Best News & Current Affairs Blog (2011 & 2012) and Jamaican Blogger of the Year (2011) at The Jamaica Blog Awards.

Why Grammazone Won and The Future of Our Politics


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It was election season on the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies and the battle lines were sharply drawn. As usual, the spotlight focused on the post of President, contested by the social media front runner, Jamie James, and his opponent Terron Dewar, and the post of Cultural & Entertainment Affairs Chairperson (CEAC), contested by six candidates. The focus of that race would fall on the incumbent Miguel ‘Grammazone’ Reid and his closest challenger, Gabrielle Curling. This was a peculiar campaign, marked by heavy rhetoric, inferences of sexism and heavy social media organization. It soon became clear that the message was vote Jamie in and vote Grammazone out. The results would stun the student population.

After an extensive campaign to get rid of Grammazone, the incumbent CEAC was able to retain his post, shocking and angering those who organized an ambitious plot to unseat him – all the while leveling allegations of incompetence and voter deception. The question then is, how did he win? My own assessment tells me it had little to do with his competence and more to do with the fact that he was poorly opposed. Winning an election requires strategy. It appears to me that the opponents of Grammazone ran with the idea of “anyone but him”. This effectively sealed his victory. You see, Grammazone already had a base of support; in the contest of multiple candidates, the opposition’s vote had to be united around a single contender. In other words, for Grammazone to be unseated, his opposition needed to speak with one voice. It appears that the opposition was split among the other five candidates, while Gramma’s base remained united and motivated to brave the backlash. The opposition’s strategy appears to have been righteous outrage, that alone is not enough. There needed to have been a unity of purpose to support that outrage. Miss Curling’s campaign needed to have tapped into that outrage and transformed it into votes – a prospect which never materialized. It was perhaps then prophetic when Grammazone tweeted last night as the results rolled in, “only the strong will continue.”

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It was a strong base and strong strategy which saw the incumbent re-elected. Kudos to you, sir. To his opposition I say, in politics a good strategy is just as important as a good or better candidate. You dropped the ball on this one.

I find the case of Jamie James curious. Having been rejected by the electorate last year, James decided to brave the electoral storm once more. The verdict was the same, and in a shock to his social media backers, Terron Dewar was elected to the Presidency.

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Jamie’s bid was a bad idea from the start. You see, history tells us that you only get one shot at the Presidency in a direct vote situation, just ask Mitt Romney. The electorate on the Mona Campus would not have changed vastly from the last time James sought the Guild’s top job, who advised him that it was a good idea to defy the electorate once more and seek that which he was already denied? It was poor advice. Jamie’s chances may also have been hurt by his front runner rock star status. His social media backers all but inaugurated him as President. There was a surety which was dangerous, he was presented essentially as the President-Elect. Bad idea. That kind of posturing can turn off voters, and I’m not sure it didn’t in this instance. To be sure, I have little doubt that Jamie would have made an excellent President, but he needed to have accepted that his ship had sailed. Congratulations to the President-Elect, Terron Dewar.

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Finally, what do the results of the Guild elections tell us about the future of Jamaican politics? Firstly, the politics of personalities will continue to dominate our political sphere. Sadly, we continue to vote for personalities over competence, empty promises over substance. That is how we ended up with our current Prime Minister, and how we’ll end up with many more Portias. The idea that personalities are more important than policies is a fallacy. Secondly, We have degraded the power of the vote. Election Day is supposed to be the day when those being led speak, and those who lead listen; instead we have forfeited our voice in exchange for promises that will never materialize, for cheap tricks and pretty speeches. In effect, we have damaged our country’s future. If the 5% of our population that is allegedly endowed with skills of superior reasoning cannot make an informed choice, why should we expect the trajectory of national development to change? Image

As Kingsley Morgan* said to me, “I was expecting our students to be more critical and vote for the candidate with a plan – not vote on looks, political affiliation and hype.” Something tells me many others share that sentiment. I know many will counter my reasoning by saying educated people won’t vote in national elections any way, so the lot will not fall to them; but if they can’t make a good decision in a school election, their involvement in a national election would have very little effect on lifting the standard. Unless tertiary education is able to raise the standard of discourse and participation in our electoral process, I’m afraid that light rising from the west may soon be extinguished.

