En Contexto
El 25 de febrero Jamaica celebró sus comicios generales y el candidato electo permanecerá en el cargo durante los próximos cinco años. Se escogieron 65 escaños de la Cámara de Representantes. En esta ocasión, se presentaron 152 candidatos que pertenecen al gobernante Partido Popular Nacional de Jamaica (PNP), de los opositores Partido Laborista (JLP), Movimiento Nacional Democrático y Partido Político del Pueblo, además de algunos independientes.

Andrew Holness, del hasta ahora opositor Partido Laborista de Jamaica (JLP), logró la victoria electoral que hace cinco años se le escapó frente a la ya saliente socialdemócrata Portia Simpson Miller.

“Este no es el final de un viaje, sino el comienzo del cambio en Jamaica”, dijo Holness a los seguidores que se reunieron hoy ante la sede de su partido, a los que prometió “un Gobierno diferente a lo habitual” que demostrará que “una mejor Jamaica es posible” y que “arreglará” los principales problemas sociales y económicos que afronta la isla, para hacer de ella “un país próspero”.

En unas elecciones marcadas por la escasa participación, el JLP se hizo este jueves con 33 de los 63 escaños en juego, frente a los 30 que logró el Partido Nacional Popular (PNP), liderado por Simpson Miller, la política más veterana de Jamaica a sus 70 años.

En estos comicios supervisados por observadores de la Comunidad del Caribe (Caricom) y la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA), el JLP arrebató al PNP 11 escaños respecto a los resultados de las elecciones de 2011.

Con su victoria Holness, un político conservador y de centroderecha, volverá a ser primer ministro, un cargo que ocupó brevemente cuando tenía 39 años, lo que le convirtió entonces en el primer ministro más joven de la historia de esta nación caribeña.

Holness ya accedió al poder en octubre de 2011, después de la dimisión de su predecesor, Bruce Golding, quien alegó que con su retirada quería abrir el camino a las nuevas generaciones.

El joven político, que hasta entonces era ministro de Educación, decidió adelantar las elecciones casi un año respecto al calendario previsto con el ánimo de legitimar su presencia en el cargo y ante el empeoramiento de la economía.

Tan sólo ocupó ese cargo hasta enero de 2012, cuando el Ejecutivo de Simpson Miller tomó las riendas, lo que le convirtió en el mandatario que menos tiempo ha estado en el poder en la historia de Jamaica, sólo superado por Donald Sangster, quien murió por una enfermedad en 1967 menos de dos meses después de haber sido proclamado primer ministro.

De igual forma, Simpson Miller, la única mujer que hasta el momento ha dirigido Jamaica, reconoció hoy su derrota poco después de difundirse los resultados. Le toca ahora dejar un cargo que ostentaba desde los comicios de 2011 y que también había ocupado previamente entre marzo de 2006 y septiembre de 2007.

En estos comicios, a los que estaban llamados a participar cerca de 1,8 millones de jamaicanos, estaban en juego 63 escaños y concurrían 152 candidatos, de los que 26 eran independientes o de partidos minoritarios.

Ninguno de ellos logró hacerse con un solo escaño, algo habitual en un país en el que, desde su independencia en 1962, el poder siempre ha estado ejercido por uno de los dos partidos mayoritarios.

Esta es la segunda vez en la historia de Jamaica que un partido ha perdido el poder sin encadenar dos mandatos consecutivos.

Holness tiene ante sí el reto de mantener en crecimiento la economía de un país que se teme que sea la siguiente isla del Caribe en sufrir una crisis de deuda como la que atraviesa Puerto Rico y que depende enormemente del turismo, una fuente de ingresos que se ve mermada también por su índice de violencia, uno de los más altos del mundo.

Durante la campaña electoral, la primera ministra saliente se había comprometido a continuar con la expansión de la Zona Económica Especial para aumentar las inversiones extranjeras y acelerar el programa económico centrado en el sector de la logística.

La líder del PNP, una agrupación que gobernó Jamaica entre 1989 y 2007, aseguró ser capaz de crear al menos cien mil nuevos empleos durante los próximos cinco años.

Sin embargo, finalmente los electores se decantaron por el cambio y apoyaron en mayor medida al JLP, que propone crear un consejo especial de embajadores de inversiones y potenciar las alianzas público-privadas.

Tras conocerse su victoria, el próximo primer ministro de Jamaica prometió también atajar el problema de suministro de agua potable que padece la isla, y las deficiencias de su sistema sanitario y educativo, al tiempo que se comprometió a ejercer el poder con sentido de la responsabilidad.

Aporrea

Jamaica Labour Party wins 2016 election

The Jamaica Labour Party was a short while ago declared the winner of the 2016 general election, after claiming 33 of the 63 constituency seats.

The Labourites will now form Jamaica’s new Government, after the People’s National Party only managed to win 30 constituency seats.

