Seaga Leads Shaw - Changing Politics of the Jamaica Labour Party

Seaga Leads Shaw - Changing Politics of the Jamaica Labour Party

Marcia Forbes PhD

October 2, 2011
Marcia Forbes PhD

A Day in Politics is a Long Time
They say a day in the life of politics is a long time. Who would have thought that on September 25, 2011, as many of us enjoyed some rest and relaxation in preparation for the new work-week, our sleepy Sunday would have been jolted into a state of wide-eyed alertness and shock as the reality of Prime Minister Golding’s announcement sunk in? He was going to resign. That’s not normal. No matter how tarred and feathered, Jamaican Prime Minister’s and politicians in general do not resign.

Throughout 2010 many had called for his resignation but the PM resisted and dug in, as we are accustomed from politicians. In April last year, several weeks before the Tivoli Invasion, I ran a poll at asking who Jamaicans felt would be best suited to lead the JLP. From the get go to the close of that poll Education Minister, Andrew Holness, consistently led the pack. Dr. Christopher Tufton, then Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries, was always in a far second place with Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance, trailing a distant 3rd.

Tufton Rising
Today it’s different. Since this latest poll started a few days ago Dr. Christopher Tufton has held the lead. What had changed to cause Holness’s political stock to have fallen off so badly? His year-long battering from the teachers has not helped. Some also believe he should be less exuberant in his desire for the top job. The poll result at now has Tufton in 1st place with 42% of the votes and Holness trailing at 29%. Interestingly though, the anticipated ‘dark horse’ is not in the form of Minister Montague but rather Mullings, the newly reappointed Minister of Energy and Mining, with 15% of the votes and in 3rd place.

 The poll continues till mid-October and it’s early days yet as indeed a single incident can cause a swing in sentiments. Although ‘New Kingston’ is said to want Shaw, they could easily shift to Tufton who was recently elevated to the Investment and Commerce Ministry. Success begets success. Tufton, however, may not go down well with the 5000 JLP delegates, the ones who will call the ‘shot’. There is question as to his JLP pedigree.

Seaga leads Shaw
While Shaw and Holness are seen as ‘rock-stone’ Labourites, Tufton and Mullings are regarded by some within that party as not ‘true-blue’. The former is seen as more NDM than JLP and his faux pas in the lead-up to the last election where he rallied the crowd to “put the x beside the head” is still painful for some in the Jamaica Labour Party. Mullings, having started his political life within the folds of the PNP, sometimes suffers that as a ‘black mark’ against him by die/dye-in-the-green Labourites.

Interestingly, The Honourable Edward Seaga, booted from the JLP by the ‘young Turks,’ is finding favour with some voters and at 9% of votes polled leads Shaw’s paltry 6%. Remember though, this is an altogether unscientific poll as are all those which follow TVJ’s nightly news, Nationwide Radio’s evening news and those on the Gleaner and Observer’s websites. Still, we all know that public sentiment can sway delegates in their decisions. So who will it be? Cast your vote on this site and have your say.