* Kingsley Morgan is a second year student at CARIMAC. He co-authored this post.

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42 responses

  1. rightaboutitjm

    Good Read! Lol Indeed Grammazone was poorly opposed or for better phrasing had NO COMPETITION…..LOL Jamie’s situation is a joke….but what can be said of Royann and Odaine in the EAC race? Students insinuated that her victory was as a result of her beauty whilst the young samaritian who holds a national award for his service to the country lost the battle. My personal view is that both candidates exhibited favourable attributes for an EAC and to continue the work of the Army of Good but what say you? Story of beauty and the beast? Lol

    March 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    • LOL. I’m not familiar with the particulars of the EAC race. I’m not sure. Thanks for the comment though.

      March 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

  2. Reblogged this on Heavy Featherz.

    March 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm

  3. breezy

    I was with you until you extrapolated grammazone’s win to indicate that the nation’s brightest CAN’T make an informed choice when earlier in the article you said it was a case of a lack of strategy on both his opponents’ and the voters’ parts.

    The conclusion also seems to clash with the other election “surprise” you mention about Jamie losing the presidency elections which I think goes to show the electorate CAN see beyond popularity and hype when voting.

    Good read though.

    March 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    • If the allegations of incompetence and voter deception are true, then the choice the voters made in Grammazone’s case is wrong – though a lack of strategy also played a significant role. As for Jamie, I was trying to suggest that he lost because the Presidency is a one shot thing. Voters won’t suddenly like what they rejected before. I take your points though, and I appreciate your thoughts.

      March 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm

  4. Observant

    The Gabby campaign was primarily an anti campaign, I doubt the electorate ever got a chance outside the debates to get a sense of what she would bring to the portfolio. Jamie never really campaigned. Unlike the other candidates for the various positions, people only heard of Jamie through his supporters. To sum up my point I will point to a political lesson learnt from a senior politician, There are two candidates the electorate hates, the one who does not campaign and even worse the one who anti campaigns. American Politics is not Jamaican politics and a fierce fight can easily be interpreted as a nasty campaign.

    March 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      March 20, 2013 at 4:52 pm

  5. cast

    the voter decide to vote for who they see fit for the position of ceac. the reason why grammazone won was because he is a true yute and ppl knw that.

    March 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it.

      March 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    • Mel

      That’s what I’m saying. People can chat all they want, the dude did his job this year and did not frig up the post. And that’s what mattered. I hear people say…oh it’s the people on the committee that held him up. Sooo what? Is he supposed to do it alone? That’s the reason why leaders have committee.
      Not to mention their failure lied in the anti-campaigns…like really? Most times that turns voters off. Tivity introduced himself to me and started telling me why I should not vote for gramma. A nuh dat mi waan hear. Why should I vote for you?
      I don’t care bout no deal uno make last year…a nuh my problem that. And you want me to vote for you with all you bitchassness? So politics go, just suck it up.
      “He had his chance” is definitely not a good excuse fi try vote him out.
      Dem fi lowe gramma. If Rohan Stephenson never run, dem woulda vote fi gramma, if tivity never run, dem wudda vote fi gramma. He was the best person out of the pool of candidates. Yuh nuh see d ppl nuh even know who to vote for? Gabby who? Next.

      Oh and nobody expected Jamie to win…oh please. Terron Dewar was the most active guild member who did his job extremely well from GCC to VP. A hard working youth that…He rose to the occasion and delivered, Bout Jamie fi president…not at all. A joker you be.
      You even guh a uwi boss?

      March 21, 2013 at 2:13 am

      • I’m sorry, who said Jamie “fi President”? Where was that stated?

