Wed | Feb 19, 2020

Mark Wignall | The PNP needs assistance…now!

Published:Sunday | January 19, 2020 | 12:31 AM

One has only to move among people at street level to know where they are politically. As long as one can ensure that the views of both political bubbles are taken into consideration, in Jamaica right now one can taste the bare singe of the burn on politics. The People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) are going to do battle.

And only one can win. Early poll results via Nationwide/BlueDot point to what the normal man and woman at street level and in fancy, uptown areas are seeing and thinking. To those people, the PNP, under the leadership of Dr Peter Phillips, is hardly energising any special part of their brain cells.

The poll results are very unkind to the PNP, but, then again, a poll is never designed to please any one side or damage the political prospects of those supporting the other side.

Based on my personal forays among many Jamaicans at varying social levels, the poll results have been capturing the reality of what people are thinking.

When respondents were asked to judge the person who would do the best job of running the economy, those who said Andrew Holness were double those who said Phillips. Even without digging into these present poll numbers, all it takes is for someone to take a walk along our lanes, avenues, main roads, and goat tracks to hear what the people are saying politically.


The very fact that twice the number of people said Andrew Holness would do a better job of running Jamaica’s economy than they said Peter Phillips, is directly related to their judgment of the prospect of Phillips taking political power at the next general election.

In other words, if we, the potential voters, do not see him as having a ghost of a chance of winning in 2020, how, therefore, can we even think of him running the economy? What it means is that the respondents in that poll have, basically, locked out Peter Phillips from their mind.

Many people would not know that at the formation of the PNP in 1938, one name that was considered for it was the Jamaica Labour Party. At this time, I am certain that a few of my friends in the PNP are finding reason to be envious of the JLP, if not actually wishing for its name.

In the next few months, there will be many polls, and it is my prediction that most of those poll results will drive perplexity into the vitals of the PNP.

“The people surrounding him are pure yes men telling him s…,” a well-known PNP political activist told me a few days ago. “If I go there to tell the leader what he needs to hear, there are two or three telling him what they believe he wants to hear. And that is what they do, fulling up his ears wid a lot of crap.”

The judgment of corruption has failed to move the needle in any negative direction for the ruling JLP. This is not puzzling, as many may think, based on the scandals that have beset this JLP administration. My observation over many years is that voters and potential voters know that the system is saturated with corrupt people, but worse, systemic corruption.

So those voters know that both the JLP and the PNP are deeply connected to corruption, but in the present judgment, those voters are more inclined to believe in the JLP’s ability to navigate the corrupted system.


“Dem nuh have nuh money and nuh energy, and a dat dem want use and win? Idiot business dat,” said a 57-year-old vendor I have known for quite some time. And she is a strong PNP supporter-voter.

I know of two other polls being taken at this time, and that tells me that the JLP is in the mode where its batteries are being topped up and its machinery is being lubricated.

One of the polls has indicated some of what the BlueDot one has shown.

“Wi know it before wi commissioned it,” said a brethren.

He is a PNP MP and he has connections with big money. In fact, he was able to convince one of his big-money friends to commission the poll.

“So, you are prepared to tell me which entity is conducting the poll, but the few results you have shown me cannot be encouraging for your party. So why have you shown them to me?” I queried.

“Listen, you know me and you also know that although I am solidly PNP, I believe that Dr Peter Phillips is an absolute disaster for the PNP. He is a selfish man, just as how Seaga was to the JLP.”


It had something to do with us having a quarrel. And me begging her to keep it just a little bit quiet. And then she walked down the driveway on a Sunday morning, cussing like hell.

I pleaded with her, my wife, not to do that. Come inside and let us talk about me coming in at 5:00 a.m. and not having a valid excuse. So she came back in, and in a foolish moment, I told her the raw truth: that I had been with a woman and was horribly and terribly sorry.

She bolted for the driveway, and I ran her down. Inside the living room, madness occurred. One of my hands opened and she got a big slap across the face. Immediately, I felt less than a man.

“I am sorry, so sorry,” I pleaded.

That was in the 1980s, and I have never forgotten it. Now it seems normal that too many of us men beat our women and celebrate it.

No relationship is ever going be without emotions gone crazy, but it is my belief that the man, supposedly the physically stronger, should learn that difficult task of holding back that right hand.

n Mark Wignall is a political- and public-affairs analyst. Email feedback to and