Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why I Support Portia Simpson Miller

Why I side with the PNP
Basil Waine Kong, Ph.D., JD

I believe that People’s National Party President, Portia Simpson-Miller, is a rare gift to Jamaica and to humanity. She is charismatic, astute, a visionary who cares deeply about the people and the future of Jamaica. She is an unselfish leader who never places personal ambitions ahead of her public duty.

This talented and gifted leader is restrained from letting her light shine because of bad-minded and prejudiced people who oppose her because she is a strong woman in a chauvinistic society. She is also held up to ridicule by uptown people because she is one of the few politicians who consistently advocate for the poor and down trodden. She persist in proposing changes that would “lift all boats” and the defenders of the status quo just as consistently attack her for her advocacy. According to Marcus Garvey: "If one wants to do good for the masses of Jamaica, 'Big Brains' will plot, conspire, and do everything to destroy you and your name." It is a callous and a sad commentary on those who say: "Portia loves poor people so much, she wants to make everybody poor."

According to Party Leader: “Many of the rich and powerful in Jamaica have never heard of Psalm 41:1 (Blessed is he that considereth the poor), the Sermon on the Mount or the story of the Good Samaritan.” She envisions a kinder, gentler nation recognizing that we are all in the same boat. "How we treat the least of us, the poor, the old and the infirmed is a reflection of our moral conscience. This generation, must be mindful of our place in history.
" She quoted Nelson Mandela as having said: "The generosity of the human spirit can overcome all adversity. Through compassion and caring, we can create hope."

"Our country will be judged by how we treated people in need and what we did to educate, house, feed, clothe and provide economic opportunity, prosperity and security for ALL Jamaicans." All she strives to do is provide a gateway for ALL Jamaicans, meet our citizens where they are (not where we would like them to be), equip them to be better participants in society, and empower them to build a good life for themselves, their families, and their communities.

In contrast,she said: "The Jamaica Labour Party is only invested in complaining that their fellow citizens aren’t further along, setting them up to fail, and drawing the walls and fences higher around themselves. Their agenda for Jamaica is for the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

It was been a great privilege for my wife and me to sit down with Party Leader and hear at length what she is about. I hope it does not surprise people to know that our Party Leader has a substantial knowledge of a wide range of subjects but also very humble and engaging. She can walk and talk comfortably with Queens, Kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Ministers of the cloth as well as the good citizens of Jamaica. Sister P cares.

I asked her the question that is on the minds of many: ”Is Sister P ready to run the country? Can you take us forward?“ She said with confidence, "I do not shrink from this responsibility, I welcome it. I have assembled the most marvelous talent that will help me to move this ship forward. But while I have great faith and trust in my advisors, my imprimatur is to do what justice, humanity, and reason tell me I must do. The People of Jamaica are my masters. My contract is between those who came before us, those who are living and those yet to be born. I do not want to make slaves of future generations by burdening them with debt on funds that were not used to create economically viable assets. I recognize that we cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong, increase wages by ruining those who pay the wages or help the poor by destroying the rich. We also destroy character by doing things for people that they should be doing for themselves."

"Maybe the greatest difference between the JLP and the PNP is that we believe in preventing crises and the JLP believing in trying to deal with disasters after the fact. The truth is that we can do a great deal more to prevent unemployment by preparing our citizens for productive work on the one hand and expanding business on the other. We can significantly reduce how much we spend on health care by promoting healthier lifestyles and we can accelerate our use of alternative energy like the sun, the ocean and the wind on the one hand and more fuel efficient automobiles on the other. Preventing crime and violence is certainly more effective than crating environments that promote criminal behavior, arresting, and then having to feed, cloth and otherwise provide for their needs at great public expense.”

When we parted, my wife and I each got one of her famous hugs that also told us about her kindness. I am now among her strongest supporters, and was pleased to be formally introduced in her speech to the delegates at the PNP Annual Conference in October, 2009. The more I get to know her, the more convinced I am that Jamaica would be in great hands under her leadership and what Jamaica needs right now is to change the party in power.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is the Sun Rising or Setting in Jamaica?

Mawnin! Basil Waine Kong

I am in a Jamaican state of mind. As I position myself to get the best view of each lovely sunrise with a cup of Blue Mountain coffee in hand and each sunset with a rum punch or a Red Stripe, my teeming brain, crawling with thought, often wonder whether the future of this romantic place we call Jamaica is represented by the coming up or going down of the sun. Is this the real deal or a fool's paradise? Are our best years behind us or in front of us? Were our best years under colonial rule or maybe the early days of independence when we were celebrating and feeling free from colonial domination? While we continue to squander many opportunities and have badly mismanaged our resources, I am going to believe with as much optimism I can muster that we are represented by a rising sun. While it is not shining very bright at the moment, I believe in my heart of hearts that it will be morning again in Jamaica. Challenges come to make us, not break us.

We are a wealthy but badly managed country. Our abundant variety of flowers, vegetables and fruit trees leads me to believe that God has blessed us in a very special way. Our wealth include rich and abundant soil, lots of rivers and fresh water, talented and hard working people, a pleasant climate, sunshine and rain embraced by the Caribbean sea. Most of all, we have brand Jamaica. In addition to our sprinters, our music and entertainers, we have the best coffee in the world, the best beaches, the best rum, the best beer and the best honey (logwood). We are a land of unlimited possibilities. Japan has no natural resources except the drive and talent of their people and they are the second largest economy in the world. Nevertheless, our progress as a society should not only be measured by big houses, fancy cars, super highways, big buildings and money in the bank but rather the welfare of ALL our people.

