Sanjay Lewis: Why the JLP Won
When the People’s National Party first hinted that the country could go to the polls in 2015, it was apparent to many that it would not be a difficult trek to Jamaica House.
The tide began to change when it was evident that there were serious internal issues with candidate selection, the false start with the calling of the election showed me that trouble was brewing. The Jamaica Labour Party who began to prepare themselves realized that they had little money. What was smart about the campaign is that they target the seats that they knew they could have won. They ran a clean, smart and effective campaign. They ensured that the face of the candidates in the seats that they wanted attention spoke at party mass rally and they were included in several ads. The ads were clean and very pointed; they pulled different aspects of their manifesto and put it on TV and Radio ads along with social media. The leader of the JLP was also very strategic; he stuck to the message, a message that resonated with the people. That broadcast to the nation was a master stroke; it gave the feeling and image that this is me, I am Andrew Holness and I want to be your next Prime Minister. The 10point plan reached the masses, it connected with the people and the JLP held on to the message, the message of prosperity. Andrew sealed his deal on Sunday in that speech at Half Way Tree. What we saw was an Andrew Holness who was connected with the people, he reached out to the ‘articulate minority’ and connected with them. When Andrew told us to do the Facebook post, tweet but also come out and register your vote, it showed that unlike Mr. Pickersgill there is a respect for us. The JLP’s social media campaign was also effective; they reached out to the youth vote.
But why did the People’s National Party lose the election? The PNP lost track, the party was too arrogant and way too confident of victory. The party did not pay attention to the articulate minority and by not debating many people were angry. Remember the statement by Robert Pickersgill… “No ordinary Jamaican not speaking about it…Twitter? Twitter is ordinary Jamaican? Ordinary Jamaicans know anything about Twitter?” Then he said Jamaicans on Twitter are an “articulate minority” Well Mr. Pickersgill we came out and we sent a strong message to you. Respect us, I guess you sir did not know we had a vote and that we can make our voices be heard. We sent a strong message to the PNP, from early many of us took to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to show our inked finger, to show that we registered that vote. Additionally the handling of Andrew’s house was poor, many people were upset and this was a bad move for the PNP.
The PNP also did not show the Jamaican people a plan, yes their handling of the IMF deal was superb but what about the growth plan, the party took it for granted that they could campaign on their handling of the IMF deal. It was evident though that the PNP was in trouble when they had to spend so much time to campaign against the JLP’s tax plan, it was at that point the Labour Party started to direct the campaign and the wind started to blow towards the JLP. Another thing to note is that the comrades stayed home, this also sent a message that they are not pleased with the party and the campaign.
The Jamaica Labour Party must never take this mandate for granted; they must work hard, keep the promises made. Respect the people, keep the communication flow open, continue working in the constituencies rest assured that the People’ National Party will bounce back and they will come good. Gone are the days when any party think they have the right to lead this country for two or more terms, the people are serious.