JLP predicted a big win and got it:
I don’t pay much attention to polls, but it seems the pollsters were picked up the right scent about where popular sentiment was leading. Those who questioned their qualifications ought to think hard about how they missed what the wind was blowing throughout the country.
The PM had said it would be about the thinking voter and I think he was right. Ample evidence comes in the result that substantial discernment is there in many voters’ minds.
The preliminary result was JLP 49 seats, PNP 14, on the back of a much lower turnout than in 2016, 37% against 48%:
Though it will be hard to measure, many will put the low turnout down to the ‘COVID effect’ that made many fearful for their health and did not venture to the polling stations.
The full recount to finalize the results takes place today.
42 seats would give a 2/3 majority and that is something that people will be focusing on as the new administration takes office, and how it will be used.
PNP were graceful in accepting defeat, but also are in shock at how fulsome it was:
The country is now mainly green, and it’s not because of ample rain during August:
The PM, Andrew Holness, held his seat by more votes, emphasising that lower turnout overall was carrying a huge wave of support for him and his party:
Big upsets were many for the PNP, and some on the back of strong showing by women opponents. The most stunning of these defeats was of Peter Bunting in Manchester Central, by Rhoda Crawford. I’m not sure where that leaves his campaign claim that his coil was thick like dumpling:
He was joined in the loser’s column by Wykeham McNeill in Westmoreland Western, Luther Buchanan in Westmoreland Eastern, and Fenton Ferguson in St Thomas Eastern.
Beyond the personal losses were the territorial losses in areas that had long been seen as PNP strongholds. Amongst the long list of PNP introspection will be how the west was lost:
Lisa Hanna squeaked in by 14 votes.
Dayton Campbell is now gone. Many disliked his bombastic style and he put his own head on a pike with his performance during the national debates.
After Peter Phillips threw confusion into the wind by announcing he would resign as leader and from politics if he lost, though he kept his seat, eyes are now on a successor, and with Bunting gone, are eyes now on Julian Robinson? He’s been admired by many, not just partisans, and tends to be a voice of reason and clarity within a sea of bombast and fringe lunacy.
PNP will have to reflect again on how it missed the point of popular connection so badly, and that using a platform that spoke to caring for people it started with a ‘bag of tricks’ that few couldn’t see through for hype over substance. In that reflection, it’ll need to understand how a party with some of the best thinkers in the current Jamaican political sphere, it allowed good ideas to be overtaken by things that were not far from nonsense. I, personally, see a common thread there, and it stems from a politician who’s labelled himself a trickster.
A Jamaican doctor friend, who hails from the west sent me a message this morning: “A decisive victory for the JLP, now the concentration should shift to abating the Coronavirus, the economic crisis and reducing crime and violence.” I think many would support that, along with the hope that the greatly increased mandate—which gives the new government a 2/3 majority that could effect Constitutional change—will use that power humbly, not with arrogance.