Tue | Oct 27, 2020

Jamaica votes in general election on September 3, 2020

Published:Tuesday | August 11, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Holness: I now see it necessary to seek another mandate from the people," said Holness before making the announcement.

Jamaicans are to go to the polls on Thursday, September 3, 2020.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement in Parliament a short while ago.

Nomination Day will be Tuesday, August 18, 2020. 

It will be Jamaica's 18th general election since Universal Adult Suffrage in 1944.

"I now see it necessary to seek another mandate from the people," said Holness before making the announcement.

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Both the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) are expected to field a full slate of 63 candidates while the newly formed Jamaica Progressive Party could have candidates in two-thirds of the seats. 

The election is being held at a time when Jamaica is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, which could impact voter turnout.

Holness said this demands that there is balance and responsibility.

"It has to be about ensuring that we keep people safe and we balance the economy," he said.  

Some 1,913,410 persons are on the July 31 voters' list, up from 1,824,410 in the February 2016 election, in which Holness' JLP registered a shock one-seat win over the PNP, which was led by Portia Simpson Miller.

The PNP has since placed the mantle of leadership in the hands of Dr Peter Phillip, who has trailed Holness in every opinion poll since taking over the party.

However, the Comrades appear confident that they can secure victory, pointing to governance issues such as corruption and high crime as failures of the Holness administration.

In 2018, poverty was measured at a 20-year low, an achievement that Holness' JLP said was due to its management of the economy and the creation of new jobs in sectors such as the business process outsourcing, tourism and construction.

But COVID-19 changed that reality as hundreds of thousands of people have either lost their jobs or are earning reduced salaries since the virus was confirmed in Jamaica on March 10.

Nonetheless, Jamaicans, in opinion polls, have given the Government the thumbs up for the management of the pandemic, and have said they trust Holness more than Phillips to lead the rebuilding of Jamaica's economy after COVID-19.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica has projected that the economy will contract by between four per cent and six per cent in fiscal year 2020-21 versus a pre-COVID forecast of 1.2 per cent growth.

Following its win in 2016, the JLP Government delivered on its promise to increase the income tax threshold to $1.5 million, removing the burden of income tax payment from about 133,000 persons.

However, the Government's target of achieving five per cent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in four years was badly missed.

Seats being targeted by JLP

1. St James Southern– Homer Davis (JLP) v Dr Walton Small (PNP)

2. Trelawny Northern – Tova Hamilton (JLP) v Victor Wright (PNP)

3. Hanover Western– Tamika Davis (JLP) v Ian Hayles (PNP)

4. Westmoreland Central – George Wright (JLP) v Dwayne Vaz (PNP)

5. St Elizabeth North Eastern– Delroy Slowley (JLP) v Basil Waite (PNP)

6. Clarendon Northern – Dwight Sibbles (JLP) v Horace Dalley (PNP)

7. Clarendon North West – Phillip Henriques (JLP) v Richard Azan (PNP)

8. St Catherine North West – Newton Amos (JLP) v Hugh Graham (PNP)

9. St Catherine North Central – Natalie Rodriguez (JLP) v Natalie Neita (PNP)

10. St Catherine South East – Robert Miller (JLP) v Colin Fagan (PNP)

11. St Ann North West – Krystal Lee (JLP) v Dr Dayton Campbell (PNP)

Seats being targeted by PNP

1. St Catherine North Eastern – Kerensia Morrison v Oswest Senior Smith (PNP)

2. St Catherine East Central – Alando Terrelonge (JLP) v Raymond Pryce (PNP)

3. St Andrew  Eastern – Fayval Williams (JLP) v Venesha Phillips (PNP)

4. St Andrew West Rural – Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn (JLP) v Krystal Tomlinson (PNP)

5. St Ann South West – Zavia Mayne (JLP) v Val Wint (PNP)

6. Clarendon South East – Pearnel Charles Jr (JLP) v Patricia Duncan Sutherland (PNP)

7. Clarendon North Central – Robert Morgan (JLP) vs Dr Desmond Brennan (PNP)

8. St James Central – Heroy Clarke (JLP) v Andre Hylton (PNP)

9. St James West Central – Marlene Malahoo Forte v Dr Andre Haughton (PNP)

10. Hanover Eastern – Dave Hume Brown (JLP) v Wavell Hinds (PNP)

11. St Elizabeth South East – Franklyn Witter (JLP) v Dr Dwaine Spencer (PNP)

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