Now we must face the future as a united people

Now we must face the future as a united people

Monday, September 07, 2020

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Dear Editor,
There is no doubt that the Andrew Holness-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) must be congratulated on a massive election victory. However, what is now important is where we go as a country over the next few years, which are going to be very rough on everyone.

First of all, we need to analyse the situation carefully to understand that a combination of multiple factors led to this victory, including:

• The polls showed a massive swing away from the People's National Party (PNP) and positive support for the JLP and predicted a JLP win;

• The JLP as incumbents were able to spend public funds in key areas and had a very good PR campaign leading up to and during the short campaign which convinced many people they were doing an excellent job;

• Marginal constituencies were targeted and spending convinced many that voting for the JLP or not voting for the PNP was the correct decision;

• Voter turnout was only 37 per cent which was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and bad weather on the day of the polls;

• The PNP messages were not very positive and uplifting enough to galvanise massive support.

The fact is that the circumstances created a “perfect storm” which led to a massive JLP victory at the polls, and now that the election is behind us we need to examine where we are and what is important in terms of where we go next in rebuilding Jamaica. Three critical elements are:

• The pandemic is now taking serious root and yesterday, out of 351 people tested, 60 were positive, which is just over 17 per cent of those tested. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has indicated that community spread of the disease has taken off, so we must adhere to protocols and treat everyone as having COVID-19.

• The economy, which was struggling before in spite of the positive PR, has suffered major setbacks, particularly in tourism, which is a major plank of our GDP.

• Corruption, which is a major blight on sustainable growth and development, has not been seriously addressed and will have to be prevented in future if we are to have a chance to see progress and prosperity for all.

Let us all look forward as a united people to supporting the new Government in building back Jamaica. However, due to the size of the majority, we must be vigilant in ensuring that corruption does not continue into the future, particularly in this difficult period we are about to face.

Robert Stephens

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