Monday, 29 February 2016

ELECTION NOTEPAD: Pearnel Charles’ longevity + the Holness’ dynamic duo + Simpson-Miller’s grace in defeat

In view of her party’s “shock” defeat to the Jamaica Labour Party at the polls last week, how does outgoing Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller feel about the outcome? “We have done our best. I hope and pray that what we achieved on behalf of this country will not be ruined,” the PNP leader said on Thursday night at party headquarters. “I hope those who succeed us will not throw away the gains made by the People’s National Party government.” Given the result (a historic 33-30 margin), Simpson Miller says she is keenly awaiting the recount of the ballots and regrouping with her team. “The fact is we are no quarrelling with anyone. This is Jamaica, and we have a responsibility. If anything, we are stronger than yesterday. This is a time for us to return to the drawing board.” 

Record-setting MP and one of the most enduring figures in Jamaican politics Pearnel Charles, who has retained his North Central Clarendon seat in Gordon House, recently spoke with an interviewers about staying the course in spite of his advanced age: he turns 80 this year. “When my mind and muscle can’t coordinate and I am tired, I will ask the people who elected me to serve to relieve me of the job. Nevertheless, if they say to me, Mr. Charles, we have found as more efficient person for the job, then I will step down,” the political veteran said. “When my people indicate to me that my time has come, I will go and tell them thanks for six terms in the Lower House, two terms in the Upper House, and two terms in the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation.” 

The Holnesses, who are set to become Jamaica’s First Family, are indeed a family for firsts. Having both won seats in the recent General Elections, they will become the country’s first Prime Minister and wife (Juliet)  duo to serve in the House of Parliament. For his part, Andrew Holness couldn’t be happier. “My wife is my greatest supporter in everything I do. She is with me in every single thing I do. So it would be good to have her in Parliament, but of course she is an independent woman, and she has won her seat in her own right,” the JLP leader says. “She also wants to serve but she has latched on to supporting me in achieving some of the goals that I have, and she has worked to do that for as long as we have been together – and we have been together for a very long time. So I am looking forward to having her in Parliament.”

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