In the last three months, Jamaica’s political landscape has undergone a dramatic overhaul; engineered and led largely by the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). From the resignation of Prime Minister Bruce Golding to the ascension of a 39 year old to the top job; the message is clear, Jamaica’s politics is changing.
However, one cannot help but wonder if all this is simply flash and no substance. What I mean is, does all of this amount to a brilliantly crafted strategy by the JLP to retain state power amid unprecedented economic challenges? Former Prime Minister Golding said as much at the 68th conference of the JLP. He likened the move to a game of football, he had called the play. What this all amounts to is perception. How is it perceived? The polls give the answer, the JLP is ahead.
It is not often in Jamaica’s political dynamic that one sees personal ambition put aside in the interest of party and country. It was therefore a surprise this morning when the parliamentary caucus of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party unanimously declared support for Education Minister, Andrew Holness, to become the 9th Prime Minister of independent Jamaica.
It has been 72 hours since Prime Minister Bruce Golding shocked his party with news that he will be stepping aside as party leader, and subsequently Prime Minister, come November. After a failed attempt to convince Mr. Golding to change his mind, the JLP is now gearing it’s machinery towards a leadership race. The JLP chairman, Mike Henry, has indicated that the nomination process to fill the impending vacancy will remain open until late October. The question now is, who will be Jamaica’s 9th Prime Minister when the dust settles?