Brown-Burke’s Threats A Continuation Of Virago Representation In St Andrew Southwest?(audio)

For those of you fatigued and dis­heart­ened about the events hap­pen­ing in our world, you will agree that we are dis­tressed and stressed, and in some cas­es feel­ing over­whelmed and help­less to do any­thing about events out­side our indi­vid­ual scope of con­trol.
Psychiatrists have said that gen­er­al­ly, peo­ple are demon­strat­ing more symp­toms of stress and anx­i­ety these days.

Somehow it just does­n’t seem as easy to watch a bas­ket­ball game or watch a movie with the degree of aban­don and peace we once did with­out won­der­ing whether, with­out warn­ing, we will be vapor­ized in a ther­mo-nuclear blast.

It is easy in this envi­ron­ment to sim­ply throw up our arms about events which seem too parochial, too unwor­thy of atten­tion in light of what could rea­son­ably be con­strued to be larg­er more con­se­quen­tial issues.
Despite the larg­er issues we face, how­ev­er, we can­not lose focus on whats impor­tant as we devise new paths for­ward to remove us from the con­strain­ing ten­ta­cles of sep­a­ratism, par­ti­san­ship and ulti­mate­ly pover­ty.

One of the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic of gar­risons in Jamaica is the evil of pover­ty. We can have a healthy debate on whether pover­ty pre­ced­ed gar­risons or the reverse and I would wel­come that. I am of the view that like every oth­er com­mu­ni­ty, with the excep­tion of the wealth­i­er upper Saint Andrew com­mu­ni­ties pover­ty was a con­stant.
Despite the many polit­i­cal fail­ings of the past, many open com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try have ben­e­fit­ted from invest­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties, while new dynam­ic ones have sprung up in places none exist­ed.
It is my hum­ble sug­ges­tion that on that basis it is imper­a­tive that we move expe­di­tious­ly to dis­man­tle the exist­ing gar­risons in our coun­try, as that is the only way that the peace, edu­ca­tion and pros­per­i­ty res­i­dents of these com­mu­ni­ties crave will be real­ized.

In recent times two of the most endur­ing gar­ri­son com­mu­ni­ties have seen new polit­i­cal lead­er­ship in the per­sons of Mark Golding in the com­mu­ni­ty of (St. Andrew South) which includes the infa­mous gar­ri­son of Arnett Gardens(Concrete Jungle) once held by Omar Davies.
And the oth­er Angella Brown-Burke in the (St Andrew South West), the gar­ri­son com­mu­ni­ty once held by long­time par­lia­men­tar­i­an and PM Portia Simpson Miller.

It is impor­tant that while we rec­og­nize the stub­born char­ac­ter­is­tics which iden­ti­fy these com­mu­ni­ties for what they are that we do not lose sight of the blithe which is cre­at­ed on the sole basis of what these com­mu­ni­ties are.
It is also very impor­tant that we under­stand that crime, one of the most tox­ic blithe which emanate from these gar­ri­son com­mu­ni­ties will not go away because we wish it away.

Most impor­tant­ly, we must be adamant to those who would lead these com­mu­ni­ties a‑la Mark Golding, Angella Brown-Burke and oth­ers in both polit­i­cal par­ties that they do not for a moment see these com­mu­ni­ties as their own Kingdoms as has been the prac­tice in the past.
Residents of these com­mu­ni­ties like the South West St. Andrew con­stituen­cy once held by Portia Simpson-Miller must be edu­cat­ed also that their lives will not change regard­less of the office their rep­re­sen­ta­tive hold unless the under­pin­nings of these com­mu­ni­ties are dis­man­tled.

Poverty, mis­ery, crime, dis­eases, lack of edu­ca­tion, lack of oppor­tu­ni­ty, lack of invest­ment, lack of ade­quate infra­struc­ture, are only of few of the blithe which are endem­ic in these com­mu­ni­ties and it is on that basis that we should nev­er allow the likes of Mr’s Brown-Burke and Mark Golding to get com­fort­able in the assump­tion that these incu­ba­tors of crime are their own per­son­al fief­doms.

Listen to audio com­men­tary.


Over the last cou­ple of weeks, there have been voic­es with­in the PNP in the per­sons of KD Knight and Angella Brown- Burke threat­en­ing street protests to get what they want. Street Protests have a place in our demo­c­ra­t­ic cul­ture, it is a way for cit­i­zens to reg­is­ter their dis­sent with poli­cies they do not sup­port.
Street protest should nev­er be a tool used by a polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion to cause dis­rup­tion in the soci­ety when dia­logue and con­ver­sa­tion would suf­fice.

