Archive for July, 2007

‘New’ election debate on CNN tonight

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

With Jamaica’s election debates two weeks away viewers of CNN tonight will tune in to a debate among Democratic Presidential hopefuls with questioning provided not by a select panel but members of the public, via video-sharing website YouTube.

“They’re a little bit out of their comfort zone,” says CNN Senior Vice President David Bohrman on “It’s going to be very different than how (candidates) react to panelists and journalists at a traditional debate.”

YouTube, along with other Web 2.0 sites which rely on user-generated content, has been credited with democratising media access.

While politicians in Jamaica talk up their e-readiness to a public not yet fully exposed to the technology, their colleagues in the United States are faced by bloggers who have gained large audiences by scrutinising both elected representatives and mainstream media.

It is probably no coincidence that upon visiting the Daily Kos blog – which averages more than half a million visits per day – today’s banner advertisement is promoting the CNN/YouTube debate.

Could Jamaica try the same approach?

“Not yet,” says Gary Allen, Deputy Chairman of the National Debates Commission. A select panel of journalists will instead question senior politicians from the People’s National Party (PNP) and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

Mr. Allen worries that not enough questions would be submitted given the relatively lower level of Internet access in Jamaica compared to the U.S.

Aware of the CNN/YouTube debate, and with Internet access rising in Jamaica, he says the YouTube approach could be tried next election: “I believe that a kind of people’s debate that could drive the questioning is where we could be heading.”

Watch the debate live from 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on CNN TV or


Power 106 FM election news, Monday July 23

Monday, July 23rd, 2007


powerlogo23.jpgClick here to listen to Power 106 FM online

P.J. backs Bunting
Former People’s National Party (PNP) President P.J. Patterson will be seeking to shore-up support for Central Manchester candidate Peter Bunting in the constituency, this evening.

Mr. Patterson is slated to address a meeting involving Mr. Bunting and his party workers at the Manchester High School starting at 6pm.

Mr. Bunting – a former banker – will be challenging the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Sally Porteous in the August 27 election.

In the 2002 general election, sitting MP John Junor polled 8,262 votes to beat the JLP’s Norman Horne who received 7,180 votes.

Mr. Horne who has since joined the PNP is now running against the JLP’s Franklyn Witter for South East St. Elizabeth.

The PNP is to continue its series of parish rallies this week. Tomorrow it will head to Port Maria, St. Mary and on Wednesday to Christiana, Manchester.

A rally has also been scheduled for Lucea, Hanover on Thursday before another on Friday in Black River, St. Elizabeth.

EOJ cuts polling divisions
The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) has reduced the number of polling divisions in some constituencies ahead of the next general election.

Director of Elections Danville Walker says since the 1993 general election some constituencies had grown beyond the number of electors stipulated by the EOJ for each polling division.

Currently each polling division is required to have at least 400 electors.

Polling divisions will be combined in instances where they have less than the required number of electors. The move to combine polling divisions is also part of the effort to prevent voting irregularities in some inner city communities.

Currently there are 6,380 polling stations in 2,318 locations across the island.

Just over 1.3 million electors are expected to cast their ballots in the August 27 general election.

Samuda calls for peaceful election
Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) General Secretary Karl Samuda is stressing the need for political candidates to maintain a violence free election.

Mr. Samuda’s statement follows several reported violent incidents in some constituencies.

According to Mr. Samuda the leadership of the political parties need to emphasize positive messages during the current election campaign.

Candidates from the two major parties have been having meetings with Political Ombudsman Bishop Herro Blair in an effort to stem political tension in some constituencies.

The meetings follow an earlier one held with PNP President Portia Simpson-Miller and JLP Leader Bruce Golding.

Following that meeting the leaders warned that disciplinary action would be taken against any candidate who breached the Political Code of Conduct on the political platform.

Daily Gleaner election news, Monday July 23

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

cover.jpeg Surprised People’s National Party (PNP) not farther ahead - Robertson
Dr. Paul Robertson, the campaign director for the governing People’s National Party (PNP) says he is surprised that his party is not farther ahead in the polls with the latest giving a six point lead over the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

The Bill Johnson’s poll, conducted on July 14 and 15 among 1,008 people in 84 communities across the island, measured electoral supportfor the PNP at 40 per cent and 34 per cent for the JLP.

Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) might pip leaders on line
With 36 days to go before the general election on August 27, the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is looking to close the gap between itself and the governing People’s National Party (PNP).

