Op-Ed: A New Jamaica Labour Party?

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - November 10, 2013

By David Rowe
Op-Ed Contributor

BY THE CLOSE of day Sunday, the Jamaica Labour Party will have chosen its next leader — incumbent and former Prime Minister Andrew Holness or challenger and former Finance Minister Audley Shaw.

Holness represents the youth of the JLP, which first developed out of the personality of Jamaican hero Alexander Bustamante, the country’s first Prime Minister.

By all accounts, he is considered as a man with a strong political future, unassociated with much of the problems that have plagued Jamaican politics: garrison politics and violent elements of society.

Shaw is the institutional candidate, a bold longtime MP who announced his challenge to Holness’ leadership in mid-September.

It has thus far been a heated race, with all of the usual charges leveled, and some new ones (including allegations of plagiarism of Holness’ “Five E” plan, which covers the environment, energy, economy, education and either empowerment or efficiency, depending on whom you ask. (Note: whoever used its first almost certainly borrowed it from Haiti President Michel Martelly, who has made a similar “Five E” plan a major prong of his administration).

But the most pressing issue for the JLP is not who will lead the party and who will win this impassioned race, but what the party will stand for.

Is it the party of Seaga? Is it the party of Bustamante? Is it the party of Golding? Is it something else entirely? Is it, perhaps, time for a New Labour, in the vein of Tony Blair?

What will be the role of the new JLP starting Monday — and what kind of opposition will it stand for, with an election still three years away?

And in a society where colorism continues to be a major, if largely ignored problem, will the new JLP help transcend longstanding tensions between different strata of Jamaican society?

Of course, another possibility remains — that the party could see itself splintered between support for both men.

Could a new party emerge to challenge the two-party system in Jamaica?

The history of third parties in the Caribbean is not impressive — most recently, a once-promising Democratic National Alliance in the Bahamas failed to win any seats in that country’s 2012 vote.

But in Jamaica, anything can happen.

David P Rowe is an attorney in Jamaica and Florida and an adjunct law professor at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Fla.

Note: the opinions expressed in Caribbean Journal Op-Eds are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Caribbean Journal.

 

Popular Posts

The 10 Best Overwater Bungalows in the Caribbean, From Aruba to Belize

Overwater villas at Caribbean resorts aren’t just a novelty — they’re also among the most luxurious and beautiful accommodations you can stay in. And while all of the bungalows perched above the waves have their charms, some stand out among […]


The 10 Best Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean, From Antigua to Jamaica

all-inclusive hammock cove

All-inclusive resorts are more popular than ever, particularly in the Caribbean. The all-inclusive concept just keeps winning over travelers, who have been drawn to the ease, comfort and convenience of the concept. But the biggest thing within the space isn’t […]


The Bahamas’ Atlantis Paradise Island Just Completed a $150M Renovation

walking on the beach in nassau

A new eatery by Michelin-star Chef Michael White. A new-look casino. State-of-the-art guest rooms and the Caribbean’s first Shake Shack.  The Bahamas’ Atlantis Paradise Island resort has officially completed a $150 million resort-wide renovation, a significant project that included a […]


Related Posts jamaica montego bay

LATAM Is Adding More Nonstop Flights to Montego Bay, Jamaica

Jamaica’s record-breaking tourism growth keeps heating up — and not just from traditional source markets like the United States.  That includes a growing number of travelers from still-untapped markets like Latin America.  And new nonstop flights on major carrier LATAM […]


From Montego Bay to Ochi, Why to Visit a Sandals in Jamaica Right Now

sandals south coast with trees

Dunn’s River Falls. The Pelican Bar. Seven Mile Beach. Rick’s. The White River. Rose Hall. Jamaica never stops calling.  Whether you’re looking for the bustle and energy of Montego Bay, the laid-back cool of Negril or the abundant natural beauty […]


American Airlines Is Adding Daily Flights to This Jamaica Hotspot 

american airlines jamaica nonstop

Secluded coves, sparkling turquoise water, the birthplace of James Bond. Ocho Rios, Jamaica has always been one of the island’s most sought-after destinations, from its venerable luxury resorts to its popular all-inclusives.  But it’s never had a nonstop flight from […]


SUBSCRIBE!

Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.


No. Thank You