KD Knight

It is on this basis that I found Senator Knight’s threats to rouse up Jamaicans against Government pol­i­cy offen­sive.
It is on that basis that I find Angella Brown-Burke’s recent state­ments regres­sive, Monacharistic and trou­bling.
Brown-Burke said she would protest in the streets if a state of pub­lic emer­gency is declared in her vio­lence-torn con­stituen­cy, adding that she needs a push-back that entails social inter­ven­tion – not only boots on the ground.

The con­stituen­cy of (St Andrew South West) is a small part of Jamaica, but a part of Jamaica. It is not up to a con­stituen­cy rep­re­sen­ta­tive to dic­tate what nation­al pol­i­cy may or may not be applied in that or any con­stituen­cy by the Government.
That applies regard­less of the par­ty which holds the keys to the offices at Jamaica House.

Angela Brown-Burke

Said Brown-Burke:

I am not one of the tech­ni­cal experts, but, if a state of emer­gency comes for South West St Andrew, I am going on the road and I am going on the road to protest because we want invest­ment; we want inter­ven­tion too,” she trum­pet­ed dur­ing her con­tri­bu­tion to a debate on res­o­lu­tions suc­cess­ful­ly moved for a 60-day exten­sion to the ZOSO in the Denham Town area of Kingston and Mount Salem, St James.

Brown-Burke fur­ther said: “I want to see a holis­tic crime plan; I want to know that the indi­vid­u­als who live in South West St Andrew can boast of the free­dom of which oth­ers speak; can boast of the devel­op­ment of which oth­ers speak.”

The People’s National Party of which Brown Burke is a mem­ber and a mem­ber of Parliament was in pow­er for 1412 con­tin­u­ous years. The con­stituen­cy of St.Andrew Southwestern has been rep­re­sent­ed by for­mer Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.
That con­stituen­cy has been a safe seat for the PNP since 1976, it has not been rep­re­sent­ed by the JLP except for the brief peri­od of 1983 when the PNP decid­ed not to con­test the elec­tion and the seat was occu­pied by the JLP’s Christopher Rose.
The con­stituen­cy went back to the PNP in 1989 and has since then has­n’t been worth con­test­ing by the JLP. That con­sti­tutes 29 unbro­ken years of PNP rule in the con­stituen­cy.

With those facts in mind, I am con­fused at the temer­i­ty of the new mem­ber of par­lia­ment Mrs. Brown-Burke in demand­ing imme­di­ate solu­tions for her fief­dom con­sid­er­ing that the present admin­is­tra­tion has been in office for only two years.
Both polit­i­cal par­ties main­tain gar­risons, the PNP main­tains more, nev­er­the­less, I recall Andrew Holness the present Prime Minister invit­ing Portia Simpson Miller to walk through the gar­risons as a sign of good­will and togeth­er­ness in his first go-around as Prime Minister.
She refused, main­tain­ing that she did not see any walls in her con­stituen­cy. The take­away from her asser­tion was con­spic­u­ous­ly con­fined to the tra­di­tion­al and most nar­row inter­pre­ta­tion of the word “gar­ri­son”.

In mak­ing her demands for the ben­e­fits of ZOSO Brown-Burke assert­ed that by the time the ZOSO is applied there may not be any­one left in her con­stituen­cy.
A mem­ber of the Government side remind­ed Brown-Burke that the con­stituen­cy has been in PNP hands for a long time to which she respond­ed: quote: “I have not been there [as mem­ber of par­lia­ment] for 40 years; I have been there for six months, and I don’t care who was there before me.”

The lack of real­ism in Brown-Burke’s state­ment is pal­pa­ble even as we under­stand what could be the frus­tra­tion at the 55 mur­ders which has been report­ed in the con­stituen­cy since the begin­ning of the year.
Nevertheless, the sit­u­a­tion in her con­stituen­cy are not new, they were not cre­at­ed in the last two years. Brown Burke should con­fine her­self to seek­ing dia­logue in a respect­ful way with the admin­is­tra­tion to see what may be achieved for the peo­ple of St Andrew Southwest.
Making out­ra­geous demands under the threat of social unrest harkens to a time which ought to be behind us. The con­tin­u­a­tion of vira­go rep­re­sen­ta­tion should be dis­card­ed in the dust­bin of his­to­ry.

Brown-Burke must be made to under­stand that the type of rep­re­sen­ta­tion offered by Portia Simpson Miller did noth­ing to improve the lives of the peo­ple of Saint Andrew Southwest. Continuing in the ways of Simpson Miller will only extend the mis­ery and depri­va­tion for decades more to come.