The latest Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson poll, conducted on July 14 and 15, placed the PNP and JLP at 40 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively, in popular standings.

Golding in cops’ corner
Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Bruce Golding, has chided the Government for what he claimed is its poor administration of the country’s security.

Samuda urges forgiveness
Jamaica Labour Party General Secretary Karl Samuda is urging Jamaicans to forgive each other in the wake of escalating political violence in the country ahead of the August 27 polls.

He said that an election victory would be meaningless if the process was marred by violence.

Fakhouries vouch for peace - Sister and baby brother look to go one-two in St Ann
Shahine Robinson and Peter Fakhourie share more than a border in the Siamese constituencies of North East and South East St. Ann.

The two Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidates also share a relationship spanning more than 50 years - they are siblings.

Gleaner election coverage election news, Sunday July 22

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

22july2007frt.jpgPNP stays on course - Battle on for middle-age voters, JLP attracting more youth, PNP solid among elderly
With general election set for August 27, the ruling People’s National Party (PNP) and Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) have maintained their relative standings in public opinion during the past four weeks. But each party has increased its individual share of electoral support, according to the results of a recent Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson poll.

Johnson’s poll, conducted on July 14 and 15 among 1,008 people in 84 communities across the island, measured electoral support for the PNP at 40 per cent and 34 per cent for the JLP.

Thwaites’ ban for unity of the church – Archbishop
Archbishop Lawrence Burke says his decision to ban Deacon Ronnie Thwaites from the pulpits of the Roman Catholic Church is grounded in his belief that politics and ministry do not mix if the church is to remain united.

McGill’s date with destiny
If it were horse racing and MikeHenry and Dr. Neil McGill were the only charges lined up for the derby, bookmakers would be offering odds of 1-9 for Henry to win. Simply put, he would have to fall into a huge hole to lose.

McGill, of the People’s National Party (PNP), is digging such a hole for the elderly Henry, of the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP), but he knows no matter how skilfully he does it, Henry might find ways to evade it. Both men are contesting the Central Clarendon seat for which Henry has been the Member of Parliament (MP) since 1980.

Peter Sangster says he’s ready to unseat Phillip Paulwell
His granduncle, Sir Donald Sangster, led Jamaica as Prime Minister for three months before his death in April of 1967. His cousin, Kingsley, has sat in the country’s Parliament, but never Astil or Derrick. Peter, a branch of the Sangster tree, believes he, like Sir Donald, will make his way into Gordon House, an elected member.

Peter Sangster, who is running on a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) ticket, takes on the People’s National Party (PNP) Phillip Paulwell for the East Kingston and Port Royal seat. Even though he barely got back his deposit money when he first contested in 2002, Sangster is confident that he will factor among the winners after the August 27 general election.

JLP makes first strike

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has been on the campaign trail and advertising since last August, starting with a series of television spots focusing on Golding as a family man.

Battle in the east

An interesting battle seems to be shaping up in Western St.Thomas bet-ween incumbent Member of Parliament James Robertson of the Jamaica Labour party (JLP), and the People’s National Party (PNP) candidate Rosemarie Shaw.

People’s Manifesto

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

manifesto4.jpgThe August 27 election date has been announced but voters are still awaiting the manifestos of both main parties - the issues over which the elections are supposed to be contested.

Meanwhile Gleaner Online asked members of the public what they would do were they to wake up on the morning of Tuesday August 28 as the newly elected Prime Minister of Jamaica.

What follows are the manifestos of persons surveyed in Half-Way Tree earlier this week. Each was asked to describe their leadership style and outline five priority areas for their hypothetical Government.

We are also interested in receiving personal manifestos from persons all over Jamaica and the Diaspora. “Dis countri need a sortin’ out,” said one respondent.

What would you do?


Business Executive Mary Smith-Allen says her leadership would be informed by public consultation. Mrs. Smith-Allen would work with youths to gain a consensus for policy planning. She also wants policy makers to develop a working understanding of the ‘negative psyche’ effecting the country - again via public consultation.


1. Improve access to vocational courses for young people in poor communities. Teaching them a skill would re-channel their energies towards the job market and deter them from involvement in crime.

2. Tackle the problem of the lack of values in schools. Students are too against each other; too much labeling and negative peer pressure. Being literate is insufficient – the student must leave school with a feeling of self-worth. They must be able to relate to others, know their sexuality and be able to resolve conflict peacefully.

