Jamaica LANDS
Left Alliance for National Democracy and Socialism

Press Releases

Stance on the Local Gov't Elections

As we identify ourselves as a political party, it may be expected that we have a stance on the local government election, whether it is that we are running or whether it is that we are endorsing another political party or some candidates.

Unfortunately for those who have these expectations, we are neither running nor endorsing candidates for this election. The party has been formed very recently. Our initial set of meetings was for the purpose of making key decisions about our identity and the structure of the organisation. After the party was founded, our 3 meetings so far have been on internal organisational matters, discussion of everyday problems facing the average Jamaican, and work on concrete policy proposals.

We recognise that we do not have a large enough following to make an impact on the outcome of the elections, and we have not interacted with any political party or local government candidates in an official capacity. For these reasons, we do not think it would make sense to endorse any candidates in what could be seen as us claiming false self-importance.

One thing has been noted, however. The Local Government elections are being treated like a national election, and there has been national-level debate about it. We do not think that local government elections are something for which there can be a national-level debate. Voters are not electing a Member of Parliament to represent their constituency on a national level, or electing someone who determines anything in national government. Voters are electing local-level representatives to sit on parish councils and deal with the management of local infrastructure.

This should not be a national popularity contest for the two major political parties, or something where the party leaderships impose candidates on the people in different divisions. This should not be about party politics. The people need to elect the representatives who serve their best interests.

Additionally, there have been eyebrows raised about the $600 million spent on bushing roads, and talks about corruption and vote-buying. What comes afterwards is the usual middle class condescension of "the Jamaicans with an eat-a-food mentality" - blaming poor people for corruption, and insulting their intelligence to claim that they do not know what is best for themselves. We find this to be problematic, and we want to have a discussion about it in the near future.

We hope these same people that associate corruption with poor people eating "a food" are also vocal about the fact that Jamaica's 2 main political parties accept donations from the private sector. We hope that they pay much attention to the fact that there is little transparency in the handling of funds by political parties, as well as the fact that there is no restriction on how the private sector is able to fund and influence these parties.

Christophe Simpson