Wed | Sep 30, 2020

PNP in for a rude awakening

Published:Thursday | August 13, 2020 | 12:12 AM


The next general election has been announced for September 3. Polls have consistently shown the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), led by Andrew Holness, leading the People’s National Party (PNP) by double digits. We know polls are just polls. The last general election, for instance, favoured a PNP victory, the JLP was not supposed to win, yet they won, albeit marginally.

In the United States of America, election polls heavily favoured Hilary Clinton, yet Donald Trump defeated the odds, shattering nearly all polls. Recent polls in Jamaica suggest that the majority believes Holness is on the right path, and is the best man for the job. PNP support is fading.

This comes as no surprise, even with the controversies facing the JLP administration. Mr Holness has consistently been steady, his communication strategy is brilliant, he avoids distractions as much as possible and allow other institutions to do their jobs. Holness isn’t perfect, though, he has occasionally shown autocratic tendencies and could tone down his temper. The PNP under Peter Phillips has shown a lack of energy, stubbornness and a reluctance to change. They have failed to take the pulse of the people or even try to connect. A few MPs like Lisa Hanna, Peter Bunting and Mark Golding have been doing OK, but that’s about it. What is worrying is that the JLP is poised to control the House in a major way, winning more seats, and this could be a threat to our parliamentary democracy and effectiveness of an opposition.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and other critical problems facing the country, could the PNP do any better at this time? They’ve held office for many years, with little to show. The party is far from ready and seem to be severely underfunded.

Peter Phillips’ time has definitely passed, he is simply not electable. It will take a major loss at the polls for the PNP to wake up and realise what most Jamaicans have concluded about the current state of the party. The PNP will, unfortunately, need many years to reflect, reorganise and revamp under new leadership; one that can energise a base where young people especially are becoming more influential, vocal, diverse and political.