Tue | Feb 21, 2017

Central Westmoreland's lesson

Published:Wednesday | December 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM

We expect that there will be much spin from all sides in respect of the outcome of Monday's by-election in the Central Westmoreland constituency that was won by Dwayne Vaz of the governing People's National Party (PNP).

Mr Vaz, with a majority of 2,452 ballots, gained 58 per cent of the votes, one percentage point more than the late Roger Clarke's return in the December 2011 general election. In other words, notwithstanding the fact that the 38 per cent voter turnout was not bad for a by-election, there was no swing against the PNP. That is what we believe to be the crucial message for both the PNP and the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party.

This, we agree, is a PNP safe seat. But the fact that the PNP was able to hold its majority despite the tough, but necessary, economic reform policies being implemented by the Government counts for something. It suggests that even in hard times, voters will listen and understand if they are offered a cogent argument.

And that is the lesson we offer to the JLP and its leader, Andrew Holness, whose political strategy, has, up to now, been based largely to highlight the difficult personal circumstances faced by Jamaicans. Mr Holness and his economic team have failed to engage in a serious discussion on economic policy, including Jamaica's current agreement with the International Monetary Fund.