The December 2011 election, which resulted in the JLP being voted out of office after just one term, saw a 53 per cent turnout of electors, in which the PNP shocked the nation by capturing 42 of the 63 parliamentary seats. The remainder went to the JLP.

Today’s general election was the 17th since Universal Adult Suffrage in which Jamaicans won the right to vote in 1944 at a time when the country was still under colonial rule.

The Jamaica Labour Party has now won eight elections to the People’s National Party’s nine.

Election wins

Jamaica Labour Party

1944: 22-5-5 (PNP won five seats and independent candidates five)

1949: 17-13- 2 (PNP won 13 seats and independent candidates two)

1962: 26-19

1967: 33-20

1980: 51-9

1983: (PNP did not contest so it was 60-0)

2007: 31-29

People’s National Party

1955: 18-14

1959: 29-16

1972: 37-16

1976: 47-13

1989: 45-15

1993: 52-8

1997: 50-10

2002: 34-26

2011: 42-21


Jamaica Observer

Holness says wife fit for Cabinet

It may be left up to Juliet Holness whether she wants to sit in the new Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Cabinet or not.

Her husband Andrew Holness, the JLP leader and Prime Minister-designate, told the

Jamaica Observer last night that while she is definitely qualified to be included in the Cabinet, it would be up to her to decide whether she wants to sit in the executive.

“Of course, my wife is fit for Cabinet duties. As to whether or not she wants to be in the Cabinet, that’s another consideration”.

But Holness said he needed some time to digest what happened last night, and when he will settle on his Cabinet.

“I haven’t gotten a chance to digest it yet, but the thought is appealing,” he said about having his wife in the Parliament with him.

“My wife is my greatest supporter in everything I do. She is with me in every single thing I do. So, it would be good to have her in Parliament. But, of course, she is an independent woman, and she has won her seat in her own right. She also wants to serve, but she has latched on to supporting me in achieving some of the goals that I have and she has worked to do that as long as we have been together, and we have been together for a very long time. So, I am looking forward to having her in Parliament,” he said

– Balford Henry

Jamaica Observer

RESULTADOS GENERALES DE LAS ELECCIONES 2016

Congrats, JLP; don’t lose focus on the economic reform programme

Editorial – Jamaica Observer

Parliamentary elections the world over are usually tough contests. It was therefore not surprising that yesterday’s poll — Jamaica’s 17th since universal adult suffrage in 1944 — was a hard- fought contest.

Over the relatively short period of the campaign, a few fiery issues were raised, tempers flared, harsh words were exchanged, and feelings were hurt. But such is the nature of this ‘blood sport’. Our hope, though, is that as our democracy continues to mature from the brutal, bloody and deadly violence of the past, we will be able to conduct election campaigns with greater decorum and respect for opposing views.

To be fair, Jamaica is far along on that road, because, outside of a couple of unfortunate incidents, the country has again staged a relatively peaceful general election, a trend that has been growing since 2002.

We are encouraged by the fact that instead of the usual recourse to gimmickry, platform speeches on the hustings were dominated by at least one major policy issue — the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP’s) income tax proposal.

The proposal that anyone earning up to $1.5 million annually be exempted from income tax was just one of 10 policy positions placed on the table by the JLP. We had hoped that the others would have been subjected to greater examination, in much the same way that we wished the plans outlined in the People’s National Party (PNP) manifesto would have spurred greater discussion

The fact that we were left wanting in that hope is grounded in the last-minute release of the manifestos of both parties. That is an issue we will address at another time.

However, it was good that the campaign was focused heavily on this proposal. Vigorous debate on serious issues, we hold, is good for the country and should become the norm in our politics.

That, we believe, will assist in encouraging more Jamaicans to get involved in the political process and reduce the number of people disaffected by the way we practise our politics. For only when we see an increase in voter turnout can we speak with authority as a nation about having a truly vibrant democracy.

So, now that the voting is over, we extend our heartiest congratulations to the JLP and its leader, Mr Andrew Holness. They now have the job of uniting the country and leading the charge for greater development.

That, we accept, will not be an easy. But no one enters politics believing that their task will not be arduous.

Mr Holness must bear in mind that he, on being sworn in, will be the prime minister of all Jamaicans — a prime minister who needs to convince those who did not vote for him and his party that he is worthy of the office.

To the PNP we say congrats on a hard-fought campaign. They now have the task of keeping the Government on its toes. The final sea count suggests that they still enjoy significant support throughout the country.

Now, we all should settle down very quickly so as not to lose our focus on the economic reform programme endorsed by the International Monetary Fund. We are comforted that the JLP had declared that if they won they would continue the IMF programme.

In all of this, every single Jamaican has a duty to respect the election results, because it is the will of the majority. We all must bear in mind that this is neither PNP nor JLP country. This is Jamaica, land we love.

Jamaica Observer