JLP INCREASES ITS MAJORITY IN JAMAICA ELECTIONS
The Jamaica Labour Party has retained power with a commanding 14 seat majority in Thursday’s general election.
Leader of the victorious Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Prime Minister Andrew Holness, increased his party’s hold on power by adding 16 seats to the 32 won in 2016.
The JLP now controls 49 seats in Jamaica’s 63-seat parliament, seen as an affirmation of his leadership after the 2016 election when it won by a one-seat margin - the narrowest majority in the country’s political history.
However the turnout this year was just 37% - one of the lowest ever in Jamaica’s general elections.
The leader of the opposition People’s National Party(PNP), veteran politician Peter Phillips was unable to swing support back to his party which fared considerably worse than other recent polls.
Prime Minister Holness had called the polls six months ahead of the deadline of February next year.
The ruling party campaigned on a record of economic management and handling the COVID-19 public health crisis and its knock-on effects on the economy.
Jamaica's economy which has been experiencing an improvement under Holness’ JLP stewardship after of years of decline, has seen those gains halted, and in some instances reversed as the coronavirus has taken hold.
There has been a surge in cases and deaths recently as restrictions were relaxed.
The PNP under former Finance Minister Peter Phillips attacked the JLP’s economic policies claiming that any benefits realised were not filtering down through the society, parts of which are faced with persistent crippling poverty.
He also accused the government of corruption and failing to control a spiralling crime rate.
The PNP also campaigned on what it felt was the JLP government’s slow response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, Jamaica has recorded over 2,800 cases of the disease with 27 deaths.
In the past few days, another 140 new cases have been confirmed including three deaths.
It is felt that the COVID-19 pandemic might have kept many voters away from the polls resulting in the low turnout.