People Power Wins Big in Jamaican General Elections

The opposition Peoples National Party scored a resounding victory in the Jamaican general elections, winning 41 out of the 63 seats contested.

The ruling  Jamaica Labour party  took 22 seats.

In her victory speech Peoples National Party Leader Portia Simpson- Miller, thanked the people for giving her her mandate and the Prime Minister  for his concession telephone call which she  described  as very gracious.

The speech was heavy on love, togetherness, thanks for the victory and wishes for peace, there was little on what we are to expect  but these occasions are rarely about that, and given the  scale of the victory perhaps the party  can not be blamed for wanting to savour the moment before getting down to the hard work of governing  the country.

The Prime Minister elect,  told the country that they would hear from the party  soon, as it organised to take over the government.  She promised that as the PNP move to balance the books it will be moving to balance people’s lives too.

Speaking of his party’s defeat a sombre  Jamaica Labour Party leader Andrew Holness spoke about the need for the party to rebuild and start campaigning for the next election he added that it was a humbling experience and there will need to be a time of introspection and reflection.

It was a triumphant turn around  for Simpson – Miller from the defeat in 2007, when after becoming Prime Minister when PJ Patterson stepped down  after a leadership race within the party, she fought and lost her first election campaign   from that position.

As the results came in things began to look bleak for the JLP as some key  candidates lost to the PNP and the number of declared PNP seats began to rack up towards the 30 plus mark.

Some suggest that this was a vote to vote out the JLP rather than vote in the PNP, whilst others say it was an election  possibility squandered by the JLP because of off kilter strategy, bad timing and percieved arrogance.

Whatever the motivation of the electorate the results are in are in and winners and losers alike have to get on with what lies ahead now the nation has decided.



PNP Wins Jamaican Election

In Jamaica the Peoples National Party has won the general elections, the party took an early lead as the  results began to come in.

It will be Portia Simpson- Miller who will lead the country into the New Year.

But what started as an early  lead turned into more than that as the party  pushed past the 30 seat mark whilst the JLP was struggling to break the 20 mark.

Some 63 seats across the island were contested, up from 60 in the last election in 2007. The  competition was between the two major parties the Jamaica Labour Party JLP, led by Andrew Holness and the People’s national party the PNP, led by Portia Simpson – Miller. Independent candidates and representatives of the Marcus Garvey Political Party and the National Democratic Movement also contested the poll.

Unemployment, crime, education and the economy were among the major issues on people’s minds as they went into this vote that saw campaigning before and after the Christmas holiday.

Political parties campaigned to bolster their established support and to appeal, to the don’t know which party to vote for and the don’t know whether they will vote or not.

Both party leaders were hoping to get their first term as an elected prime minister both leaders had taken over from incumbent prime ministers. Portia Simpson – Miller failed in her first bid in 2007 and newly appointed Prime Minister Andrew Holness was taking part in his first election with the possible prize of a mandate from the electorate for him as prime minister. But it was not to be, instead Jamaica’s first woman Prime Minister Portia Simpson – Miller will return to that post this time with an election win behind her.

Commentators  are looking at the quality of the win and if voters voted the party in or the JLP out.

Now as Jamaica approaches its fiftieth year of independence, it is the  PNP that will take the country into the next era of independence and the JLP will return to opposition.

Just as the challenges the nation faced as it  approached independence in 1962 were great, so fifty years on   challenges remain some that relate to a new time and a new generation and others that are fundamental and despite the passage of the years still remain to be addressed.

The new government will have its work cut out for it and the electorate will likely watch to see if the promises of the party will pan out.