Friday, February 26, 2016 8:40 pm
Riding on promises to create jobs and cut taxes, the current opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) regained power in this Caribbean island nation with a narrow victory in parliamentary elections.
Poll results show the JLP, led by Andrew Holness, garnered 33 seats in the 63-seat House of Representatives, while the ruling People’s National Party (PNP), led by Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, won the other 30 seats.
A total of 869,579 eligible voters cast their ballots in Thursday’s elections, with 50.2 percent voting for the JLP and 49.7 percent for the PNP.
“This is not the end of the journey. It’s the beginning of changing Jamaica… our mission is to move Jamaica from poverty to prosperity, our mission is to make it possible,” a beaming Holness told jubilant supporters shortly after his victory was confirmed.
“We will grow the Jamaican economy, we will create jobs, we will give you an accountable and responsive government, and we will also address your water problems. We will address your housing problems, we will address your education problems and we will beat your healthy problems,” Holness said.
Simpson-Miller conceded the defeat. She asked supporters to accept what has happened and “go home safe.”
Holness will be Jamaica’s next prime minister. He was first elected as a member of parliament in 1997 at the age of 25. He succeeded Bruce Golding as leader of the JLP and the prime minister of Jamaica on Oct. 23, 2011.
Two months later, his party was defeated by its old rival the PNP in the parliamentary elections.
Over the past four years, Jamaica has suffered an economic stagnation with an average growth rate below 1 percent. Its per capita income is the lowest among English-speaking Caribbean islands.