Holness: A Liability To The JLP


The Labourites are yet to realize that they are in a free fall, suffocating by the hangman’s noose that is the unsuccessful leadership of Andrew Holness. Despite mounting evidence from across the political divide, where his leadership decisions and political allies continue to suffer judicial defeat, one gets the sense that the labourites are digging in their heels. The latest example comes from the Court of Appeal (court of second instance) upholding the ruling of the Constitutional Court (court of first instance) that Holness breached the constitution when he used undated, pre-signed resignation letters to remove Dr. Christopher Tufton and Arthur Williams from the Senate in November 2013.


Now it is always a mistake to draw too many conclusions from the outcome of complex judicial decisions, especially one that has implications for the political future of a party leader or the power that a prime minister or opposition leader holds over recommended party-aligned appointments. The latter in my view is still left unsettled and I assume that’s what the opposition leader intended to seek clarification on or for. However, his erratic, bipolar approach to this constitutional crisis that was created not only by himself but a by number of past and current actors, has caused him to lose much credibility within his own party and in the wider Jamaican society.  Andrew boi, macka deh every whey!

I think most people with enough understanding of judicial precedence and even judicial politics (yes! Judicial politics) expected the verdict by the Court of Appeal. I am going out on a limb here and say that while it seem in the interim that Holness has accepted the most recent ruling, experience will guide us in that he may still expect that his actions will be validated by the Privy Council. We cannot ever attempt to study Holness. I would tell him save himself from further embarrassment, but I am not as useful to him as Abe Dabdoub. As an avid follower of political leadership, I get the sense that Mr. Holness perhaps always harboured intentions to lead the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), especially since he sat at the feet of Guru Seaga. After today, I get the sense that he also yearned to be a perennial opposition leader. Holness in other words, wanted this job so badly that ever since he engaged his very first trial as prime minister, he has proven to be out of his depth. Simply put he was not ready for prime time. One thing that is clear from recent pronouncements, is that Holness still believes he has at least a decent shot at Jamaica House. I am not going to take that away from him because there are many “Jamaica House”, one is a corner on my ludo board that I use for games night.


Announcing that you will win the next election, is not the same as convincing Jamaican  voters across the country during an election campaign with the election savvy PNP, that you are the best chance for the JLP to reclaim the Jamaica House. The laborites is where Andrew Holness will face his toughest challenge: for many uncommitted voters, Holness is failing to convince. For this large and potentially influential part of the electorate, he needs training. He may lead in polls but polls matter only when the standard bearer remains credible.

As Holness contemplates his next step, we should all question whether he will be able to truly humble himself by sacrificing Machiavellian counterstrategies, getting rid of the warmongers in his inner circle, and improving his emotional intelligence for governance realism as needed. If Holness cannot keep the JLP together, that is just one aspect of the Jamaican society, how can he expect to keep a country together as prime minister? This may be unfair but it’s the sentiments on the ground regardless. Many young persons like myself  long to see a leader emerge from either party that can balance rhetoric with substance and build a broad based coalition in Jamaica that can move this country into the future.  Too much is left to be desired.


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