Jamaica: cómoda victoria del oficialismo en las elecciones con más baja participación de la historia
Cómoda victoria del partido en el poder en elecciones en Jamaica
El Partido Laborista en el poder en Jamaica fue el contundente vencedor de las elecciones generales del jueves, con más de tres cuartos de los escaños del Parlamento, pese a una participación muy baja debido al coronavirus.
No obstante, el virus parecía la última de las preocupaciones de sus partidarios, quienes vestidos de verde, el color del partido, celebraron su victoria en las calles sin mascarilla y sin respetar las distancias.
El primer ministro, Andrew Holness, recurrió al vídeo para pronunciar su discurso de victoria desde una sala donde solo algunos miembros de su equipo y periodistas estaban presentes.
El Partido Laborista tendrá 49 de los 63 escaños del Parlamento, lo que supone una derrota contundente del Partido Nacional del Pueblo, que había enfocado su campaña en la lucha contra la corrupción y la criminalidad así como en la mala gestión, según ellos, de la crisis provocada por el covid-19.
La decisión del primer ministro de convocar elecciones anticipadas, mientras el país registra un pico de casos de virus en la últimas semanas, fue muy criticada por la oposición, que recordó que es “muy difícil” en Jamaica “contener el entusiasmo que rodea a las campañas electorales”.
Pese a las numerosas medidas de seguridad (tomar la temperatura, gel, mascarillas y distancias) que se habían adoptado en los colegios electorales, solo el 37% de los electores acudió a las urnas, el porcentaje más bajo registrado históricamente. En los comicios precedentes la participación se elevó al 48%.
Jamaica ha registrado cerca de 3.000 casos de coronavirus y 29 muertos, según cifras oficiales.
Carnage! JLP retains power in landslide
Rejection, carnage and wipe out!
These are but some of the words being used to describe the massive landslide victory Prime Minister-elect Andrew Holness and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) inflicted on the People’s National Party (PNP) led by Peter Phillips on Thursday as Jamaicans voted in the country’s 18th parliamentary elections in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It marked the first time the JLP was recording back-to-back wins in a contested general election since 1967 when it retained power, having won in 1962.
The mauling left a string of PNP bigwigs in its wake as electors dumped the likes of Peter Bunting, Dr Wykeham McNeill, Horace Dalley, Dr Fenton Ferguson, Richard Azan, Ian Hayles, Luther Buchanan and Dr Dayton Campbell, wiping out a significant part of the Opposition’s shadow cabinet.
The preliminary count showed the JLP winning 49 seats to the PNP’s 14 and came as no surprise as public opinions polls had predicted a big win for the JLP.
The PNP is now left in a quandary as its looks to rebound quickly from the trashing. The 70-year-old Phillips told reporters on Thursday that he would retire if he lost the elections. However, several of those in the second-tiered leadership who were in line to take over, including Bunting, also lost their seats.
The 14 Members of Parliament-elect on the Opposition benches include newcomer Lothian Cousins who won in South West Clarendon. By contrast, the JLP will have at least 14 first time Members of Parliament including Dr Michele Charles in Eastern St Thomas, Kerensia Morrison in North East St Catherine, Donovan Williams in Central Kingston, Krystal Lee in North West St Ann, Phillip Henriques in North West Clarendon, Morlan Wilson in Western Westmoreland, Dwight Sibbles in North Clarendon, Nesta Morgan in North Central Clarendon and Delroy Slowley in North East St Elizabeth.
Thursday’s elections saw the lowest ever voter turnout at just 37 per cent. The JLP secured 57.1 per cent of the vote while the PNP got 42.8 per cent. Some 406, 085 electors cast their ballots for the JLP while 304,372 did so for the PNP. Opinion polls had for months signalled that the JLP would win big and, in August, political commentator Kevin O’Brien Chang told Loop News that the party was on course to win 50 seats.
In his acceptance speech from the JLP’s Belmont Road headquarters in Kingston, Holness said he was humbled by the victory which he said was “for the people of Jamaica”. He said he will not stand for corruption in his government and he also said the party that presented the better manifesto won.
The JLP had scraped home by a single seat in 2016 and Thursday’s victory is an indication of the massive swing towards the party and an endorsement of its policies.
