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PNP Lost Its Touch

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Source: Jamaica Gleaner


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THE EDITOR, Madam:

A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter to The Gleaner titled ‘PNP in for a rude awakening’, and I was not at all shocked by the results with the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) winning 49 seats to the People’s National Party’s (PNP) 14 in an election that had a very low turnout.

Over the years, the PNP has lost touch. They have failed to take the pulse of the people, failed to adapt and improve their leadership and messaging. They have been pushing the same faces to the forefront with the same old ideology. What is funny is that many of the persons rubbing shoulders and smiling with PNP candidates seem to have turned against them and voted JLP at the polls when it mattered.

The PNP put forward a message of “wealth” at the forefront of its platform. This was almost laughable considering that we are in the midst of a global pandemic! When many have lost jobs and income, some have lost loved ones, what they needed more of was hope, reassurance, and security, not wealth.

The PNP (unlike the JLP) failed to infuse fresh, young, bright faces into their team of candidates. I keep pointing out that youth are becoming more vocal and influential in politics. You see this in social media especially. Politicians must find ways to connect with youth. That someone as experienced as Peter Bunting lost his seat to a ‘newbie’ – a young woman new to politics – speaks to the fact that people are really tired of the same old stuff. They need fresh new ideas to inspire hope, change, and progress. People are tired of being stuck and being played.

REVIEW & REORGANISE

Also, Lisa Hanna nearly lost her seat. Politics is much more than running up and down with people. Others like Dr Wykeham McNeill, who lost his seat in Westmoreland, and Dr Dayton Campbell in St Ann, both seasoned MPs and former government ministers in the last PNP administration, speaks to the fact that the vanguard by itself cannot win elections. A name means little in politics in 2020. People are always looking for something and someone they can believe in. People got tired of the lacklustre leadership of Peter Phillips, which the PNP failed to see. The apparent disunity in the party didn’t help either. The JLP, on the other hand, presented a diverse and well-balanced team and was able to energise the base. They fielded political newbies and young women, especially, who did their homework and found ways to connect.

The PNP must use the loss to review and reorganise. More now than ever, they are needed as a strong opposition. A democracy is at risk when one party is the dominant force in Parliament. Andrew Holness should accept victory with humility and not use this in any way to advance autocracy and arrogance, attributes that he is sometimes accused of.

Government must now reform and get to work, focusing on the serious challenges at hand, especially managing the pandemic and rebuilding the economy. They have to find ways to contain crime and corruption, both major deterrents of progress and development.

P. CHIN

chin_p@yahoo.com

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