        March 21, 2013 at 7:46 am

      • Sash

        Clearly you are a typical gramma supporter. I dont really know them that well but to me Tivity or Gabby did deserve it. If “he was the best person out of the pool of candidates” why so many students saying bad things about him? why his votes decrease and he is the current ceac? The votes were not even far apart, TiviTy would do a better job base on sponsors and benefits. As said “empty promises over substance” and they really go vote after him say him bring Rhianna to jamaica when that is impossible. Look away on Jamaica future political environment smh.

        March 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      • Mel

        What has Tivity or Gabby done that you’re so confident in them?
        Just like you heard bad things about him, I’ve heard good…his record speaks for itself and from what I saw, the CEAC year was indeed successful.

        March 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      • Mel

        Rihanna stmt was obviously gimmicks…Tivity told me that the post is soo powerful that he caan bring Katt Williams a UWI.

        March 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm

  6. hanna

    GABBY WAS NOT THE CLOSEST CONTESTANT … TIVAUGHN TIVITY WATSON WAS !!!!! Cultural & Entertainment Affairs Chairperson
    Gabrielle Curling 654 votes
    Rickardo Mahon 203 votes
    Miguel Reid 714 votes
    Rohan Stephenson 279 votes
    Shawn Sybblis 491 votes
    Tivaughn Watson 696 votes

    March 20, 2013 at 7:57 pm

  7. Gregory

    IDK why Rohan Stephenson and Rickardo Mahon go up for CEAC. Its politics you must the powers and some background to ur name in the region like Gramma, tivity and gabby. Tivity would win this if it wasnt for scatter votes. Thanks for the blog anyway

    March 20, 2013 at 10:33 pm

  8. paul_uwi

    Last year TiviTy and his team make gramma to win, now he turn his back on tivity smh. The agreement was made

    March 20, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    • You guys seem to know the politics man, lol. Thanks for your thoughts.

      March 20, 2013 at 10:38 pm

  9. shammar_carimac

    uhm grammazone didnt win by any comfortable margin. grabrielle was effective but when half the school doesnt know who they are voting for but vote cause they are handed strips of paper the result is what it is. as for jamie he spent too much time trying to bribe people with free kfc and redbull rather than show genuine concern for the student population as dewar did.

    March 21, 2013 at 12:07 am

  10. shammar_carimac

    zeen

    March 21, 2013 at 12:11 am

  11. KM_27

    While I agree with a lot of the sentiments expressed, we haven’t addressed the pink elephant in the room. Every year far less than half of the UWI population is eligible to vote. How then can we have an executive that truly represents the electorate?

    March 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm

  12. dev

    you people should stop criticize and leave Grammazone alone. a win is a win, If its even by 1 vote. its obvious Miguel is what the ppl want. Its a Taylor Guild, not a BOOMY one. Terron Dewar, Estephan Fearon, Garrett Rabottam and Miguel Reid..congrats, you people really care about the students and not the popularity. i have seen Terron Dewar in the school at the assembly hall at nights and at the bus stop at Irvin Gate, almost every evening. he does not leave until most if not all the students get transportation to go home… you deserve your position as president… please continue to have the students interest as your first priority.

    March 22, 2013 at 12:43 am

  13. Watterman

    Tivaughn Watson would have done a better job as the CEAC.

    March 23, 2013 at 11:30 am

  14. Shennell

    To me i know a win is a win but me would like to see a recount from another source. The votes are too close and more people come out to vote for TiviTy on that day. This result is not true!

    March 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm

  15. Shennell

    To me i know a win is a win but me would like to see a recount from another source. The votes are too close and more people came out to vote for TiviTy on that day. This result is not true!

    March 23, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    • Rachel

      How you know who people come out to vote for?

      March 24, 2013 at 12:47 am

  16. Shennell

    Shawn, Gabby or Tivaughn Watson (more likely) should have get it the students tired a this slackness. The future politics of Jamaica dont look well.

