What do we want? Equality, jobs and justice! When do we want it? Now! The rich are getting richer! The poor are getting poorer!  

People of colour are still suffering under a system of white supremacy.  Women are still paid less than men for equal work! Enough! 

Few people would disagree with the fundamental ideas presented above. It’s why l voted for the PLP in 1998 and 2003, spoiled my ballot in 2007, and then voted for the OBA in 2012.  

Rev Tweed is absolutely right, though: “Government cannot continue implementing policies that do not have the people’s interest at heart.” 

It’s why the UBP was removed from power in 1998, and it’s why the PLP was removed 14 years after.  

But, would someone who is as strongly aligned with the PLP (as Rev Tweed is) actually agree with the PLP’s 2012 removal? I have my doubts.  

Nevertheless, I think that everyone should read the People’s Campaign Manifesto for themselves.

Unfortunately, while many of the core principles are laudable, the Manifesto demonstrates that it’s quite easy to condemn the OBA when you aren’t required to present viable alternatives to OBA policies or ideas under consideration.  

It’s also easy to cast aspersions upon initiatives when you don’t have to present an objective analysis of why OBA policies supposedly, “do not have the people’s interests at heart”.

Concerning

Cutting back on education grants, removing term limits and allowing companies to buy land, are all concerning on the surface.  

While the OBA could do a much better job of communicating (and defending) their policies, especially to those who distrust them, it must be noted that the Manifesto does not provide detailed, viable alternatives that would provide the equality, jobs and justice that the Campaign is demanding. The Manifesto also doesn’t acknowledge the fragile state of our economy, nor what is required to kick-start it. 

Such an omission is unacceptable for a country in an extended recession.

Anger

There also appears to be misplaced anger in this movement. Equality and justice are issues that the PLP failed to address with sincerity over their 14-year administration.  

Further, the lack of jobs is not due to the OBA’s actions over the last 16 months, but largely to do with multiple poorly conceived and implemented PLP policies. 

This, of course, is in addition to a legacy of self-inflicted entanglements and controversies that repeatedly inferred or displayed corruption and cronyism at the very highest levels.  

To put it bluntly, if the PLP had actually been doing what they were
elected to do, by now we would:

Be reaping the benefits of a reformed public education system, and far more of us would be prepared for and employed in higher-paying jobs.

 Have had a long-term housing policy that truly addresses our housing needs across multiple income levels, and we wouldn’t be cornered into selling off poorly conceived projects like Grand Atlantic.

 Have been well underway with reinventing our tourism product, thus providing tax revenue in addition to jobs in construction and hospitality.

 Have taken measures to address the causes and effects of anti-social behaviour, instead of spending tens of millions on policing, incarceration and community surveillance.

 Have long ago addressed our spiralling health care costs by addressing the causes of chronic health care.

 Have implemented international business policies that help industry to thrive, and thus maintain or increase the kind of higher-paying jobs that will never be found in tourism.

Fundamental questions

When you reflect upon how the last 14 years were spent, four fundamental questions must be asked.

First, why didn’t these same self-styled champions of social justice similarly protest the policies and actions of the previous administration?

Second, would there be as much suffering now had they spoken up when the PLP was in power?  

Third, is it right for us to expect international business to pay for our foolish mistakes through increased taxation?  

Fourth, isn’t it high time that we take responsibility for our own actions?

The chanting of “PLP, PLP!” during the protest should also lead us to question if the People’s Campaign truly is a non-political movement with an unbiased social agenda.

The Campaign has been started by ex-PLP candidates, a PLP Senator, PLP-aligned Union leaders and staunch PLP supporters.  

Additionally, the Campaign’s most vocal supporters include the harshest OBA critics.

I would also expect that a large percentage of those who marched last week also marched during the previous string of anti-OBA protests.  

Merely exchanging a green shirt for a red shirt, or having a preacher instead of a union or PLP MP leading a protest, doesn’t remove the politics.  

It just makes the politics more palatable for a broader audience.  

While this tactic is great for the PLP, it doesn’t actually move us any closer to achieving equality, jobs and justice, now, does it?

Bryant Trew many be contacted at bryanttrew@mac.com.