We face neither East nor West, we face Forward – Kwame Nkrumah.

Kenya and Jamaica share some things in common, besides the brothers and sisters tag. Topmost being the athletic prowess. Historically, they’re former properties o f the empire in which the sun never set, and one of Kenya’s former Chief Justices, Sir. Horace Hector Hearne I learn headed this way from Jamaica, socially we all love a good beat and Jamaican reggae and ragga artists have had a field day tum buisaing Kenyans. Economically, both countries appear to have had their best of times in their first decades after their respective independence and the stratif ication of the poor and rich class system took root at around the same period. I n matters climatic, I cannot leave out our beaches. I must highly commend the people of the land of wood and water, or the land of t he rising sun, as Eric Donaldson puts it. Not Nihon, but Jamaica, world renown f or its reggae beat and sporting prowess on the track and field, for rising beyon d the yoke of parochial patriarchal hegemony and handing the mettle of leadershi p to a proven progressive and visionary leader, Prime Minister Portia Lucretia S impson-Miller. As she rises on the rostrum, she is faced with an enormous task, shifting the base of power, switching from monarchism to republicanism and lady luck alone will not be enough. It is inspiring to note that she is of the opinio n that after more than half a century of self-rule and government, she wants to severe the monarchial relationship with Britain and go the republican way. This is an offer Jamaicans cannot afford to refuse. She will be in good company. When the USA chose republican mode over the monarchy, it was entering uncharted wate rs, but experience has shown that it was the best move. While a monarchial government is founded and sustained upon heredity and assumed divine right, and the state is a personal fiefdom, in a democratic republican s ystem, legitimacy derives from the masses, the public, suffrage of the people, t his form of government provides for checks and balances which are requisite for a transparent administration. The present arrangement is dangerous in a sense th at the queen and the governor-general have the power to dismiss a democratically elected premier and parliament with no countervailing power. The rights of the people are subservient to the whims of the person sovereign. In its very essence , the queen is answerable to no one. However, this is not to be construed that t he queen enjoys unfettered rights, powers and duties neither do I advocate the v iews contained in John Ponet’s A Shorte Treatise of Politike Power, we are living in a completely different world from his. It is only in an open, transparent and democratic country where people live in justice and equity, a country where lea ders have no occasion to deceive or to defraud the populace, either intentionall y or unintentionally as is apt in pseudo democratic governments. This was enunci ated forth a long time ago by Plato in his Republic. Jamaica has come a long way, her past has been dark and macabre, from having bee n under the yoke of British slavery for about two centuries, abolition of slaver y in 1834 and subsequent declaration of full emancipation from chattel slavery i n 1838 to being led and governed by descendants of the slaves and indentured ser vants whose human dignity is guaranteed thanks to the Wind of change that McMill an prophesied despite some resistance from the likes of Adlai Stevenson. Soverei gnty will now vest in the people of Jamaica, and not in the person of the sovere ign. The queen will no longer be the head of state, but the elected president. I t is a timely thought, a thought whose time is right, which will be the fulfillm ent of the idea of government of the people by the people. A government where th eir elected leader derives his/her right to rule directly from the will of the e lectorates and is as a consequence subject to constitutionalism and the rule of law. Granted, Britain has done a lot of commendable work for Jamaica, but a chil d cannot be forced to crawl forever, it reaches a point when it has to walk. At fifty years of age, Jamaica has come of age. The beauty of the detachment is tha t it will not be emotional parting; Jamaica will still be part of the commonweal th by virtue of it having been part of the realm of the British Empire. There ar

e some norms and customs from the empire which are not compatible with the day-t o-day affairs of the people of Jamaica; they make them think they are moving for ward when in fact they are stuck in a time warp rendering their essence mere rel ics. It should however be noted that republicanism will not be the panacea to all the problems faced by the Patois speakers. The victim mentality has to be shed, the past has to be remembered but eyes have to be fixed on the future. The people o f Jamaica who sit, sleep, walk and sing about Babylon “downpression” will need to dr op their buckets where they are; in Jamaica, and stop dreaming of the promised l and of their fathers, Shashamane where milk and honey flows. The Back to Africa Movement failed in its aims. There needs to be a shift in attitudes. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are, in the words of Theodore Roosevelt. The y need to start working and making to do with what they have got if their situat ion is not to move from bad to worse, but ameliorate. Ethiopia has it own proble ms and as it was seen, the Shashamane project came a cropper. Those Jamaicans wh o immigrated to Ethiopia found the going tough than they had thought. Skylocking does not bring food to the table or pay bills, work does. Whether you are in yo ur utopian slumber or in the Ethiopian highland, the fruit of the land will only be made true by tilling of the land. Those who still harbour the thought of com ing back to Africa, in furtherance of Marcus Garvey’s dream need to get a pinch, a reality check of some sort. Problems are everywhere. Prime Minister Portia Lucretia Simpson-Miller needs to be given all the support that she needs to stem the tide of widespread poverty, high unemployment, runway public debts, and stamp out crime, corruption and moral decadence in Jamaica. I t will not be smooth sailing on the march to the mountain top. The march will de mand sacrifice, suffering, and struggle. Bitter medicine will have to be chewed and swallowed in order that health and vitality may be found, the slicing will b e close to the bone. As Dennis Brown sung, it will be Blood, Sweat and Tears. Th e argument that the white man is responsible for the problems faced by the Jamai can people is now moot. They have been bestowed with the right of voting in powe r persons of their choice who should propagate policies whose ultimate ends tend to uplift the standard of education and life for them. They have a right to res ist violence, drugs, misogyny and contempt for decorum. Bob Marley put it to the people, “emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds…”, it is upon the Jamaican people to accept that the problems they face can, and will only be tackled by themselves, or compounded by themselves, not the bal d heads. The old way of doing things will have to go; a clean slate for Jamaica is needed much now rather than later. The relationship between organized crime, drug deal ing and political power will have to be repudiated. Former premier Minister Bruc e Golding’s Jamaica Labour Party was complicit in the criminal conduct and success of Christopher “Dudus” Cost which cost dear lives and loss of property because his posse had political clout. The gangsters need to turn over a new leaf in order t o fit into the scheme of things under the new dispensation, if Malcolm X moved f rom being an inmate to an extremely intelligent, inspirational and visionary lea der, it can be done even today. Prime Minister Portia Lucretia Simpson-Miller ha s promised to respect the rights of each and every person in Jamaica; this defin itely is bound to face stiff opposition from those brought up on Lord Laro’s lyric s, who believe that the woman’s place is in the kitchen, or some dance hall artist es who advocate for the burning of the “chichi men” having regard to the fact that t he premier has promised to uphold the rights of each person irrespective of his/ her sexual orientation. Unity, tolerance and success require discipline, linear thinking, comradeship and patience with one another. The words of Bob Marley’s On e Love song should be given life in such a time as this.