Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Three seats to watch on election day - Candidate quality, party performance key in deciding marginal constituencies

Published:Monday | February 22, 2016 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall
A massive crowd of Jamaica Labour Party supporters gather early yesterday for the party's mass rally in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew.
People's National Party supporters take part in a mass rally at Catherine Hall in St James, last night.

Political observers are all agreed that the results in 12 to 16 seats could determine which party gets the nod to form the government after the votes are counted on Thursday.

The race is expected to be close in some of the marginal seats across the island, and anthropologist Dr Herbert Gayle and a team from the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) have conducted research work in three battleground seats.

He found that the quality of the candidates, performance of the two major political parties, and family tradition will play a key role in the results coming out of St Andrew East Rural, St Andrew Eastern and St Elizabeth South West.


"The JLP cannot win in this constituency unless the PNP communities give up some of their potential votes," said Gayle of St Elizabeth South West at the end of a six-week survey which ended last Thursday.

In relation to St Andrew Eastern, he said that "given the tremendous mobilising skills of Fayval Williams (JLP), the prediction of the winner of this seat remains somewhat unsettled".

According to Gayle, in St Andrew East Rural, "Imani Duncan-Price (PNP), as a candidate, carries more force than her rival Juliet Holness."

He said some voters described both Duncan-Price and Holness as "down-to-earth and honest".

However, Gayle said, "Duncan-Price's dominance becomes more pronounced in the area of the details and clarity of her plans for the constituency, with focus on education support, infrastructure and support for farmers."