PNP’s ‘born ya’ cit­i­zen­ship hypocrisy

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE EDI­TOR, Sir: IN THE 1976 gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign, the Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party (PNP) used the song My Leader Born Ya to ex­tremely dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect to pil­lory the Ja­maica Labour Party’s (JLP) then leader, Ed­ward Seaga, as not be­ing gen­uinely Ja­maican.

The fact that he had long given up his Amer­i­can cit­i­zen­ship, had at­tended Wolmers’ Boys’ School in Kingston be­fore do­ing un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies in the USA and had re­turned to give years of public ser­vice in the Se­nate, and later as a former Min­is­ter of Fi­nance, had played a sig­nif­i­cant role in am­pli­fy­ing our lo­cal cul­ture through the na­tional fes­ti­val move­ment and creation of Ja­maican na­tional sym­bols and lo­cal in­sti­tu­tions, did not mat­ter. To PNP die-hards, en­cour­aged by their public cam­paign, he was just “an ole Syr­ian” as they said on the cor­ners.

That song was res­ur­rected pe­ri­od­i­cally in the 1980s, the 1990s, and even the 2000s to af­firm the ‘pa­tri­o­tism’ of PNP lead­ers and the can­di­dates on their ticket.

There­fore, to read in the Gleaner’s on­line edi­tion of Oc­to­ber 10 that the PNP were now cit­ing Mr Seaga’s be­ing born abroad in de­fence of their Dr Shane Alexis, a Cana­dian cit­i­zen and now can­di­date for South East St Mary, just makes me want to puke.

Yes, the con­sti­tu­tion al­lows cit­i­zens of Com­mon­wealth coun­tries to run as can­di­dates in Ja­maica and sit in the Par­lia­ment. But given his own in­ter­view with Dionne Jack­son Miller (Be­yond the Head­lines also on Oc­to­ber 10) in which he said he was just too busy to join a long line to pur­sue Ja­maican cit­i­zen­ship at this time, one must ques­tion his com­mit­ment to this as­pect of public ser­vice.

For­get the other JLP can­di­dates of re­cent vin­tage who had to give up Amer­i­can cit­i­zen­ship, some of whom had also lived pri­mar­ily in Ja­maica all their lives, if Mr Seaga, hav­ing given up Amer­i­can cit­i­zen­ship and serv­ing Ja­maica for as long as he did, could not pass the PNP’s ‘born ya’ test, why should Dr Alexis? Damnable hyp­ocrites! CE­CIL AIKEN ce­cilatk­ings@gmail.com

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