Current Affairs

Current Affairs





Say nothing of your plans and talk all about the PNP's problems is the ethos of getting elected. Mr. Seaga and the Jamaica Labour Party have started what they have dubbed the anti-corruption campaign. It is a campaign that is designed to win votes by telling the people that the government is incompetent and has mismanaged the economy. In other words, the JLP's strategy is to control the peoples' minds by feeding them a daily diet of PNP's misfortunes. It is a strategy that has its principles buried in the belief that the people are not wise enough to want to know of the alternative.

So, with Seaga at the control, the JLP has transformed its loud speakers into a state-of-the-art boom box with attractive sounds and flashy lights, and is moving around the country, parish-by-parish preaching purity and innocence from all sins. Mr. Seaga is telling his fellow Labourites and anyone else who will listen, that the PNP has mismanaged the country and demanding
elections now. In recent days Mr. Seaga has even revealed to us that it is only his good conscience that has prevented him from locking down the country over the cess. Of course, the lock down argument was used once before in the 70s.

In his most recent utterances, Mr. Seaga has even gone as far as to say that this PNP administration is the most corrupt one in our modern political history. Such a statement begs for comparison and analysis with former administrations.

Mr. Seaga and the JLP should be the last to talk about scandals and mismanagement. In fact, they should not talk about scandals at all, not from the record that they left behind in the 80s of missing money, missing schools and collapsed institutions. It was during this same period that our Net International Reserves (NIR) stood at minus US$530 million. How can Mr. Seaga expect anyone to take him seriously when he calls for transparency and accountability even as he is yet to account for the money he borrowed from the failed Century National Bank? And what about the millions in GCT collected at Carinosa Gardens that are still outstanding? In fact, it eludes me how anyone with integrity could support a man who continues to demonstrate an unwillingness to settle his debt to the nation, but who seek the office of Prime Minister.

Spring Plains is another example of why in these matters Mr. Seaga's hands are not clean. In the 80s, Mr. Seaga as Prime Minister invited and presented a fugitive Israeli named Eli Tisona as a legitimate business investor. It was a wonderful relationship. Tisona would develop the plains, create jobs, export the crops, and Jamaica would earn the desperately needed foreign exchange. This was not to be. Soon after the romance started we heard from afar that Tisona was a fugitive on charges of racketeering, drug running, tax evasion and mail fraud. Although two of Seaga's travelling Cabinet Ministers heard of the charges and brought the news back home, Mr. Seaga ignored them and caused Jamaica to lose an estimated $270million (estimated at some $3billion today). The question therefore is, why did Seaga ignore the advice of his cabinet colleagues? Was Spring Plains a front for Eli Tisona and his illegal operations? What was really being exported from Spring Plains? And, who really benefited from the proceeds? Perhaps, if Tony Abrahams can ever again muster the will, we might one day know the truth about Eli Tisona and what was Seaga's role.

The JLP scandals do not end there. The last time that the JLP formed the government plenty money went missing. For Example, there was an investment of US$57million from the US government for AGRO-21. That went missing, and AGRO-21 went bust. Another US$27million from USAID went missing and the Seaga led government refused to allow the Inspector General of USAID to see the records to determine the disappearance of the money. And the JLP has had its history too. Back in the 60s, money allocated for schools, roads and other infrastructure went missing. The schools were not built and the road decomposed.

The misfortunes of the PNP cannot be excused in the name of loyalty, but the present PNP administration has plenty of achievements on which it and all Jamaica can be proud.

Mr. Seaga and the JLP can point all the fingers all they want, unless they come clean and tell us what happened to the $270million investment in Spring Plains, the missing US$27milllion from USAID, the missing $57million from AGRO-21, the missing GCT from Carinosa Gardens, the money from Century National Bank, and the missing money to refurbish the West Kingston Market District, the preaching of PNP misfortunes alone will neither get them elected nor set their consciences free.