The general elections on February 25, 2016 have demonstrated that democracy is still alive and well in Jamaica. The Jamaica Labour Party led by leader Andrew Holness came out victorious winning 32 seats to the People’s National Party 31 seats with pending magisterial recounts. Most of the polls predicted a PNP victory however that was not the case when all the ballots were counted on election night. So what went wrong?
In my observations, the JLP led a much cleaner and issues-based campaign and gave the electorate a better option than the PNP especially leading up to the elections in the final weeks. There are a multiplicity of reasons that can be attributed to the PNP’s demise. The primary reasons being the arrogance displayed by them relating to the lack of participation in the national political debates, not adequately addressing the issues during the campaign, focusing on things that are of no significance to the electorate (Andrew’s house) among other things. I honestly believe that PNP was dismissed because of their blatant arrogance towards the lack of participation in the national political debates. Many intellectuals, specifically young voters and the large number of undecided voters felt disrespected by the PNP’s decision to not debate. We believe in debates, it’s a part of any healthy democracy so by fabricating reasons to not debate about the issues facing Jamaica but rather distract the electorate by focusing on Andrew’s house was disrespectful and showed disregard to the democratic process.
The PNP in my honest opinion accomplished several things in their last administration, despite the myriad of challenges that faced Jamaica but they were dismissed from office for the aforementioned reasons outlined. When approaching the Jamaican electorate, humility is key. Nothing should be taken for granted, regardless of what you believe you have accomplished. The citizens of Jamaica must always be respected and treated fairly because we elected you to serve and to make decisions that are in our best interest and if that is not realized then you will be sent packing.
The JLP on the other hand, avoided the slanderous ads that are usually a part of their campaign and focused on what they want to accomplish for Jamaica. I also believe strongly that their message of “Poverty to Prosperity” resonated with the electorate. Over the last six months, I’ve observed tremendous growth in Andrew as a leader. There were some aspects in which he was falling short, one being his relatability to the Jamaican electorate. Many felt that he was not relating well to their needs and concerns and over the past few months I believe that Andrew has been listening to us and making the necessary adjustments. I also believe that travelling around Jamaica and meeting the people gave him a firsthand experience of the realities that the Jamaican people are faced with and most importantly he’s branding himself as a 21st century leader which is exactly what Jamaica needs right now; a visionary leader.
I am confident that Mr. Holness will be a fantastic Prime Minister. I believe that his education, skills, abilities, knowledge and experience has demonstrated his suitability for the position of Prime Minister. I believe that he will create a movement that aims to re-establish Jamaica’s credentials in business, arts, academia, sports, science and technology and most importantly governance and politics and ultimately the realization of our Vision 2030 plans which aims to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.