The count of general election victories now stands at nine each for the country’s two main political parties.
Of note is that none of the 13 independents who contested the election registered a win.
It is the second time that a general election was held on September 3 and the JLP has won on both occasions. In 2007 when then Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller was forced to change the date of the election from August 27 to September 3 due to the passage of Huricane Dean, the Bruce Golding-led JLP eked out what was then the closet margin of victory at the polls by winning 31 of 60 seats.
PNP vice president Phillip Paulwell, who held on to his East Kingston and Port Royal seat, said the party will meet on Friday to discuss the loss. He told journalists that he was shocked at the margin of defeat and conceded that infighting may have played a part in the one-sided loss.
‘The victor is the people of Jamaica’ — Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has described the people of Jamaica as the true victors of today’s general elections.
He was speaking at the Jamaica Labour Party headquarters at Belmont Road in Kingston a short while ago where members of the JLP were celebrating a landslide victory in today’s election.
With 6,841 of 6,978 boxes counted at 9:10 pm, the JLP had won 35 seats compared to the PNP’s 14.
“You came out in your hundred thousands and you participated in the solemn process of democracy. You voted, you expressed yourself through the ballot,” Holness said.
Holness noted, however, that though there is cause for celebration, there is significant cause for consideration.
“There are many Jamaicans who did not participate. There are many Jamaicans who for fear of the virus decided not to come to the polls, but there are also many Jamaicans who for other reasons decided not to participate,” Holness said.
“We are very cautious in our approach to receiving this overwhelming majority. It must never be that the government that emerges from this victory takes on any characteristic of arrogance, of humility. It must never be that the government that emerges from this victory takes the people for granted in any way,” he continued.
Holness also spoke to corruption, noting that his incoming government, including new state officials, would not stand for corruption.
He further addressed the COVID pandemic, saying that the government will “continue its effective management of the COVID pandemic to keep you safe and to protect your livelihoods…Whatever we do you can rest assured, that we will keep you safe”.
Holness also disclosed that he received a call from Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips conceding, and congratulated him for his landslide win. He also encouraged supporters of the People’s National Party to join in celebrating the country’s victory.
“Do not feel dejected, join us in celebrating Jamaica’s victory. We need everyone on board to recover stronger,” Holness said.
“We will be responsible with the power that you have given to us. We will continue our good policies and we will keep Jamaica on the path to prosperity. We will usher in an era of stability on which we will grow. We will usher in an era where Jamaica can fulfil its true destiny.”
Two More COVID-19 Deaths, 74 New Cases
The Ministry of Health and Wellness is reporting that two more persons have died due to COVID-19.
Jamaica also recorded 74 new positives in the last 24 hours, pushing the tally to 2,896.
The ministry says the two latest COVID-19-related deaths are an 81-year-old woman from St Ann and a 35-year-old male from Manchester.
Both deceased had comorbidities, namely diabetes and hypertension, the ministry said.
There are now 29 COVID-19-related deaths in Jamaica.
The health ministry notes that the island has also recorded one additional case of a coincidental death of a person confirmed with SARS-CoV-2.
It says this is the case that was previously recorded as a death under investigation.
The case is a 56-year-old male from Clarendon.
Of the 74 new cases, 36 are females and 38 are males, with ages ranging from 12 to 76 years.
They have addresses in Kingston and St Andrew (25), St Catherine (14), St Thomas (5), Manchester (6), St Ann (1), St. James (1), St Elizabeth (21), and Westmoreland (1).
The health ministry says all of the new cases are under investigation.
At this time, there are 459 imported cases; 659 cases that are contacts of confirmed cases; 236 related to the workplace cluster in St Catherine; 242 local transmissions not epidemiologically linked, and 1,300 under investigation.
Some 1,587 (55%) of the total confirmed cases are females and 1,307 (45%) are males, with ages ranging from 13 days to 97 years. The sex of two of the cases is under investigation.
There are currently 1,873 active cases being monitored, including seven critically ill persons and 11 who are moderately ill, the ministry said.
Recoveries are now up to 921 or 31.8%.
Seventy-one or 2.5% of persons have returned to their countries of origin.