PM Holness Announced September Elections
By Deon Clarke | Associate Writer
Today, August 11, 2020 is the day that most Jamaicans can’t keep still in their seats – the politically- minded ones of course.
It is the day that most were anticipating the announcement of the date of the general elections. For the past few weeks the prime minister the most honourable Andrew Holness has been hinting that the time will be soon but he is first focusing on rebuilding the economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some persons were looking forward to the announcement last Sunday afternoon at a meeting in Montego Bay as he toured Western Jamaica but he said “soon”. So naturally there were a lot speculations that the announcement will be in parliament on Tuesday August 11, 2020.
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He was visibly absent from the first session of parliament today and I must admit I was a bit disappointed when I did not see him.
I thought “ok, so no announcement today, but where could he be”? But to my surprise he appeared and when I saw him in those “green desert clarks” shoes, I knew this was the day.
After all, he did tell us to look out for those shoes. The suspense was almost unbearable and the prime minister did not disappoint.
Firstly, a unanimous vote by both political parties vote to end the states of emergencies in the country as of August 17, 2020 was conducted.
He announced nomination date to be Tuesday, August 18, 2020. And for the grand finale, general election date to be September 3, 2020. The the prime minister requested of the Governor General to have parliament dissolved as of August 13, 2020.
Historically, this is the first election to be announced in parliament. On other occasions, this grand announcement would have been announced on a political platform meeting with cheering mass supporters.
Nevertheless, understandably, with Covid-19 and the limitations of mass gatherings would be a major contributing factor in this decision. Since Universal Adult Suffrage in 1944, this would be Jamaica’s 18th general election.
Now, the big question on everybody’s mind is “how do you campaign for elections during the Covid-19 pandemic?".
This is a critical issue as this announcement comes on the heels of a spike in Covid-19 cases in the island. As recent as Monday, August 10, 2020, there were 1031 confirmed cases in the island and 14 deaths.
The political machinery will be rolling out in high gear. The prime minister has pleaded for persons to continue to practice social distancing, wear masks, and take all necessary precautions – but will they adhere?
Campaigning will certainly be a challenge with the usual door to door strategies. Activists will certainly have to get creative. Not, only that – it will take a lot of discipline to get through this unprecedented election process.
There are currently four political parties in Jamaica, the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), the People's National Party (PNP), The United Independents' Congress and the Jamaica Progressive Party, recently registered.
The two major political parties in Jamaica however are the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) led by prime minister Andrew Holness and the People’s National Party (PNP) led by Opposition leader Peter Philips.
You will find that the colours associated with these parties are prominently displayed during the campaigns all over the country. Green for the JLP and Orange for the PNP.
Not only the colours, but there are also signs such as a folded fist for the PNP who call themselves "Power" or comrades and two fingers (right index and middle) for the JLP who call themselves "shower".
Of course there will also be one or two independent candidates. All will potentially compete for the coveted 63 available seats in the house of parliament.
Who will win? It’s certainly an exciting time; lots of buzz, colours, flags, and even honking horns as it gets closer to the election date.
Only this time around there is the novel Covid-19 coronavirus.! There’s a lot of uncertainties regarding protocols and how this will all work, but discipline will certainly be a key factor in this highly anticipated event.
And there will be more, certainly, this is Jamaica; there will be a lot more in the political arena as we get closer to September 3, 2020. Stay tuned.
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