Over the past two years, I have been despairing about our increasing problems: Unemployment is at an all time high. Our health care system is in shambles. Eighty five percent of our children are born out of wedlock. Our imports are up and our exports are down. More and more of our annual budget is committed to servicing our formidable national debt. We have Garrison Dons and Gunmen who are out of control. Our prisons are full. We have politicians, public servants and policemen taking bribes to compromise the public trust. Deaths from automobile accidents are outrageous. If our high rate of accidents and homicides are not enough, criminals have now taken to kidnapping our children. A third of our citizens cannot read. Our children have half day school so half of our children cannot pass their CXE and suffer from lack of parental guidance as most of their mothers are in other countries taking care of other people’s Pinckney. The list of these negatives continue to expand with each passing day.

I remind myself that the way of truth and love has always prevailed when societies are plagued with criminals and a bad economy. God is just. He will not sleep forever. Criminals may seem invincible, but in the end, goodness always triumphs and evil fails. The future is our permanent address so time is on our side. History teaches us that time is on the side of law abiding citizens who just need to recognize that we are blessed with brilliant opportunities disguised as insoluble problems. My interpritation of the ten commandments is to express goodness.

Let us stop this conspiracy of silence and form a coalition of the law abiding so we can persistently fight crime on our streets and communities. Each of us has a choice to make. Every member of our society has the power to act in the interest of good. When someone is not afraid to die, they immediately become powerful. No one can make you do anything without your consent. Each of us must commit to a future when evil will not feel at home in our country. One man or woman with a cause, courage and God becomes a majority.

Since we all know that power concedes nothing without a struggle, sometimes it requires that we put everything on the line and fight for our personal integrity, dignity, self esteem as well as a cause in which we are invested. Let’s start by saving the children.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. You cannot have crops without ploughing up the ground and you cannot bake a cake without breaking some eggs. We should never surrender to the menace of evil in our society. Let’s have no truce with criminals. They are the people who are invested in preserving poverty and promoting the rule of the jungle rather than the rule of law. Is that what you want for your children? If they continue to do their worse, let’s double our efforts to do our best. There is nothing wrong with Jamaica that what is right with Jamaica cannot fix. Let us be excellent to each other. More than cleverness, we need kindness and courage.

If you are kind to your neighbours you will feel good, if you are cruel, cover up the evil deeds of others and don’t do the right thing you feel bad and haunted. If you live by Christian principles you will be blessed, not only because God will bless you but because other people want to associate and do business with people who are honest, sincere about their promises and helpful in their moments of need. Whatever you do, you will be successful because others will wish you well and offer help another good and faithful servant.

On the other hand, people will avoid and show disdain for those who are evil. Why would anyone want to associate with someone who lies, become violent and hurt other people? They realize that regardless of the very temporary availability of money that a criminal lifestyle sometimes offer, it is only a matter of time before a criminal will turn against those who associate with him or her. Most of the murders in Jamaica were friends of the perpetrator. So, stop hiding the criminals in your community.

There is a revolution coming. It will not require violence and violence will not stop it. I am a Jamaican. Hear me roar. The virtuous people in our communities can be a powerful army if they ae pushed to the wall. We are now up against the wall. The good people of this country will rise up and act when they recognize that our society is currently organized to oppress, murder, rob, and degrade them—with our hopes not realized and our promises not fulfilled. Is your ambition to work your way up from nothing to extreme poverty? Some politicians and leaders of our country believe that enough is done for the people at the bottom rung of society if you are allowed to live at all.

The time has come. Every country has the government they deserve and the community we want. Equal opportunity, fairness and justice are ideals for which we should be prepared to die. If you refuse to accept evil, you will get what you want. There are a lot more good people than bad people. Have a positive impact on the world. Don’t end up having just visited and walked the earth. Help to make Jamaica free for honest people to enjoy. “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds” (Bob Marley) This is our Island in the sun that deserves your salvation.

In spite of the few criminals, I believe that Jamaicans are really good at heart who just wants to show love and kindness to others. You cannot believe the kindness I have received at the hands of perfect strangers in Jamaica. This is no time to keep the facts from our people to keep them complacent.

My motivation for sounding this alarm is not to panic but to seek action from an aroused public. What we are famous for doing is understand and participate meaningfully in all the countries of the world. What we do worse is understand and invest in our own country. Every little bit you do helps a little bit.

Use your time on this earth. Resolve to be reduced to ashes rather than to be dust under anyone’s feet. Go out in a blaze if you must rather than compromise your dignity. Earn the respect of your fellow man by becoming a man and women of action. Don’t be scared. A man must live with purpose, not just to compromise with the devil. Use your time wisely and be a force against evil. Our only hope is for the rich and poor to come together for the good of the country. My fear is that it will be too late when the rich finally reach out to the poor, they may find that the poor has turned to hate.


I am the author of "A Struggle to Walk with Dignity"-The TRUE story of a Jamaican-born Canadian. I am very inspired by the words of Dr. Kong's writings, and I am proud to be a part of your web family. As a thinker and writer myself, it is as if Dr. Kong's thoughts on Jamaica are connected through my brain. I could not have said it any better, and clearer than Dr. Kong. He shows me the brilliance of the Jamaican mind and the possibility of great accomplishments that Jamaicans are capable of. The future of Jamaica is in the hands of it's people, as we all wish that Jamaica after Colonialism could have been another Singapore. Gerald A.