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JM | Nov 12, 2022

The JLP has to put a muzzle on Warmington

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

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Everald Warmington

Everald Warmington’s comment on Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding’s race and parentage were vile and disgusting.

It’s not the first time that he has made eyebrow-raising remarks that make his party cringe with embarrassment.

Yet, somehow Prime Minister Andrew Holness and other senior members of his Government seem unable to rein him in or censure him.

He is the mad bull in the pen that the party may feel is better left alone.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Nevertheless, his comments were most disturbing on many levels.

Looking at the world today, we see racial divisions, partisanship and an unwillingness to come together and celebrate nationhood. We tend to opt for racial differences that lead to tensions and strife.

Jamaica’s motto is ‘Out of Many One People’ and, by and large, that’s what prevails here.

It’s more a case of classism rather than racism. Jamaica is one of the few places in this world that you can live in peace, prosper and go about your daily business without being persecuted for your race or religion.

Mark Golding, leader of the opposition and president of the People’s National Party.

Mark Golding is committed to the welfare of Jamaicans. He is intelligent, articulate and a sensible politician. He is not a rabble-rouser, nor is he inclined to go looking to score cheap points.

Warmington might have singled him out as an easy target, but that reasoning backfired.

The PNP has rallied in support of Golding and has been joined by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica in condemning the firebrand that is Everald Warmington.

PNP Chair Dr Angela Brown-Burke is right when she says the comments were “despicable and in poor taste”.

Dr Angela Brown Burke, chairman of the PNP.

Jamaica cannot go the route of racial division and hate baiting. Many politicians believe they can emulate Donald Trump’s bravado and blow torch approach to rhetoric.

It doesn’t elevate political discourse and in fact stokes the worst elements of humanity.

The socio-economic composition of most Jamaican politicians over generations tends to be all too familiar but it leads to a predictable and one-dimensional approach to statecraft. You don’t see the great families of business entering the political arena and, over six decades, the country has suffered for it.

The prospect of enduring racial epithets and having their ethnicity used against them may well be prohibitive to making a contribution to changing the trajectory of this country and getting it out of the mess that it is in.

Jamaica needs its best minds and talents pulling in the same direction.

The astute and experienced Dr Horace Chang, the deputy prime minister, read Warmington’s  tactless utterance right.

“The comment is a political one because I think Mr Warmington was responding to some comments that have been made before. It is an unfortunate comment, but there is no ethnic division in Jamaica’s political arena,” he remarked on the situation.

Dr Horace Chang.

Chang always chooses his words carefully and is the epitome of diplomacy. Both he and the party should be more vociferous in their revulsion.

Holness’ mentor, the late Edward Seaga, faced something similar but no one dared be so outspoken about his ethnicity. Seaga went on to become prime minister and led the party for decades. Some say he was one of Jamaica’s finest prime ministers.

So, does what Warmington said about Golding apply to his former leader, Seaga? It would be interesting to ascertain what he has to say on the matter.

Many years ago, I was at a briefing on Sandals Resorts International in London with the founder and chairman of the hotel group, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart. An analyst from Credit Suisse turned to me and enquired, “Why is he speaking like that? Is he trying to be funny?”

Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.

I was bemused and informed the well-suited and coiffured young banker that the chairman was Jamaican. Still, he couldn’t reconcile what he was seeing and hearing.

I went further: “His family have been Jamaicans for generations. He is proud of his Jamaican roots.”

He took me in from head to toe, then guffawed: “You don’t speak like that and you are black!”

I didn’t press the issue, he just didn’t get it. I let it alone.

He was oblivious to one of the most significant charms of Jamaica.

He could be forgiven – Everald Warmington cannot.

– Send feedback to editorial@our.today

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