With the results of the Jamaican Local elections 2003 now final. The JLP have won 10 parishes incluiding the KSAC to the PNP’s 1 in Westmoreland. Clarendon councils remain split between the JLP and PNP. Nationally the carved out a 25 seat margin , claiming some 126 seats to the PNP’s 101.
The JLP is saying that the win is a testimony to the hard work on the ground and their general feeling is that the people are disgruntled with an old and tired PNP Government. Party Leader Eddie Seaga has stated that this win means a better balance of power in Governing the country.
The official count of 40% Voter Turnout in the June Polls has been described as the second lowest in elections since 1962. When compared to 2002 the results reflect a significant no-show by the ruling Party supporters, an indication that apathy abounds.
While winning the popular vote nationally as well as in eleven of the thirteen local councils the JLP margin of victory represented 20,000 more votes since the October 2002 polls.
The 267,081 votes for the JLP in June 2003 represent 21% of those who could vote. The PNP’s 249,882 represent 20% of the same electorate.
From here on the political partisan structures and how the citizenry choose to reform them will be the main focus.
Choosing a Successor for Prime Minister
The question of succession has roaming the airwaves over and over for the last serveral months. Mr Seaga in his post Local election interview with the BBC caribbean service have stated that he will have to consider what is his best options for the future.
In October 2002 the opposition leader gave his clearest indication of his intention to step down, after 28 years at the helm of the JLP.
In an address to the nation, the 72-year-old longest serving Member of Parliament in the Jamaican parliament, Seaga ,stopped short of giving the exact timetable for his departure from political life. He however stated it was only at the request of the party that he had agreed “to continue to serve as leader until there can be a change of leadership so that we can pursue a smooth course of effective team leadership.”
Well-placed sources within the JLP at that time also said that Mr. Seaga had confirmed to the party that the October 16 2002 general election was his last.
Mr. Seaga, who served as prime minister between 1980 and 1989, still has the unenviable record of four consecutive general election defeats under his leadership.
How much longer for the DON…??
Can the resurgent labour party proceed with Seaga?? And if so how long will labourites and Jamaicans have to wait for change to take place within the partisan political institutions.
Change is a very good thing, though some people hate it Jamaicans having made this leap forward in a sea of green should also be credited for making the change happen without much dislocation. If Mr.Seaga is prepared to work for the people of Jamaica and the people of Jamaica want to go forward with him then so it shall be.
General Elections are due in the year 2007- Until then this community want some action and upliftment in areas critical to national life.
Joblessness, instructive leadership and problem solving tactics on matters of crime and violence, child abuse, improved health services, prevention strategy against viruses and diseases, as well as a more creative model for education are just some of the things we begging our politicians to not only think about but provide active service on.
Lets see if the resurgent JLP can provide us with a vision of where the country needs to be by 2010, cause surely some people already looking that way for answers.
The struggle Continues- It’s a Struggle For Survival…
About the Writer, Philip Dinham
Phil Dinham is a member of our Jamaica prime time news team. He remains a Jamaican citizen in Ft lauderdale, United States where he is studying Hospitality and Tourism management at broward community college. Philip is a certified media professional with over six years of experience in formal media relations and radio broadcasting. Comment on this article and all Jamaica Prime Time presentations by writing respective authors at [email protected]