#COVID19Chronicles-157: September 16, 2020–Parliamentary governance structures becoming clear

Parliamentary life continues to take shape, not without a few fanfares in the distance. The Opposition party in the House of Representatives will be led by Dr. Peter Phillips (PNP president) till a successor is named; he submitted the list of Opposition senators.

Phillips is, however, being assailed by the youth wing of the party, PNPYO, whose president, and failed candidate in the September 3 election, Krystal Tomlinson, issued him a 30-day ultimatum, and offered a slate of 8 senators—which Phillips rejected! The letter stresses ‘We must change or die’.

However, the letter has been surrounded by some farcical cinema: it was claimed to be a draft (but it was signed); it was allegedly issued in error (but was leaked to the media); the PNPYO president included herself amongst the proposed senators (seemingly lacking in humility?).

Nationwide90FM reported ‘In the meantime, PNPYO General Secretary, Dexroy Martin, is confirming that the leaked letter was written by the PNPYO to Dr. Peter Phillips. But, he says the letter was only a draft.’

The ‘corrected’ version will then be released to the public; he claimed the letter was not an ultimatum to DR. Phillips, and presumably the ‘correct’ version will have removed any such suggestions.

I must say this episode runs a close second to the ‘drama’ around the issuance of the PNP election manifesto, which was ridiculed for being changed so often as to leave the public bewildered which version was correct. I hope this is not a trend.

In other prosaic business, Mrs. Juliet Holness, the PM’s wife, was voted Deputy Speaker in the House of Representatives:

In the Senate, Tom Tavares-Finson was reelected President, and Charles Sinclair, a former mayor of Montego Bay, elected deputy president.

The House has its first sitting:

Women are filling more seats in both houses:

The magisterial recount of the tied vote in Westmoreland Eastern (not an oxymoron?) went to Daniel Lawrence (JLP), to return the overall winning margin to 49:14:

The Gleaner reported: ‘In court Tuesday, Lawrence lost one vote that was marked with a tick, rather than a cross or an X, but managed to finish with 28 of the 107 previously rejected ballots by the Electoral Office of Jamaica. Buchanan tallied 17 and MiKa’el one. The others were ruled as properly disposed of by the court…Twenty-one spoilt ballots were accounted for in the four-day magisterial recount.’

Two other recounts concluded in time for the reopening of Parliament; one confirmed the preliminary results. Hugh Graham (PNP) won in St. Catherine NW.

He wasted no time is ‘hailing’ his victory in his ‘From NUTTEN to Member of Parliament’ orange Lamborghini; the video archives will treasure this for the ages:

It’s worth recalling the car had raised eyebrows last year, with questions about how it had been funded:

Rhoda May Crawford (JLP) won in Manchester Central, sensationally ousting PNP deputy president and leadership aspirant, Peter Bunting, after Rohan Chung (Independent; 49 votes) had called for a recount!

However, Chung is not done and plans to use his constitutional right to take the count to the Supreme Court; he already has a bill of some J$2.3 million to pay for the first recount (what I term ‘cha-Chung’), after which he actually lost 1 vote. That’s not how ‘vote buying’ is supposed to work!

Two other recounts are still underway in St. Ann SE and Clarendon NW.

“We’ve only just begun” the song goes…

Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)