3. Get young people off the streets and ensure students go home after school. The police will play a vital role in this effort under my government.

4. Redevelop the agricultural sector so it can regain the strength it had in the 1970’s.

5. Address the loss of culture and identity following the influence of American cable stations.


Andre Gordon, who is a 19-year-old student, says he would be a financially responsible Prime Minister. Andre would ensure the budget clearly identifies how each expense will be financed too avoid excessive government borrowing. His administration would instead increase its revenues by stimulating investment and encouraging the growth of the export sector.


1. House and provide care for street people.

2. Fix the roads properly.

3. Address the decline in the agricultural sector by reducing imports and producing more for local consumption and export. This would also be done with the aim of increasing foreign exchange reserves.

4. Education is a must. More schools would be built and equipped with computers and books.

5. Reduce political tribalism.



Nail technician Colleen Dickson is chiefly concerned about the so-called ‘brain drain’ of qualified workers who go overseas in search of job opportunities, leaving a shortage of their skills locally. A Ms. Dickson-led administration would therefore provide incentives to encourage such persons to remain in the Jamaican labour market and boost national development.


1. Lobby against absentee fathers.

2. Greater sanctions against men who beat women.

3. Free secondary education.

4. Greater availability of improved housing for average Jamaicans.

5. Enable persons to travel abroad at least once in their life.

Daily Gleaner election news, Saturday July 21

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

21jul2007frt.jpgRonnie Thwaites banned - PNP candidate told to stay off the pulpit
People’s National Party (PNP) candidate Ronnie Thwaites has been suspended from preaching by the Catholic Church until he decides to leave active politics.

‘We do not want Blair around here’
Amid increasing tensions across the island, residents of Woodford Park in the South East St. Andrew constituency claimed yesterday that Political Ombudsman Bishop Herro Blair has been useless in ensuring peace in the community.

Dates set for nat’l debates
The long-awaited dates for the national political debates were yesterday announced by Philmore Ogle, chairman of the Jamaica Debates Commission.

Past Prime Ministers of Jamaica

Friday, July 20th, 2007


Donald Sangster

Hugh Shearer 1967-72





Michael Manley (1972-1980 and 1989-1992) Edward SeagaPJ Patterson






Photos by Dayne Morrison: Murals of Jamaica’s six past Prime Minister outside Gordon House on Duke Street, Kingston. Click on first photograph to begin slideshow.

Alexander Bustamante (1962-1967)

During pre-independence social upheavals Alexander Bustamante established himself as an important labour leader. He formed the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), going on to win the country’s first election in 1944 when he was installed as Chief Minister. He then lost successive elections until Independence in 1962 when he was elected Prime Minister. Illness forced him to retire from politics in 1967 and he died ten years later.

Donald Sangster (February–April 1967)

Jamaica’s briefest Prime Minister, Sangster served for just two months before dying after falling into a coma in 1967. Ironically it had been the ill health of Bustamante that had opened up the post for him. Portia Simpson Miller will leave him as the only Prime Minister to have never contested a general election when she goes to the polls against Bruce Golding on Monday August 27.

Hugh Shearer (1967-1972)

Rising through the ranks of the BITU Shearer became one of the most prominent figures in the Jamaican labour movement. He assumed office after Donald Sangster died in 1967, before losing to Michael Manley in 1972. He had previously declared no ambition to become Prime Minister and beat D.C. Tavares by one vote in the ballot of JLP Members of Parliament. Venerated for his conciliatory style he has the unusual distinction of being shot in the head with a speargun during the 1980 election campaign. He died in 2004.

Michael Manley (1972-1980 and 1989-1992)

The charismatic Manley followed in the footsteps of his father Norman as national leader. He beat then Prime Minister Hugh Shearer in the election of 1972 promising, “Power to the People”. With Jamaica in economic distress in 1980 he lost to Edward Seaga of the JLP. Then in 1989, with his politics having become more centrist he returned to office with the Seaga administration having fallen out of favour with the electorate. Ill health forced him to step down three years later and he died of prostate cancer in 1997.

Edward Seaga (1980-1989)

Seaga became Jamaica’s longest serving Member of Parliament before retiring from politics in 2005, having represented West Kingston since 1959. He and Michael Manley contested the violent elections of 1976 and 1980. Bob Marley famously brought them onstage to join hands at the One Love Peace Concert at the National Stadium in 1978. Seaga is the distinguished fellow at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona.

