November 23, 2020 | By Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |
It is no secret that former Miss World, Lisa Hanna had a long standing ambition to lead the 82 year old People’s National Party (PNP). Her recent unsuccessful bid was not an overnight dream motivated by eating too late and having a nightmare. This has been her life’s ambition for some time now. Many knew of this burning desire. How to convert dreams to reality is the 64 million dollar question. If there was ever one?
By her own admission. In her own words … inter alia: “If I knew that one day I would have been running for president of the PNP … I would have treated people differently”. How sad madam beauty queen turn politician!
Character Is Priceless
Some leaders are fortunate to be propelled into certain leadership positions due to dynasty and family name etc. Michael Manley of Jamaica W.I., and Justin Trudeau of Canada readily come to mind. Unfolding results on the political scene across the world have shown that a sound character, however, is key for longevity in the political arena. Rejected US president Donald Trump could not secure re-election due to widespread perception that he is not a person of sound character, among other alleged character flaws. Let us look at the late Michael Manley and Justin Trudeau, current head of the Liberal Party of a minority government in Canada.
Former PM of Jamaica for two separate terms has been dogged with character issues. 1) Unlawful State of Emergency 1976 2). Courtship with Democratic Socialism and his about turn. In 1979/80 election, a period in Jamaica when there was an undeclared civil war over the ideological direction that was widely felt to be leading in a Communist direction. Manley had embraced Fidel Castro and promised “to go with him to the mountain top” … to the annoyance of the USA. They invaded Grenada for similar reasons. It was felt that the CIA launched a covert operation in Jamaica along with local Opposition forces. Blood spilled in the streets and alleys of Jamaica over this alleged Communist threat. Some 800 persons were murdered. Michael Manley was blamed for the chios. Edward Seaga was leader of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). He later won by a landslide in the General Elections of October 1980 by 51:9 seats.
PM Justin Trudeau of Canada is the son of former PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau, a flamboyant and liked character who was a strong supporter and friend of the late Michael Manley himself a former PM of Jamaica W.I. Under Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s incumbency, many West Indians and in particular Jamaicans migrated to Canada. He is even today reverred by many who migrated in that wave to Canada. Justin has inherited this legacy of brand name and is now on track to create a dynasty so to speak, by succeeding his father as head of the Liberal Party of Canada. Character flaws were not seriously exposed in Daddy Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau has been dogged by character issues. To date he has racked up at least three Ethics violations. 1) His vacation with the Aga Khan 2) The SNC Lavalin Scandal and 3) Donation to the WE Charity from which his wife et al seem to have benefitted from taxpayer funds close to a billion Canadian dollars. The Black Face images of Justin are not here and now being counted … just a passing reference. He suffered politically for this poor judgement. Many have not seen this unfortunate act of PM Justin Trudeau by itself, as him being necessarily a racist. His political fortunes did get some bad mileage from such a labeling of Justin Trudeau wearing a blackface.
Michael Manley and Justin Trudeau seem to have been endowed with that rare gift of being teflon coated. Lesser mortals would have drowned in political storm waters that raged in their times. These name brand characters have weathered the political storms associated with their many indiscretions or scandals. Lesser mortals would have no doubt been relegated to political obscurity.
Their personal charm and charisma have allowed them to be “teflonized”. They have recognized oratory skills. Their charm offensive have captivated many and has sealed their future.
Lisa Hanna has charisma and has a known name as a former Miss World, but no dynasty background. She lacked the necessary temperament to inspire confidence to push her over the top. There is an integrity cloud overshadowing her. Unfortunately! Lisa Hanna’s stewardship was investigated by Jamaica’s integrity watchdog, the Office Of the Contractor General (OCG) … similar to the Ethics Commissioner’s office in Canada.
These findings expose what appears to be wrongdoing … these findings did not rise to the level to allow for a successful criminal prosecution. This clearly points to alleged character flaws in Hanna’s corner. Also she has not been able to establish confidence among her team. They seem to hate her leadership style. Probably hate her guts as well. Further signs of apparent character flaws as a leader … unable to be a respected team leader. The PNP delegates seem to have sent the message that she was not seen as a “fit and proper” person to be trusted with further leadership. So they rejected Lisa Hanna’s bid to be president of the PNP and Opposition Leader. She lacked vision and character for the top job. Those are critical ingredients to be a true leader.
Ironically! Hon. Mark Golding’s last name could strangely give him some name brand recognition as Hon. Bruce O. Golding was a former PM and JLP leader. PNP delegates may have seen this similar surname as political fortune to them as a sign of things to come. Just a thought!.
What is your perspective? This is ours. In the final analysis, as usual, the verdict is yours.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie has a sound track record of selecting winners. Also an international journalist and political analysis. He is a veteran wordsmith & visionary.