Delano Franklyn | Analysing the 15 seats that PNP lost to JLP
The People’s National Party (PNP) lost 15 constituencies, which it won in the 2016 election, to the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the 2020 election.
As a consequence, some well-known figures in the PNP, such as Dr Wykeham McNeill, Peter Bunting, Dr Fenton Ferguson, Dr Dayton Campbell, Richard Azan and Horace Dalley are no longer in Parliament.
Using the numbers from the first count after the 2020 election, the table below lists the 15 constituencies and the number of votes by which each of the 15 PNP candidates lost their seat and compares it with the performance of the JLP, in terms of vote count.
NAME PNP 2016 PNP 2020 MARGIN JLP 2016 JLP 2020 MARGIN
Dr Dayton Campbell 8,461 5,783 -2,678 8,051 7,821 -230
Peter Bunting 9,376 7,112 -2,264 8,204 8,097 -107
Dr Wykeham McNeill 6,679 5,069 -1,610 5,186 6,116 930
Dwayne Vaz 9,978 7,200 -2,778 8,847 8,428 -419
Luther Buchanan 6,675 4,851 -1,824 3,802 4,862 1,060
Colin Fagan 7,553 5,735 -1,818 7,025 6,829 -196
Imani Duncan Pryce/
Ronald Thwaites 5,190 4,147 -1,043 3,961 4,623 662
Fenton Ferguson 8,881 5,392 -3,489 7,220 6,126 -1,094
Victor Wright 9,611 6,771 -2,840 9,162 8,508 -654
Ian Hayles 6,829 4,987 -1,84 2 5,358 6,008 650
Evon Redman 7,733 6,524 -1,209 6,209 7,029 820
Michael Stewart 8,398 5,916 -2,482 7,222 6,810 -412
Richard Azan 8,135 6,009 -2,126 7,191 6,124 -1,067
Horace Dalley 7,049 5,322 -1,727 6,317 6,032 -285
Dr Walton Small 4,278 5,275 -1,003 6,216 7,223 1,007
Dr Dayton Campbell in St Ann North Western got 2,678 votes fewer than in 2016. The JLP also got 230 fewer votes in 2020 than it did in 2016, but was still able to defeat him. The independent candidate, Peter Shand, received 763 votes, but if Shand’s votes were added to Campbell, it would not have been sufficient to overcome the JLP, Campbell having lost the seat by 2,044 votes.
Peter Bunting in Manchester Central, and who challenged Dr Peter Phillips for the position of president of the PNP a few months ago, received 2,264 fewer votes in 2020 than in 2016. The JLP got 107 fewer votes in 2020 than in 2016 but was still able to defeat Bunting. The defeat of Peter Bunting by a relatively unknown JLP candidate is cause for concern, as hitherto he had defeated much stronger opponents. Danville Walker in 2016 comes readily to mind.
Dr Wykeham McNeill in Westmoreland Western, an upstanding vice-president of the PNP, received 1,610 fewer votes in 2020 than in 2016. However, the JLP picked up 930 more votes in 2020 than in 2016, to defeat him. This can be read as the JLP pulling votes from some of Dr McNeill’s traditional voters.
A similar situation obtains for Luther Buchanan in Eastern Westmoreland, who took over the seat from former president of the party, P.J. Patterson. Buchanan received 1,824 fewer votes in 2020 compared to 2016. However, the JLP gained 1,060 more votes in 2020 than in 2016, which could mean that the JLP pulled a significant number of votes from Buchanan’s base. This seat was so tightly contested that it was the subject of a magisterial recount.
The situation for Dwayne Vaz in Westmoreland Central, who took over the seat from the late Roger Clarke, is a bit different. Although he, Vaz, got 2,778 fewer votes in 2020 than in 2016, the JLP did not increase its number, as it got 419 fewer votes in 2020 when compared to 2016.
The defeat of McNeill, Buchanan and Vaz means that the JLP controls all the seats in Westmoreland. This is so for the first time since 1980, when under the leadership of the late prime minister, Edward Seaga, the JLP won all the constituencies in that parish.
Colin Fagan in St Catherine South East got 1,818 fewer votes in 2020 than in 2016. The JLP got 126 votes fewer in 2020 when compared to 2016.
