late PM Manley of promising “ the Jamaican people false hopes and unrealistic dreams.?”
Precisely what were these “ false hopes and unrealistic dreams” PM Holness?
First, was it a “false hope and an unrealistic dream” for PM Manley and his PNP government to have tackled Jamaica’s narrow structural dependence on trade and investment with Western imperialist countries by diversifying trade and investment with other developing countries and the socialist countries?
Second, was it “ a false hope and an unrealistic dream” for the sovereign government of Jamaica in the 1970s to have started the land lease program to provide idle land to landless and poor farmers to grow food for their families and the country?
Third, was it “a false hope and an unrealistic dream” to have tried to be self-sufficient in food production so as to reduce our dependence on foreign foods and saved scarce foreign exchange reserves?
Four, how could self-sufficiency in foods be inimical to a path consistent with economic growth?
Five, How could PM Manley’s initiative to establish diplomatic relationship with Cuba and securing hundreds of scholarships for Jamaicans to study medicine, engineering, economics, dentistry and other skills in Cuba be inimical to economic growth?
Six, wouldn’t these skills be pivotal to grow the economy?
Seven, How could acquiring such pivotal skills have possibly been “ a false hope and a unrealistic dream” when in fact today in Jamaica the Jamaicans who were trained as doctors, nurses and dentists in Cuba are literally the backbone of Jamaica’s health care system?
Eight, wasn’t teaching thousands of illiterate Jamaicans to read and write through JAMAL not only tackling a social problem but also creating skills to promote growth and productivity in the economy?
Nine, isn’t the PM suggesting that teaching illiterate Jamaicans of both parties to read and write “a false hope and an unrealistic dream?”
Finally, the PM’s implicit suggestion that Manley and the PNP should effectively have embraced the neoliberal growth policies of the JLP between 1962-1972 so as to build on it to generate more growth is not only disingenuous, but he is effectively saying that the sovereign Jamaican government should not make US imperialism and the local oligarchy unhappy by adopting policies that they consider hostile to growth ie hostile to the profit driven growth strategy and interests of US and foreign capital.
The fact is that between 1962-1972 the Jamaican economy i.e. the GDP, grew by an estimated 12%, though the unemployment rate doubled from 12% in 1962 to 24% in 1972, with all the attendant socio-economic inequities related to the distribution of the income-wealth of economic growth over the period.
Isn’t PM Holness aware of the inequities of the period 1962-1972 that he celebrates as the growth period that was even the envy of Singapore and S. Korea at the time?
Importantly, it’s not that PM Manley’s domestic and international policy initiatives some of which are already referenced, weren’t pro-growth and more significantly pro-development, on thecontrary they were as indicated. However, the problem was that despite their flaws too many poor people were benefiting from them and as such imperialism and the local oligarchy declared war on the Manley gov ernment and the people of Jamaica to the very end.
The latter culminated when Washington’s and the local oligarchy’s campaign of economic and political terror paid off on June 15th 1980 when a tired and battered Jamaican electorate voted for Washington’s representative in Jamaica, Edward George Phillip Seaga as PM!! Isn’t Andrew Holness, the current PM aware of all these political intrigues? Or is he just politically disingenuous?
My contention is that Mr. Holness, Jamaica’s current PM is fully aware of this history. Afterall, as Edward Seaga’s mentee, PM Holness is well trained in the political skills required to be a lapdog of imperialism and to ignore the plight of his people which is locked in the structural underdevelopment and dependency of our people and economy.
These structures that still plague the internally driven growth and development of our people, our economy and our culture persist as some of the major policy challenges of our people that Mr. Seaga’s mentee will never take on and sadly if truth be spoken Manley’s PNP will not either as it like the JLP seems to compete for Washington’s stamp of approval!
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