Elections Is JLP’s To Lose, A Win Would Remove The Monkey From Its Back…

Jamaicans go to the polls on Thursday morn­ing to choose the polit­i­cal par­ty that will lead the coun­try for the next five years.
Jamaica’s par­lia­men­tary sys­tem is close­ly sim­i­lar to its old colo­nial mas­ter’s sys­tem, vot­ers in des­ig­nat­ed con­stituen­cies chose a mem­ber of par­lia­ment from the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), the People’s National Party (PNP), or from the oth­er periph­er­al dis­or­ga­nized par­ties that say they are in the run­nings, none of which has been able to secure a seat in the nation’s 63 seat leg­is­la­ture.
Depending on the par­ty that wins the most seats in the leg­is­la­ture, that par­ty is asked by the (Governor-General) the Queen’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive, to form the next Government.
Don’t look at me, I have noth­ing to do with Jamaica’s deci­sion to con­tin­ue main­tain­ing a cost­ly Governor-General, or worse, hav­ing the Queen of England, as a tit­u­lar head of our Government.
Stockholm syn­drome? Your guess is as good as mine.

On the bal­lot, tomor­row is a range of issues that plague Jamaica, as they plague oth­er larg­er more pow­er­ful nations. Crime and vio­lence. Poverty. COVID-19, and a host of social prob­lems that will always be a part of the polit­i­cal and social land­scape.
I believe that objec­tive­ly, the present Administration of the JLP led by the Young Andrew Holness has done a some­what admirable job. At the same time, I want to quick­ly jux­ta­pose the Prime Minister and his Government’s per­for­mance with a slew of fail­ings that should nev­er have occurred.
For exam­ple the slew of cor­rup­tion scan­dals than came to define the par­ty that mem­bers of his cab­i­net and oth­ers with­in the par­ty engaged in.
None of this should have hap­pened, and it is not good enough to say, “the PNP did it too’. Either you are bet­ter and a cred­i­ble alter­na­tive, or you are not.

I still believe this is an elec­tion for the JLP to lose. The nation’s COVID response under the Prime Minister and Health Minister Christopher Tufton has been one of the most for­ward-lean­ing any­where in the world.
That the infec­tion rate is on the rise in the coun­try, can­not cred­i­bly be laid at the feet of the Government, it belongs square­ly in the col­umn of the law­less­ness that has char­ac­ter­ized far too many of the Jamaican peo­ple.
This admin­is­tra­tion, like past PNP admin­is­tra­tions, has not done a cred­i­ble job of get­ting to the root of the gangs, and by exten­sion, the gang-vio­lence that emanates from that fail­ure. This ulti­mate­ly dri­ves the mur­der rate and oth­er vio­lent and brazen crimes in our coun­try.
If the JLP los­es this elec­tion tomor­row night, [which I doubt it will] its post mortem exam­i­na­tion will not reflect that it is because Peter Phillips and the PNP promised Jamaicans to pay every­one’s light bill, at a time when his par­ty can hard­ly keep the lights on at par­ty head­quar­ters. Nor will it be from the litany of lies they have told in order to be once again giv­en the reins of pow­er, nei­ther will it be that they promised all things free to all peo­ple.
It most assured­ly is the Government’s mar­gin­al­iz­ing of the police. The cor­rup­tion that plagued the admin­is­tra­tion and the increas­ing lev­els of mur­ders that con­tin­ue to go unsolved.

This elec­tion is crit­i­cal for the two par­ties, if the JLP los­es the elec­tion it will solid­i­fy the nar­ra­tive that some of the more rad­i­cal ele­ments on the PNP’s far left has used for a cou­ple of decades now. That nar­ra­tive says that the JLP is a filler par­ty that is vot­ed in, only when the peo­ple are tired of the PNP and needs a break.
The gen­er­al idea is that the Jamaican peo­ple do not trust to give the JLP more than one term in office.
This nar­ra­tive start­ed after the JLP’s Edward Seaga called a snap elec­tion in 1983, a mere three years after tak­ing office in 1980.
In the 1980 elec­tions, Seaga & the JLP swept into pow­er on a 51 – 9 seat major­i­ty. At the time the leg­is­la­ture had a total of (60) seats as opposed to the six­ty-three (63) that exists today. The PNP did not con­test the snap elec­tions of 1983, it chose not to, because it knew it would be humil­i­at­ed once again at the polls.
Instead, it chose to label the JLP a bogus Government. Slander, and hyper­bole over fideli­ty to duty.

Nevertheless, by 1988 the very same Michael Manley who was swept out of office on a tsuna­mi of dis­sent, was back in office when all of the votes were count­ed.….… or more like when the bal­lot box stuff­ing was over in the pletho­ra of PNP gar­risons across the coun­try, in which there are gen­er­al­ly tens of thou­sands more votes cast for the PNP, than there were peo­ple liv­ing in the con­stituen­cies.
Such is Jamaican pol­i­tics, both par­ties have sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly engaged in these prac­tices, the PNP has always been much bet­ter at it.
Michael Manley stayed on as Prime Minister until he was forced to demit office before his term end­ed due to ill-health. His then Deputy Percival James Patterson took over and the demise and destruc­tion of our coun­try were com­plete.
Despite Patterson, Portia Simpson Miller, and the PNP’s inep­ti­tude, gross cor­rup­tion, and incom­pre­hen­si­ble incom­pe­tence and graft, the JLP was only returned to office in 2007.
The JLP’s Bruce Golding formed the new JLP admin­is­tra­tion but Golding was forced to him­self demit office over the Christopher Duddus scan­dal known more as the Mannat Phelps and Phillips scan­dal.

A young Andrew Holness took over as Prime Minister after Golding left, and he sought to get his own man­date but it was not to be.….. at least not yet. The peo­ple soured on Golding’s han­dling of the Mannat Phelps and Phillips scan­dal, and so they turned to the dis­joint­ed, out of ideas PNP, and an even more hope­less Portia Simpson Miller, whose claim to fame is pop­ulism and longevi­ty in her par­ty and noth­ing more.
On the 5th of January 2012, Portia Simpson Miller was sworn in as Prime Minister of Jamaica defeat­ing Andrew Holness, who was forced to start over and cul­ti­vate and cre­ate his own bona fides. Simpson miller her­self had tak­en over as Prime Minister from P J Patterson on the 30th of March 2005, she was defeat­ed at the polls by the Bruce Golding led JLP.
Nevertheless, by March 3rd of 2016, Andrew Michael Holness was once again the Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Not since Edward Seaga led the JLP to a resound­ing vic­to­ry at the polls in 1980, have the JLP been elect­ed to two con­sec­u­tive terms in office.
If Andrew Holness can pull off a win tomor­row that mon­key will for­ev­er be off the back of the JLP.
If he los­es, it will be because of the scan­dals that occurred on his watch and that’s it.
If on the oth­er hand, the PNP’s Peter Phillips fails to lead his par­ty to a vic­to­ry, he will be the only leader of the PNP in its his­to­ry not to have been elect­ed Prime Minister, assum­ing that he real­izes that it is his time to go and allow younger lead­ers to devel­op.

This arti­cle has been updat­ed to more accu­rate­ly speak to Dr. Phillip’s role as par­ty leader.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer police Detective cor­po­ral, busi­ness­man, free­lance writer, he is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog mike​beck​les​.com.
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al web­sites.
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