In Central Kingston, previously held by Ronald Thwaites, with Imani Duncan Price being the candidate, the PNP got 1,043 fewer votes in 2020 than in 2016. The JLP, however, gained 662 more votes in 2020 than in 2016. Kingston Central is the constituency of former prime minister, Michael Manley, and had come to be known as a stronghold of the PNP.
Dr Fenton Ferguson in St Thomas Eastern, who had won the constituency six times previously, experienced a massive 3,489 decrease in votes in 2020 when compared to 2016. The JLP also experienced a signification reduction in votes, as it received 1,094 fewer votes in 2020 than in 2016. The defeat of Dr Ferguson means that the parish of St Thomas is back in the column of the JLP for the first time since 1980.
Victor Wright in North Trelawny got 2,840 fewer votes in 2020 than in 2016. The JLP also had a drop in votes, picking up 654 fewer in 2020 than in 2016. North Trelawny the seat, previously held by Desmond Leakey, having now been lost, results in the JLP being the dominant entity in that parish.
Ian Hayles in Western Hanover had a drop in votes of 1,842 in 2020 compared to 2016. The JLPs performance was a bit better in vote count as it got 650 more votes in 2020 than in 2016.
Evon Redman previously held the St Elizabeth North East constituency but was replaced by Basil Waite as the PNP candidate in 2020. The votes for Waite declined by 1,209 votes in 2020 compared to what Redman got in 2016. The JLP increased its 2020 numbers by 820 votes compared to 2016. The JLP candidate, Delroy Slowley, move from being a supporter of the PNP to that of an independent candidate, to becoming a successful JLP candidate.
Michael Stewart in Manchester Southern, who took over from Michael Peart, had 2,482 fewer persons voting for him in 2020 than in 2016. The JLP also had a dip in its numbers, as 412 fewer persons voted for the JLP candidate in 2020 than in 2016.
Richard Azan in North West Clarendon got 2,126 fewer votes in 2020 than 2016. The JLP also had a substantial drop in its numbers as 1,067 fewer voters came out for the party in 2020 as against 2016. This constituency is now the subject of a magisterial recount.
Horace Dalley in Clarendon Northern, the deputy chairman of the PNP, received 1,727 fewer votes in 2020 than in 2016. The JLP’s candidate got 285 fewer votes in 2020 than in 2016.
In South St James, Derrick Kellier held constituency in which Dr Walton Small was the candidate, the PNP got 1,003 fewer votes in 2020 compared to 2016, while the JLP increased its number of votes by 1,007 in 2020 as against 2016.
There are some observations which can be made from the 15 seats that went to the JLP.
1. All 15 PNP candidates had a significant decrease in votes in 2020 when compared to 2016. This ranges from a low of 1,003 in South St James to a high of 3,489 in St Thomas Eastern.
2. Each PNP candidate in the 15 constituencies must do an analysis as to why the voters turned out for them in 2016 but did not do so in 2020. This is so especially in constituencies such as those of Dr Dayton Campbell, Peter Bunting, Dwayne Vaz, Dr Fenton Ferguson, Victor Wright, Michael Stewart and Richard Azan, where in each case voter turnout dropped by more than 2,000.
3. Nine JLP candidates got fewer votes in 2020 than in 2016 and were still able to defeat their PNP opponents. This is so in the case of Dr Dayton Campbell, Peter Bunting, Dwayne Vaz, Colin Fagan, Dr Fenton Ferguson, Victor Wright, Michael Stewart, Richard Azan and Horace Dalley.
4. Of the six JLP candidates who polled more votes in 2020 than in 2016, the margin in each case, except for South St James, fell way below the number of votes for their PNP opponents in 2020. This is so in the case of Dr Wykeham McNeill, Luther Buchanan, Imani Duncan-Price, Ian Hayles, and Basil Waite.
Finally, if nine of the JLP candidates who won got fewer votes in 2020 than in 2016, and of the other six, except for one, the margins were less than the fall-off for the PNP, it can be concluded that the PNP lost the majority of the 15 seats because their usual voters stayed home.
- Delano Franklyn is attorney-at-law and former PNP senator and minister of state. Send feedback to email@example.com.