Election results 'a shocker' to many Jamaicans in US

Observer writer

Monday, September 07, 2020

NEW YORK, United States — Jamaicans across the United States have reacted with shock over the results of last Thursday's general election in which the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) battered the Opposition People's National Party (PNP).

The general consensus among those who spoke to the Jamaica Observer was surprise over the margin of the victory — initially 49 for the JLP to 14 for the PNP — as well as the defeat of some PNP front line leaders.

The PNP picked up a 15th seat after the returning officer for the Eastern Westmoreland constituency pulled Luther Buchanan's name out of a box to break the 4,387 tie found by the official count.

“It, the margin of victory, was a huge surprise,” Florida-based Wayne Golding, a top member of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council, said of the election outcome. “This is also the view of the majority of Jamaicans to whom I have spoken,” he added.

He said there was also some concern that the lopsided result could harm the democratic process, as the Opposition may prove to be weak.

Golding believed, however, that that could be avoided if the necessary checks and balances are observed.

Sadie Campbell, who heads the PNP-affiliated Jamaica Progressive League, said she was not “overly surprised” at the PNP defeat but rather at how many seats the party lost and some of those in the leadership who were defeated.

She said she did not think that the PNP was properly prepared for the polls as it seemed that the rift which existed following the bruising leadership contest last year had not been healed.

The result was one that Patrick Callum, who heads the New York Chapter of G2K, the young professional arm of the JLP, welcomed. He pointed to the number of members of the movement who contested and won seats in the elections.

Callum said he was also “proud of how peaceful the election was conducted”.

And the president of the Ex-Correctional Officers Association of Jamaica, a Brooklyn-based non-profit, Ronnie Hammick said the results, though surprising from the perspective of the number of seats won by the ruling party, meant that the Jamaican people had made their choice.

He said the Government now needed to ensure that it delivered for the Jamaican people.

Some people reacted with shock at the results particularly as it relates to the defeat of heavyweights such as Peter Bunting, Dr Wykeham McNeil, Dr Fenton Ferguson and the razor-thin margin of victory by the much-loved Lisa Hanna.

Outside the popular Grey Dolphin Restaurant and Lounge in Queens, Friday, two men who shared that they hail from the inner-city community of Arnett “Jungle” Gardens in the Corporate Area, lamented the loss by the PNP over drinks and a meal.

They described the result as not only surprising but as “a real shocker”.

Meanwhile, commenting on the resignation of Dr Peter Phillips as PNP president, Campbell said the veteran politician “has served the Jamaican people well and with a great deal of integrity and competence”.

She said the party would need to return to the drawing board quickly and rebuild to regain the trust of the Jamaican people. Regarding the concerns of some in the Diaspora in respect of the need for a strong Opposition, Golding said he was not worried, arguing that the country had been in similar situation before, but had recovered and kept our democracy intact.



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