The elections are over and things will go back to normal, politically at least.
Ann-Marie Vaz, a political neophyte, was able to eke out a 300 plus vote win, becoming the first female member of parliament in East Portland’s history.
Vaz, has name recognition, her husband Daryl Vaz, is also a member of parliament in the parish.
Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to brush off her win as simply a result of her name.
Ann-Marie Vaz came to the political theatre as a housewife. Despite her lighter hue and societal connections, she was not spared the ugliness of Jamaica’s elitists system which sees those without a college degree as useless in any process.
Her opponent, the PNP’s Damion Crawford, an eminently educated young man, demonstrated that despite his formal education, he was not extremely bright when he referenced Ann-Marie Vaz’s lack of formal education and hyped his own educational [bona fides].
Now granted Crawford’s loss may not be blamed for his lapse into elitism for which he was forced to apologize, Vaz’s victory is a win for every smart housewife and house-husband who want to serve their country but never went to University.
The slew of by-election wins for the governing Jamaica Labor Party may have an even more ominous meaning for the PNP than Crawford’s elitism.
The Portland Eastern seat was made vacant by the heinous murder of longtime Member of Parliament Dr. Lynvale Bloomield of the PNP.
The People’s National Party has been in control of the East Portland Constituency for the last thirty years(30). That is the most significant takeaway when the PNP does its post mortem on this latest defeat.
Set aside that fact that the party has lost a string of by-elections after its massive general elections defeat at the hands of the JLP, this defeat of the party’s most popular standard bearer by an untested newcomer, has huge ramifications for the PNP.
For 22-years the People’s National Party held office from the late ’80s through the 90,s and mid 2’000’s.
In an unexplained leap of faith, the Jamaican people refused to put the JLP back in
Between Michale Manley who was given an inexplicable fresh start in 1988 after his [mea-culpa], Percival Patterson and Portia Simpson Miller, the trio from hell made a mockery of Governance, and changed our country forever, and not for the better.
Many Jamaicans, including this writer, sadly began accepting that the party of Alexander Bustamante and Hugh Lawson Shearer had become a filler party, given a chance, only when the people are tired of the PNP.
Not to be outdone, the PNP arrogantly mistook the people’s chastisement of the JLP for it’s perceived arrogance at times, to mean that Jamaica was PNP Country.
As in most Democratic Nations, it is a tiny sliver of around 5-10% of the electorate, middle of the road voters, who determine elections.
Jamaica is hardly any different in that regard.
Despite this, the Andrew Holness led JLP was able to wipe out a double-digit seat deficit and win the legislature in a single seat majority in the 63-seat legislative body.
That one seat majority gave the JLP the ability to form the Government and gave Andrew Holness his own mandate to lead the country.
For those familiar with Jamaican politics and the impact garrison politics has on the electoral process, there is an understanding of the impressive nature of the JLP’s victory in the general.
The string of unlikely by-election wins by the party, have been in of themselves, individually and collectively, [coup-de-grace] over the PNP.
The failure of the PNP to tangibly demonstrate it’s fitness to lead and set a course, not just for the close of the twentieth century, but for ushering in the 21st century is more than enough reason for young voters to look elsewhere.
Elsewhere toward the younger Andrew Holness, as against the old tired and jaded Peter Phillips who has the personality of a brick wall when matched against the last leader of that party, Portia Simpson Miller.
In the same way that political partisans tend to place party over country, they tend to place self over party.
Peter Phillips the personality-deficient leader of the PNP is still smart enough to know that Damion Crawford is the most popular member of the leadership of the PNP.
He is also conversant that Crawford has aspirations on Jamaica house.
It is not out of the ordinary to conclude that Damion Crawford was sent to East Portland to blunt those aspirations.
Crawford is a bright young man, not a brilliant politician. He has made some strategic blunders, not the least of which was his latest by leaving the Senate in order to contest the seat in the lower chamber.
Surely this loss has done damage to Crawford’s credibility as a potential leader for his party, in the sense that he was rejected by voters in the upper Saint Andrew seat now held by Juilet Holness and now this latest debacle in east Portland.
There is a general feeling that the voters are largely fed up with the People’s National Party, and so it is the JLP’s turn.
The JLP has been known for some degree of arrogance and Elitism, classism, and contempt in some quarters for the man from the streets.
The JLP has always been the party which offered the best plan for a stable well-established society.
The PNP, on the other hand, has demonstrated a keen understanding of the plight of the common man.
Michael Manley’s raft of social-welfare programs has earned the party the endearment of ordinary people.
Unfortunately, handouts funded by big Government bankrupts nations.
Likewise, it is important that the ruling JLP learn the lessons the PNP failed to learn. By eschewing corruption and arrogance the JLP has the opportunity today to once and for all place Jamaica on a sure economic footing which will guarantee a better Jamaica for generations to come.
None of this is possible however as long as this administration