Fri | Dec 6, 2019

‘Get ready’ - Holness puts JLP leadership on notice for elections, warns about broken promises

Published:Monday | November 18, 2019 | 12:28 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister and leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Andrew Holness rings the bell at a JLP West Kingston constituency conference held last evening at the Tivoli Gardens Community Centre.
Prime Minister and leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Andrew Holness rings the bell at a JLP West Kingston constituency conference held last evening at the Tivoli Gardens Community Centre.

There are more signs that the two major political parties are about to shift gears as the election season draws near.

The leader of the governing Jamaica Labour Party, Andrew Holness, was in South East St Ann on the weekend and told the party’s leadership that they must get ready for elections.

“You must not be ready for yourselves, it is for the Jamaica Labour Party. When I go out into the field and I meet people, it is just amazing when they say to me, ‘Make sure you get the second term. We want you to get the second term. We like what you doing and we want to see it continue’,” Holness told members of parliament, caretakers and key organisers who make up the party’s leadership in a closed-door meeting.

Holness reasoned that with the JLP still being viewed positively in a large cross section of the country, it was now up to the party to fulfil the wishes of the people.

“It doesn’t mean that the people are already set in their minds, because as you all know as representatives or people seeking to represent, that the Jamaican public is first of all hard-marking, they are judging you, not using the same ruler as they judge the other party, because they expect better and high performance from you. What the other party will get away with, we will not get away with,” Holness, also the prime minister, said as he counselled the party’s leadership.

NATIONAL MOOD

“In the same breath as I am saying we have public sentiment and national mood, I am also saying, this is something that you have to be careful with, very respectful of. It is also as if you have to make a covenant between you and the people,” the JLP leader added.

Both the JLP and the PNP have made their presence felt in the parish of St Ann recently, with Peter Phillips, the PNP president, touring sections of the parish with Lisa Hanna, the member of parliament for the parish’s South Eastern Constituency.

Holness said as prime minister, he has fought to ensure that the Government remained ‘legitimate’, explaining that the public expected the party to deliver on pledges made leading up to the February 2016 general election.

He warned that governments oftentimes fall because of their failure to communicate with the electorate.

“You, as leaders of the party, you have to keep the people who gave us the mandate; you have to keep them in the loop, communicate with them, don’t hide away from them,” Holness urged.

Meanwhile, Holness last night lashed the Opposition People’s National Party while strongly defending his administration’s national security and intelligence strategy that has come in for heavy criticism.

Holness, who was in Tivoli Gardens speaking at the last constituency conference before the party’s annual conference next Sunday, told a sea of supporters, mostly clad in green, that the Opposition was being an obstacle in his administration’s efforts to fight crime.

One of the criticisms levelled at the administration is that it has overused the state of public emergency and that the police were, therefore, not investigating murders.

Holness rebuffed the critics, arguing that record levels of criminal cases are now being brought before the courts while the police are pursuing ruthless gangs.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com