FOUR members of Parliament representing the two major political parties have attributed their victory in the December 29 general election to the principles and tenets they have been taught as Rotarians.
Returning Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) MP for North East St Catherine Gregory Mair and newly elected People's National Party (PNP) MPs Andre Hylton (Eastern St Andrew), Dr Winston Green (South East St Mary) and Damian Crawford (East Rural St Andrew) say they all applied Rotary's four-way test to their political lives, and which guided them during the recent election campaign.
The test ask Rotarians four questions: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Dr Green said he thanked the Rotary Club for the principles and tenets instilled in him. "I took those in my three years as caretaker for the constituency and throughout the campaign and I intend to keep them throughout the period as MP," Green said.
Pointing to how this has made him a better parliamentarian, Green cited an incident where his supporters were demanding jobs which were contracted to others under the previous administration.
"It was just yesterday (Wednesday) I was out in the road and some work was going on and there was some PNP supporters who were saying 'it is our time now and we must have some work', and I had to apply the four-way creed," Green told a meeting of the Rotary Club of Kingston yesterday.
He added: "I remembered that the work was started before the change of government and I had to ask myself is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned when I look at persons working on the thing. Will it bring goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerns meaning the country we live in? And I had to say to supporters you need to go home and allow the people to finish their work," Green said.
The first-time MP said as long as he and his colleagues apply these tenets and principles to their lives they will see their way through.
Meanwhile, Mair said he felt extremely privileged to be a Rotarian in Parliament, but even more so to represent the people of North East St Catherine who have returned him to Parliament for a third consecutive time, one of them being a by-election.
"Rotary is service above self and the highest form of representation is representational politics," Mair said. He said, however, that within the context of politics, it is extremely challenging.
Mair said one of the greatest challenge just now is the retreat of the Jamaican people from participating in the political process, especially in light of the 52 per cent turnout in the December 29 general election. "I think it is extremely dangerous and I think we could lose the validity of our democratic system," Mair said.
In the meantime, Hylton, who is an assistant Rotary governor, said being a Rotarian has helped him in bringing a non-tribal approach to politics. "What I have brought to Eastern St Andrew and the People's National Party is a non-tribal approach to politics and so I have never seen a person and call them JLP or PNP," he said.
On the campaign trail Hylton said he never saw people for their political affiliation but treated everyone as a prospective voter.
He cited an example of the demonstration by residents of his constituency for the removal of their former MP Dr St Aubyn Bartlett of the JLP. "A demonstrator say 'the PNP man come look fi me when me pickney dead and dey dey fi me'," Hylton said, adding "I didn't even know she was a Labourite."
He said he has constantly reminded his constituents that he is not the PNP MP but the people's MP. "... So Rotary has helped me a lot in my advancement as a politician and I believe the four-way test was part of my campaign because at any point I would have told people the truth," he said.
One such truth, Hylton said, was that he made it clear that he would not be buying any votes."In an inner-city area one man call him friend and say that man Hylton ah go win de seat and no drop no money you know because he was expecting money but I told him the truth," he said.
Damian Crawford, a former group study exchange Rotary student, also lauded the principles of the Rotary. He said what will keep him in power is the concept of caring for all concerns. "...So I want to be that kind of MP who will improve the lives of people and my focus is on empowerment through education," said Crawford.
Crawford, too, said he was also grateful for the exposure Rotary has given to him through a trip to Australia to observe their tourism industry.