Jamaica, New Year, New Prime Minister, Swearing In


Jamaica starts the year off with a new government and a new Prime Minister and it all becomes official on Thursday January 5.

Portia Simpson Miller leader of the Peoples National party will be sworn in by the Governor General at a ceremony at Kings House, Kingston.

There is no definitive word on the new cabinet for except for the suggestion from   the party that some key ministers will likley be sworn in on January 6th.

The PNP won the December 29 2011 General Election with 42 seats to the JLP’s 21 this tally is one up from election night as after the final count the JLP lost a seat. Turnout for the election was reportedly low on this island nation of over 2.7 million people.

The ceremony will be attended by, the diplomats, members of the ruling party and opposition, academics, business persons and other invited guests.

vuvuzelas not welcome

One thing that won’t be welcome is the vuvuzela,  the  noise maker that became a feature of the campaign trail and political meetings among the party faithful on both sides. Word from the organisers of the event is  that this South African horn that  resembles an overgrown party favour will be plastic non grata at the event on the lawns of the Governor General’s residence

The vuvuzela came to notice during the World Cup Football competition in South Africa and the sound maker made its presence heard   late last year, when the new leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, Andrew Holness was sworn in as Prime Minister after  JLP leader and Prime Minister Bruce Golding stepped down.

The ban  is probably based on the experience of the pomp punctuating chorus of the vuvuzelas at that event. According to press reports it’s a matter of discipline and not just decibels and the order comes from Prime Minister elect Portia Simpson Miller herself.

So vuvuzela joyful sound maker or irritating noise maker whatever the verdict, not for the swearing in, out of sight and out of earshot.

Perhaps the determined owners of an iphone can download a vuvuzela app instead.


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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.