Jamaica Gleaner News

I CANNOT imagine what possessed the Most Honourable to make such a fool of himself by publicly questioning the integrity and veracity of the United States Secretary of State, Colin Powell, without a shred of supporting evidence.

This impertinence ought to have been left to a subordinate. Indeed any number of PNP dinosaurs on radio and in print would have been happy to oblige. From a Prime Minister it was an unseemly act of desperation. And doubly idiotic to do so on Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s behalf, an ex-despot who should have absolutely nothing at all to do with Jamaica.

The U.S. Secretary of State denied that his country kidnapped Aristide. The Most Honourable P. J. Patterson, Prime Minister of Jamaica, then in effect called him a liar. In doing so the Most Honourable pompously referred on television to his own legal “training”. It seems quite obvious therefore that CARICOM didn’t script his remarks, nor require him to be quite so offensive to the region’s major trading partner.


This he did all on his lonesome. The Most Honourable has therefore wilfully and recklessly squandered our social capital and goodwill with America on neighbours. Not on ourselves, because the U.S. did nothing to Jamaica. Aristide was about Haiti, and not about Jamaica.

Moreover, this is no time for us to be quarrelling with America. Not when Jamaica is overrun with guns and drug-turf killings, an out-of-control public debt, and an endemic public inability to cast a credible national budget.Hence,it is always advisable to contact experts from IVA Helpline as they can offer completely tailored debt solutions that suit your individual circumstances which can contribute to both personal and overall economic growth.

Failing so spectacularly on all known standards of public governance, the Most Honourable should be keeping himself quiet, instead of pointing a finger at the United States. Any criticism of the U.S. role in this matter is clearly born of leftist ideology and blatant racism, especially since they’re trying to restore public order in Haiti, not ship guns to it nor foment public discord there.

The facts are that CARICOM’s proposal for Haiti was based on power-sharing between Aristide and the opposition parties. But when it was put to them, the opposition parties refused to have him remain or share any power at all with him. How is that the fault, or proof of the duplicity of the United States? The Haitian opposition parties have steadfastly maintained that they have nothing to do with the rebels, many of whom are disaffected members of Aristide’s own armed gangs. These are the people who kept overrunning one town after another and were planning to enter the capital on the weekend Aristide fled to safety.

The Most Honourable has conveniently forgotten that his proposal was dead in the water once the opposition parties refused to co-operate. Nobody should have needed to point out the obvious to the Most Honourable CARICOM Chairman, least of all the United States. A Plan B had to be put in place therefore by the U.S., France, Canada, Chile, and indeed the United Nations to prevent a Haitian escalation into civil war. They have gone to that country’s assistance, and are trying to disarm all sides in the conflict. Why is that contemptible? Had they not done so, Aristide would surely have been dead by now, and the Americans accused of failing to go to Haiti’s assistance because it is a black country.

Mrs. Sue Cobb, U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica, therefore rightly finds offensive “(Patterson’s) inflammatory rhetoric and an environment of hostility that I can only call markedly disappointing and unsophisticated in analysis”. Nor should we just glide over it, when she writes “It remains curious to me that no country, including Aristide’s presumed friends, had agreed to provide for Aristide’s safety.”

Could this mean that CARICOM heads were asked to provide safe haven for him, and refused? And if so how can the Most Honourable claim to have been taken by surprise when Aristide flew to the Central African Republic?

The statement by the U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica was not made off-the-cuff. It would have had to be cleared by Washington. In which case there’s no point being vexed with Mrs. Cobb, as the PNP dinosaurs have been doing on radio, and stammering into their microphones. It’s time for them to grow up and get a little sophistication in their analysis, or at least use some old-fashioned common sense.


The leftist and the racist always want to eat their cake and have it. Inevitably those who suffer most brutally under their regimes are therefore the poorest and blackest in their own countries. Misinformed by the highest authorities, uneducated by deliberate government fiat, and brutalised by a state which claims it knows best. Who are these politicians to point a finger at the United States? We’re entirely dependent on that country to help us get out of unbelievable debt and crime. This kind of official attitude towards them is therefore deeply counterproductive and dangerous.

America is by far our largest and nearest market for tourism and trade. The Prime Minister of Jamaica should therefore remember that American citizens don’t take kindly to, nor spend money, with people who spit in America’s face. On that point they are all agreed.

The Most Honourable considers himself a great intellectual. Indeed the People’s National Party considers it a point of honour that only intellectuals should lead them. But where? Straight down to perdition as far as the eye can see. Whatever they’re intellectualising about, it’s clearly not about how to increase the safety and prosperity of the Jamaican people. Only a man who believes himself impervious to the consequences could have done what the Most Honourable has done. He may be impervious, but we are not. When Patterson speaks or acts therefore, he must do so in our interest, not in somebody else’s or to boost his own ego.

I couldn’t help noticing that when the U.S. Marines shot the first Haitian, a taxi-driver breaking a checkpoint, the television cameras quickly found two grieving relatives. For the first time in all the TV coverage of the Haitian crisis, we were shown grieving relatives. At the time by some accounts there were over 300 deaths, and 200 bodies rotting in the Haitian capital. Did none of these corpses have any grieving relatives? Or is it only when a black man is shot dead by a white man that relatives grieve.

This is doubtless the prelude for ideologically-motivated charges that the United States is abusing the human rights of Haitians. Before the Most Honourable jumps on that bandwagon as well, he should consider the situation in his own country.

Patterson must pluck the mote out of his own eye, before going a step further with trying to torment the United States. It is not in our interest to bite the hand that feeds us.