    March 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm

  17. Shawn Davis

    Lol like the content whoever write this it was well written and the people them a say tivity … A my boss but i was bringing Gabby for CEAC

    March 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm

  18. anonymous

    Idk y bt I’m gettin d impression dat this article is somehow suggesting that grammazone is not a competent leader. Dat is another story however. Grammazone did not onli win becuz he was purely contested. Firstly, there were his opponents who were onli focussed  discrediting him rather than campaigning for themselves. Big mistake miss gabby and mr tivity as well as rickardo. Secondly, gramma is a humble youth is cognizant of the fact dat d electorate didn’t wnt nything frm him  election day. He wanted sumthing. Consequently, he wen beyond d normal scope of things to ensure he got his votes. There seem to be aloTta gramma haterz but unnu need fi relaz. He already one d position n ur cynical comments won’t remove him. One more year  all d haterz

    March 23, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    • MzTrini

      No that is not the climax of the blog “I’m gettin d impression dat this article is somehow suggesting that grammazone is not a competent leader.” The blog is suggesting that the future of our politics is not in a good state base on the situation. So many students complaining about Gramma yet he won (students dont know how to vote) and how he been messed up previous yr. Election day more people turn up to vote for Tivaughn Watson (TiviTy) that lead me to believe that there are some corruption in this.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      • MzTrini

        Look at the votes statistic how close they are 696 and 714

        March 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm

  19. RRRRR

    Gramma is a real youth, Gramma teach tivity everything in Event planning. He even gave tivity the ideas of how to do colours.

    Gabby got 2 events for rex and not 1 of them pulled 800 patron.
    she did 1 fras friday close to election jus for political reason after she promised keeping 1 every other week from september.

    tivity could hardly pull out 400 patrons for colours which i guess is chancellors premium event, now dynamite’s swinging engine is the bigest chancellor event and it is not all that.
    Tivity did not even try to bring back Spetrum, if he did i would say yes he deserve chance, i dont think he did anything really.

    Rohan stephenson should not even try and run gramma made him taylor hall ceac and after that, he drop the standard of taylor events such as outrage and final fete that gramma, garrizon and evol all held up. Its the first in history taylor major events dont full union, he jus want ready for such task, he couldnt manage to full union for 2 events spaced 5 months apart, how will he manage a weekly series and other things?

    Sybbliis?

    That mohan dude where did he appear from.

    Im not a Gramma Zone supporter, But rationally i think it would be safer for the portfolio to give him a second run to tighten the loose ends

    March 24, 2013 at 12:35 am

    • Thanks for your thoughts and analysis.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:49 am

  20. Steelo

    I don’t think Jamie would have made a good president. He never had a good plan. Even when he lost the 1st election he was nowhere to be fond throughout the year. He literally neglected the students and took no part to help in student development. How could he expect to just pop up and win when nobody dont remember him? If it was not for this election a lot of people and myself wouldnt even remember he attends the school.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:47 am

  21. Barbie

    @Steelo you have some good points about Jamie and Gramma is not for the students. I think he run for CEAC again for the enjoyment of the position to his name. Tivity or Sybbliis i was looking forward to win

    March 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm

  22. Timboom

    Well written blog

    March 24, 2013 at 1:03 pm

  23. Sham

    I read every comment that was posted …. a few made sense and then there were “others”. Terron for Presedent all the way. This young man is THE BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB. ‘CEAC Cum-in like joke!’ “The Gabby campaign was primarily an anti campaign” thats so tru. its a sticky situation when it comes to entertainment n rex. Thank God mi know fi enjoy mi self. But, let me just say i think TiviTy would have done a good job seems like we’ll never know, and i dont think its valid to say that he had most of the support cause the votes didnt say it. on the other hand i think Gramma did a fair job *i dont have all the insights so i cant say much on that*. (Y) Good blog (Jamie money isnt all cause mi know say terron no have it like how mi hear say u have it *money* BUT he is one HAPPY PRESIDENT. 🙂 #Terron

    March 24, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      March 24, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    • Myan

      Am a tivity supporter i think and i respect this comment. I still respect gramma zone cause two a dem coming from the same high school and they both work hard. I think tivity would work hard enough in the entertainment scheme of uwi thou

      March 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm

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