Sunday, October 20, 2002

Selwyn Ryan is just back from observing the elections in Jamaica; his Express column today is a useful précis of the political situation there, & of the nature of "garrison politics":

"The violence which exists between residents of rival communities is however not mindless. It is driven by the instinct of economic survival. When one's tribe is in power, one 'eats'. When one's tribe is out of power, one 'starves'."

The "garrisons" were the creation of Jamaica's politicians, of both parties, & still serve the politician's interests (though the violence they breed has long passed out of the politicians' control). Bringing an end to this system of national self-destruction is in the politicians' hands. An obvious but apparently revolutionary step: let P.J. Patterson's PNP government pay the same attention to the JLP "garrisons" as to its own. Make up for whatever neglect they've felt over the last three consecutive PNP terms of office. Take the Jamaica Observer's advice & lavish government attention on Edward Seaga's constituency to start with. Save Jamaica.

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