Has Jamaica’s PNP finally shed its Democratic Socialist Moniker?

Has Jamaica’s PNP finally shed its Democratic Socialist Moniker?

MONTEGO BAY,  Jamaica September 19, 2022 - The People’s National Party seems to have officially shed its traditional Democratic Socialist moniker in favour of a party bereft of labels, but sporting the policies and programmes that define “Progressive Politics”.

PNP president and Opposition Leader Mark Golding, told the 84th Annual Party Conference on Sunday, that he had engaged Professor Anthony Bogues  to chair the party’s Policy & Vision Commission, “which spent over a year consulting, reflecting and refining a philosophical restatement of our aims and objectives as a political movement.”

Professor Anthony Bogues was appointed to chair the PNP's Policy & Vision Commission which delivered a report on what policy direction the party should take.Professor Anthony Bogues was appointed to chair the PNP's Policy & Vision Commission which delivered a report on what policy direction the party should take.“Their report was approved by the National Executive Council in July, and has been ratified and embraced by the delegates of the Party at the private session of this our 84th Annual Party Conference.

“Our Party now has a clear and inspirational philosophical framework from which our policies and programmes for when we return to government are being developed, refined and implemented,'' the PNP president declared.

For quite some time, old party faithfuls and those of the Michael Manley era, have been concerned that the PNP has been losing its Democratic Socialist flavour and as a result, has been losing its appeal to the masses of Jamaicans.

On the other hand, more conservative party supporters maintain that the party's overt Democratic Socialist stance had placed it at cross-purposes with countries like the United States, and Britain among others. 

These countries with which Jamaica have had a close working relationship, see the party's socialist stance as diametrically opposed to their philosophy, and have indicated on many occasions that left wing socialist governments cannot be trusted.

Jamaica's close working relationship with Cuba, initiated by Michael Manley, and which has been extermely beneficial for the country in the areas of education and health, is often referred to as an indication of an example of the political direction in which the PNP would like to proceed as a Socialist party.

However, People’s National Party President Mark Golding has pointed out that progressive politics has always been at the heart of the party’s social development thrust, which changed Jamaica fundamentally in the 1970s.

“The people were lifted up at that time, because of the progressive politics of the PNP. This can never be honestly denied. It is patently clear in all the legislation and programmes that the Party enacted and implemented to support women, children, workers, students, the elderly and small businesses.

“Most importantly, black people in Jamaica, for the first time in our history, were treated as first-class citizens in their homeland. It was a period of great social advancement,” party president Mark Golding told the 84th Annual Conference last weekend.

“While Michael Manley told us he was ‘never, ever, committed to labels’, progressive policies that put the people at the centre of development have always been at the core of the PNP’s belief system, even in times of economic pressure when the fiscal space for maneuver was very limited,” Golding said.

The PNP believes that progressive politics is the politics for the people. The PNP is a mass democratic party of the democratic left. This simply means that:

  •  The PNP stands for the social and economic transformation of Jamaican society. We must fix the social structures that impede people’s chances to positively transform their lives and fulfil their dreams
  • We believe in social equality and aim to eliminate all class,racial, colour and gender divides in our society;
  • We must build a more just, inclusive and democratic society;
  • We respect and protect social and human rights, based on principles of mutual respect and love for each other;
  • We are for self-reliance and economic independence within a regionalist frame, so that we are not dependent on others for what we can effectively do for ourselves and so that we can build Caribbean unity and collective regional action for sustainable development;
  • Recognizing the long history of racial slavery and colonialism of the country, and our own efforts to improve ourselves like through the Garvey movement, the PNP stands for Reparatory Justice;
  • We believe in environmentally sustainable development, that does not mortgage future generations by selfish practices today.

“By our principles in the PNP, they will know us,” Golding asserted. “The delegates of this party are here because we stand unified by the philosophy and ideals of the PNP that have guided us from the past, empower us in the present, and lead us into the future. We know where we are going! The PNP President declared.

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