Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness flashes the victory sign after voting. (GP)
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KINGSTON – Prime Minister Andrew Michael Holness led his ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to its first ever consecutive victory in a general election since 1967, with a resounding victory that mirrored the win the party achieved in 1980 when it stormed to a 51-9 margin over the People’s National Party (PNP).
Preliminary results show that the JLP, which went into the elections, six months ahead of the fifth anniversary of the 2016 single seat victory, won 50 of the 63 seats in the Parliament, with Holness indicating that the task ahead is not only for the victorious JLP.
“The task ahead of us is for all of us, including the PNP and so tonight I also appeal to PNP supporters do not feel dejected, join us in celebrating Jamaica’s victory.
‘You will have a very important role to play in Jamaica’s stronger recovery and I am clear that there should not be any victimisation, any retribution; any malice in how we move away as a government. We must embrace everyone, we need everyone on board for Jamaica to recover stronger,” Holness said, adding that he had received a telephone call from PNP leader Dr Peter Phillips, conceding defeat.
Holness said the call was important since it was also very sportsmanlike and dignified, and that he had informed the 70-year-old Phillips, who has indicated he would be stepping down as Opposition Leader, that he had put up a “good fight”.
Voting here was marred by the death of a woman at one of the polling stations and Holness said he had extended condolences to her family.
The election was held in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic environment that prevented the political parties from staging their traditional campaigns including rallies and motorcades and as he delivered his thank you message to the nation in a virtual address, Holness promised that his new administration would continue to put in place policies aimed at stemming the spread of the virus that has affected 2 827 and killed 27 others.
Holness said that while he was pleased with the “large mandate” given to his party, he had also noted that many people had stayed away from voting on Thursday for several reasons, including the COVID pandemic.
Political observers note that while in 2016, there had been a 47.7 per cent turnout of voters, this year the figure could be just above 40 per cent. (CMC)