In Jamaica, this December the airwaves are not only rife with songs of the yuletide season but with election ad campaign for both the major political parties bid for the leadership of the country. The People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party campaign ads are so frequent that it seems to be on parallel with a hit tune that gets constant airplay. It is so pervasive that while I am standing in line at a bank, I heard cellular ringtones based on the lyrics of campaign ads which reiterate which party to vote for. I found this quite hilarious.

Jamaican Political culture has evolved where pork barrel politics is somewhat fading as people are  demanding facts, accountability, transparency and which party offers a better mandate or manifesto. The national debate which faces off between selected members of both parties is welcomed and well received.

On nomination day, as I walked through sections of Kingston, I observed an event that gave me hope; there in certain known garrison areas were avid supporters of both political parties comingling with each other. There was camaraderie between each group as the colored green were intermingled among those donned in orange or red and vise versa.  This signaled that we are moving from a past of violent elections to a new political culture. The people no longer tolerate absentee MP’s or a government that is not able to follow through with what they have promised.

The signs of a new political era dawning

However, accountability and transparency are two issues that are still not strongly addressed. The current political system is lacking these two essentials as it allows too much unaccounted and unanswered spending of public funds with Ministers responsible for the specific portfolio claiming ignorance of the happenings. To make matters worse, no one is held responsible and is let off the hook with a simple resignation from the post. Too long have Jamaicans repaid monies borrowed that was intended for the welfare of the country but somehow ended up lining someone else’s pockets. Too long have the persons who should be guardians failed miserably and allowed to go freely without so much as a mere slap on the wrist.

Anyone who is employed in a position knows that that position comes with certain responsibilities that cannot be overlooked or treated as slight.  The job of Minister with a specific portfolio is one that requires dedication and hard work. On findings that funds are mismanaged it is simply inexcusable that you are not aware of the events when it is your job to do so. This is a country’s future and welfare that is being mishandled, not a local patty shop.