They say a week in politics is a very long time. And with each new poll. Whether conducted on behalf of the Opposition and or the Government, time it seems is one commodity, the JLP Government, seems to be running short of.
Months ago, the talk among JLP supporters and Government members is that due to the likeability factor, their leader, Andrew Holness, was more than likely to be in Office for another 20 years, when compared to the Opposition Leader Mark Golding’s favourability ratings.
Well, things have changed, and dramatically, As the JLP’s leader’s favourability ratings have plummeted, not that the Opposition Leader’s ratings have improved correspondingly. But the problem for the Prime Minister and his backers is that he has lost the support of the would-be independents, and his core support, within the JLP base, is hemorrhaging. To the point that he is now regarded by many, as a liability to the Party.
A fact that has led many to question his viability and that of the party, whenever the next elections are called. The trouble started a few months ago, when a poll commissioned by the PNP and conducted by eminent pollster Don Anderson, revealed that the PNP, despite its lackluster leadership, had inched ahead of the JLP in favourability ratings.
At the time, drunk on their own PR, many in the JLP dismissed the poll as an outlier. But as the days turned into weeks, observers started picking up on the trend that confirmed there was a souring of the mood towards the Prime Minister and his wife – A trend that they too noticed, as reports started surfacing that the Prime Minister and Wife, were busy attempting some kind of damage control and fence-mending by reaching out to supporters, financiers and backers, many of whom they had not spoken to in years.
Ostensibly, this did not work, causing many to shift expectations and pin their hopes on what they hoped would have been a masterful budget presentation by the Prime Minister. The problem was the Prime Minister made a Marathon presentation, that proved much ado, about nothing. And except for the sparse applause from the faithful, the presentation did not move the needle. If anything, it increased the PM’s unfavourable ratings. Many in the Private Sector and within the Party, floating Nigel Clarke and Tufton as possible replacements.
However, some, not wanting to believe that their party leader had lost his sheen and was in freefall, as was made evident by the many who took to social media platforms to express their disappointment in the Prime Minister’s underwhelming performance over the last several years, the JLP reportedly Commissioned a Poll. And even tho they did not make the findings public, the findings were leaked, showing the PNP enjoying a 38.6% favourability rating, compared to the JLP’s 29.4%.
Now this set off the panic mode within the JLP, with reports of a number of clandestine meetings, hosted by party insiders to decide the fate of Andrew Holness.
Fearful of losing control of the national narrative, and his job as Party Leader, Holness, sought, to reclaim the political high ground and control of the narrative and party, with the announcement of four new ambassadors. This announcement was shot down by his detractors, with some dubbing it nothing more than a ‘fund-raising’ ploy, designed to make him the Centre of attention.
With criticism of his role and style of leadership of the country growing, with more and more people taking to social media platforms to voice their dissatisfaction and disaffection, some, thought a Cabinet Reshuffle, would be the perfect game-changer. But that too was mismanaged, as before the Reshuffle could be effected, the long-promised redundancy package had not yet been approved and so could not be announced, thereby stalling the expected Cabinet reshuffle and reassignments, as the plan, according to insiders, was for the JLP to go into the next months and into the election campaign, with an almost entirely new, slate of candidates.
The story circulating was that: Chuck, Samuda, JC Hutchinson, Dalrymple, Faval Williams, Shaw, and Warmington, were to be axed, and sent packing with the handsome new payscale providing a nice retirement handshake. They were to be accompanied in retirement, by Saphire Longmore, Rodriquez, and Johnson-Smith, from the Senate, to make way for new and potentially exciting new personalities, to beef up the JLP’s electoral appeal.
There was a lot of horse-trading to find a convenient method to dispatch those who took issue with being dismissed, with reports of Diplomatic postings being offered like Confetti, but according to sources close to those negotiations, with memories of Ruddy Spencer, fresh in their minds, who was reportedly cajoled into resigning as MP, having been promised a diplomatic posting to Germany, that never materialized; And Derrick Smith who resigned his Seat as MP, after being promised his Son, would have been the Party’s Standard bearer, only to have Nigel Clarke parachuted into the seat, not many were willing to risk, taking promises of convenience.
The resignation of Leslie Campbell, came as a complete surprise to many, coming out of left-field as it did, as many thought, apart from his difficulty navigating the English Language, he was showing a grasp of his portfolio and is highly regarded as an Attorney of note.
The delay, however, in the reclassification exercise, upended the Prime Minister’s plans for the rehauling of his administration and put a firm spoke in that wheel. Forcing Holness, to go back to the drawing board, in search of a new playbook, to remain relevant and viable.
We will never know if a properly managed and effective reshuffle would have changed the narrative and or political trajectory, but the drip-drip nature of the reshuffle only increased the anti-government and anti-Holness, sentiments in the population as it came across as sloppy, inefficient, and way too little, way too late, as disenchantment seems to grow by the minute. And little wonder, with runway murders, lawlessness on our roads, inflation, putting the basic cost of food and recreation out of reach of many, Government corruption, and insensitivity. The People’s Cup was running over.
Imagine adding to this simmering stew of discontent, a pompous Nigel Clarke, waltzing into Parliament, (After seemingly securing a promise from the PNP, that they would not challenge the proposed pay package) and oblivious of the widescale suffering of the population, and announcing a 200 % to 340% percent pay hike, for Parliamentarians, and the Irrelevant GG. months after telling Civil servants, Teachers, Nurses, and the Police, that they would be given a 4% increase – with the proviso, take it or leave it.
That Prime Minister Andrew Holness’s salary was moving from 9-Million-plus to 28-million plus, cast the Prime Minister in a different light, with many seeing him as having betrayed them and their belief in him as an honest broker, and took a huge chunk of what little credibility, he had left.
The announcement of the new salary adjustments, could not possibly have come at a worse time for the Prime Minister and the JLP, and the messenger, made it doubly so, as to many, Clarke is not an empathetic speaker, and lacks the common touch, that would make him connect to the average man.
And if that was not bad enough, the whopping increases, was like pouring fire on an already combustible situation. Some are convinced, by the way, the announcement was handled, is indicative of a Party and Government so, out of touch, tone deaf and nose blind, it misread the people’s mood and the Country’s political pulse. As this massive hike by the Government of its own salaries whilst playing hardball, with the Country’s Public Sector employees, in the face of the skyrocketing cost of food, transportation and other goods and services, was like a dare, to those workers and the country, in general.
The Prime Minister is probably polling his lowest in years, with JLP insiders writing off his electoral prospects, for the next elections, based on internal polling, which suggests the Prime Minister, has lost the base of his party, with many now so determined to see him go, they are prepared to sit out the next General Elections, rather than cast a vote for the Party and have him return to power. So, with Holness losing the Party’s diehards, considering that the present administration is in effect a minority government, that came to power, with 30-Thirty-Thousand less votes than they received, when they formed the Opposition in 2016; whilst some are predicting a close election in the next general election, some are predicting the PNP will limp to a resounding electoral landslide, despite its Leader!
UK PM salary – US $160k
UK population – 60M
Cost per citizen – 3 cents
US President salary – $400,000
US Population – 340M
Cost per citizen- 11 Cents
Canada PM Salary – US$265,000
Canada Population – 38M
Cost per Citizen – 7 cents
Jamaica’s PM Salary – US$200,000
Jamaica’s Population – 3M
Cost per Citizen – 67 cents
Jamaica’s GDP is $15B
Canada’s GDP IS $2 Trillion
USA GDP is $23 Trillion
UKs GDP is $3 Trillion
Somebody please show me how it makes sense as every angle that I have looked, it looks more cruel and inhumane.