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(Jamaica Observer) Jamaicans returned the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to office yesterday with landslide in a general election defined by the novel coronavirus pandemic and the immense popularity of its leader, Andrew Holness who, at age 39, became Jamaica’s youngest-ever prime minister in October 2011.
The 49-14-seat victory in the preliminary count, which People’s National Party (PNP) vice-president and campaign co-director Phillip Paulwell last night described as “shocking”, also reversed the one-term trend that started to emerge at the December 2011 General Election when the JLP — after ending more than 18 years in Opposition at the September 2007 polls — was kicked out office by the PNP, which just over four years later suffered a similar fate in February 2016.
Last night Holness, who in July this year marked his 48th birthday, acknowledged the massive margin of victory and pledged that his Administration would be responsible in the management of the power given to it by Jamaican electors.
Addressing journalists during a press conference at the party’s Belmont Road headquarters in St Andrew, Holness said there should be no victimisation, retribution or malice in how the JLP moved forward as it relates to Jamaicans who supported the PNP.
Stating that the Government was very cautious in its approach to receiving the overwhelming majority, Holness said: “It must never be that the Government takes on any characteristic of arrogance. It must never be that this Government takes the people for granted.”
Holness also said he had no intention of dismissing as a spectre the allegations of corruption that shadowed his Administration in its previous stint.
“I raise this in my acceptance speech — this is not a victory speech. In our last Government the narrative of corruption dogged us, and I want to make it very clear because there are many persons who will be assuming State authority… this Government does not stand for corruption,” he said.