Last lap - JLP, PNP wrap up campaigning

Holness, Simpson Miller make final pitch to voters

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

JAMAICA’S two major political parties wrapped up campaign activities last night as they prepare for do battle in the nation’s 16th general election tomorrow.

In addition to a full day free of election campaigning on the ground today, both the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) did their last bit of newspaper advertising yesterday and were expected to end radio and television adverts at midnight last night, in keeping with a voluntary agreement with media owners and the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica.

Public opinion polls also had their last run yesterday, as part of the agreement. Also, no new campaign advertisements are to appear on the Internet. However, the cessation order does not extend to editorials, interviews or cartoons.

Prime Minister and JLP Leader Andrew Holness, in bringing the curtains down on his campaign, told Jamaicans in a paid political broadcast last night that they should consider the country’s future as well as that of their children when they go to the polls to elect a new government tomorrow.

In a national broadcast which was apparently intended to woo the uncommitted, Holness declared that his party was "concerned and sensitive" to the problem of a lack of jobs and spoke of several new investments that will create thousands of jobs in the coming months. These include the reopening of two hotels, a new call centre that will offer 1,000 jobs next year, the reopening of bauxite plants closed during the recession, and the construction of a 360MW electricity generation plan, which by itself is expected to create 2,000 jobs.

Holness also said that people are being trained and programmes are being finalised to create jobs in the shipping sector as the country takes advantage of the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015.

"These are not crash programmes. These are real jobs," he said in an obvious jab the PNP’s proposed Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme.

He also said that since being elected, the JLP Government has provided more than 90,000 jobs through overseas employment and other investments, and more than 80,000 HEART trainees have found employment.

"The JLP has taken the country through some tough times, and we give God thanks that we have been able to prevent the type of instability that wealthier countries have experienced," he said. "Jamaicans are now safer, our economy is stable with a solid foundation for job creation. As we approach our 50th anniversary of Independence, with your support, we can create a Jamaica of which we all can be proud."

At the same time, PNP President Portia Simpson Miller took her road tour to West Central St Andrew where the party’s candidate Patrick Roberts is going up against the prime minister, followed by a tour of her own South West St Andrew constituency.

"I can feel the wind of change... so see you when we celebrate on Thursday night," said Simpson Miller who had earlier toured western Jamaica to boost support for some of her candidates. She said that she was heartened by the rivalry between the "sea of orange and the sprinkling of green" she saw as the motorcade went by.

"I want to say to the young people, don’t give up on your hopes, dreams and aspirations because help is on the way," Simpson Miller told supporters, while questioning Holness’ ability to run the country.

Jamaicans, she said, should be careful of putting their fate in the hands of a leader who has to go through a learning curve when the country is in crisis. "I don’t know if you would put your children in a car with someone who has just learned to drive," she quipped.




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