US Jamaicans give mixed reactions to election results
BY HAROLD G BAILEY Sunday Observer writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, January 02, 2012
NEW YORK, United States — As with their compatriots in their homeland, there has been mixed reactions among Jamaican nationals here to the results of Thursday's general election which saw the defeat of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration.
Many have also expressed surprise at the margin of victory which the People's National Party (PNP) secured and the loss suffered by some of the big names in politics.
But checks by the Sunday Observer here have revealed a guarded sense of expectation of the new Government among Jamaicans. There is a feeling that the new administration will need to take some tough decisions to address the many challenges facing the country.
Claudia Pyke, who heads the New York Chapter of G2K, the young professional arm of the JLP, expressed the hope that economic growth and security will be among the main priorities of the new Government.
"We need to put all negatives behind us and work for the development of Jamaica, now that the Jamaican people have made their choice," she said.
She was among those who expressed surprise at the landslide victory of the PNP over the JLP.
Pyke said she is expecting that the Portia Simpson Miller-led Government will address the concerns of the diaspora.
Echoing similar sentiments, Roy Davidson, who heads the powerful National Association of Jamaica and Supportive Organisations (NAJASO), said that body was "ready to work with the new administration, especially in those areas where the diaspora has the expertise to assist the development process".
In his response, Irwin Clare, who will assume the leadership of the Jamaica Diaspora Board for the North East United States this month, congratulated Simpson Miller and the PNP on winning the election. He warned, however, that those who are charged with governing "must remain cognizant of the fact that corruption cannot be part of the governance process".
He listed the corruption issue as one of his top concerns and urged the new administration to make "its eradication, a top priority".
Clare also wants to see a reform of the justice system "to reflect a situation where all feel, and are equal under the law".
Desmond Clarke, who presides over the Jamaica National Movement (JNM) said he thinks the new Government will do well, given the fact "the PNP seems to have demonstrated that it understands the situation facing the country".
Like others interviewed, Clarke expressed surprise at the wide margin of victory by the PNP.
Pennsylvania-based Jamaican Dorothy Snipe, an accounting clerk, said the country should now settle down and "work together for the betterment of everyone".
Meanwhile, Cornel Henry, a Connecticut-based Jamaican businessman, said while he anticipated the result of the election, he did not anticipate the margin of victory.
Audley Sylvester, the Jamaican-born Brooklyn-based businessman who in previous interviews had expressed the hope for a more serious effort by Government at reducing crime, said he hoped the incoming administration will focus a great deal of its attention on this issue.
He also wants to see the new Government "keep and build on those policies which the outgoing administration had implemented and which are sound policies that can move the country forward".
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