The results are in and the Andrew Holness lead JLP have been declared the winner of JA Elections 2016. The people of Jamaica have exercised their civic duty (actively or passively) and the preliminary results favour the JLP to form the next Government of Jamaica. Even though this was a closely contested election, albeit with the lowest voter turn out in history (47.72% of registered voters), we can all be satisfied that it was genuinely free and fair. More needs to be done by all political representatives however, to interest and educate a greater cross section of society in the electoral process if we are to have a healthy democracy. The slim margin of victory attained by the JLP, is similar to the results of 2007 (although it’s much slimmer now) with Bruce Golding at the helm of the JLP, which broke the PNP’s 18 year reign. With this recent win by the JLP, is there a trend now beginning to start between the JLP and the PNP?
History Repeating Itself?
During the 2007 election campaign, the JLP campaigned on change, better governance and jobs for the unemployed. The PNP, who enjoyed an 18 year reign up to that point on the other hand, ran their campaign on a track record of infrastructural improvements and their stewardship of the economy (sound familiar). The campaign of change however, was decided as the better campaign by the electorate and the JLP was given the mandate in 2007. Shortly thereafter however, the Global Recession occurred, throwing all economies into a tail spin including Jamaica’s. This condition forced the JLP government into seeking financial assistance from the IMF. The agreement brought about the Jamaica Debt exchange and austerity economics, which shelved most of the plans that the JLP government intended to implement. Added to this was the military incursion into Tivoli to arrest Christopher Dudus Coke and the Manatt Phelps and Phillips inquiry which followed shortly thereafter. This put us in a negative light internationally and due to pressure from sections of society locally, Bruce Golding had to step down as Prime Minister, giving the nod to Andrew Holness to fill the void. The problems however kept on coming as the IMF program was in jeopardy due to the Finance Minister Audley Shaw, not being able to pass the IMF tests which reflected badly on us internationally and resulted in the country’s economy being perceived negatively by rating agencies. This as well as Mr. Holness’ “Bitter Medicine” speech, curtailed his reign in 2011 and ushered in Portia Simpson Miller of the PNP by a landslide majority, to form the Government.
History In The Making
Now that the JLP has regained the confidence of the people to deal with the country’s affairs, the global financial economy is on the recovery and in a better place than it was in 2007. Jamaica’s economy is also in a better place as well and continues to improve (although our pockets are yet to realize this). Despite these improved conditions, there still is a lot of work to be done in order to continue the progress and improve the lives of Jamaicans. We Jamaicans have sacrificed a lot in order to improve Jamaica’s economy and cannot afford for the sacrifices to be in vain. Andrew Holness and the JLP Government have a huge responsiblity to make all these sacrifices worth it. For the good of the country, I pray that he is successful this time around and will be able to bring prosperity to the people of Jamaica.