P.J. Patterson (1994-2006)

Patterson is Jamaica’s longest-serving Prime Minister having beaten Seaga in the 1993, 1997 and 2002 elections after succeeding an ill Manley in 1992. His fourteen years as Prime Minister encompassed almost half of his 30 years in political office. He and Seaga are the only surviving past Prime Ministers of Jamaica. Patterson acts as a consultant for Goodworks International, a US based firm. He is also assisting the PNP with the 2007 election campaign.

Power 106 FM election news, Friday July 20

Friday, July 20th, 2007

powerlogo1.jpgClick here to listen to Power 106 FM online

Blair reports Buchanan to PM
Political Ombudsman Bishop Herro Blair says he has written to People’s National Party (PNP) president Portia Simpson Miller following comments by the party’s general secretary Donald Buchanan.

Addressing PNP supporters at a meeting in Morant Bay, St. Thomas on Wednesday night, Mr. Buchanan said the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) account of Sunday’s shooting on its motorcade was false. Police are investigating the incident.

The reported exchange of gunfire lasted for several minutes in Brandon Hill during the JLP’s tour of the West Rural St. Andrew constituency.

But Mr. Buchanan said having viewed video footage of the incident, he is convinced that the motorcade was not shot at by gunmen.

Speaking on Perkins on Line on Power 106 FM this morning Bishop Blair said he is concerned about the levels of political violence.

Woodford Park Flare-up
JLP leader Bruce Golding has been leading a team in Woodford Park in the South East St. Andrew constituency where the manager of the party’s office in the community was shot last night and died in hospital this morning.

Mr. Golding urged residents not to retaliate.

The death of 27-year-old Sanjay Ebanks comes nearly four weeks after another supporter was killed in the constituency and after Bishop Blair and the candidates Maxine Henry-Wilson (PNP) and Joan Gordon Webley (JLP) led a peace walk in the community.

The police are yet to make any arrests following the shooting incidents.

Meanwhile Deputy Superintendent of Police in charge of crime for East Kingston, Michael Ellis says joint police-military teams are continuing random operations in the affected communities along Mountain View Avenue in the constituency.

At least four persons have been shot and injured in the Mountain View Avenue community this week.

And JLP Area Council One Chairman Desmond McKenzie says a meeting which was scheduled for 2 p.m. this afternoon with PNP Region 3 Chairman Phillip Paulwell was called off when the party hierarchy made their tour of Woodford Park.

Daily Gleaner election coverage, Friday July 20

Friday, July 20th, 2007

friday.jpegFlooding, but still no water
The People’s Agenda: Apart from 1980 when the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) snatched victory in the general election, the People’s National Party (PNP) has dominated the East Portland constituency from as far back as 1972.

Survival story - ‘We have a problem!’
Forty-nine per cent of respondents in a recent Gleaner-sponsored survey said they were surviving on the income they were making from their job. Another 45 per cent of respondents in the Bill Johnson poll said they were ‘barely’ surviving off their income. Six per cent said they could not survive on their income, and one per cent said they did not know.

‘Flags, graffiti contributing to political tension’
Residents of Mountain View Avenue in St. Andrew on Tuesday demanded that political flags, mounted on utility poles in their community, be removed. They said the presence of the flags and other graffiti has contributed to increasing political tension in the area.

Comrade Kumina gathering in the east
People’s National Party (PNP) supporters in St. Thomas on Wednesday night called on the spirits of their ancestors to deliver election victory for the party.

Three persons became possessed as members of the Lyssons kumina group engaged hundreds of supporters during the PNP-flavoured ancestral ritual held in Paul Bogle Square, Morant Bay.

Are the PNP changing back the course?

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

With the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) ‘Not Changing the course’ advertisement gaining much attention, the People’s National Party (PNP) is airing an ‘answer’ advertisement.

Whereas the Opposition advertisement had spliced the words of Prime Minister President Portia Simpson Miller and Government ministers, the PNP song ‘Dem a hypocrite!’ uses full quotes from Opposition Leader Bruce Golding and JLP General Secretary Karl Samuda attacking their own party.


Photo by Ross Sheil: People’s National Party (PNP) website

Mr. Golding and Mr. Samuda had made their comments after leaving the JLP for the National Democratic Movement (NDM) and PNP respectively. Both men have since rejoined the party.

A previous People’s National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) advertisement criticised the splicing of Mrs. Simpson Miller’s remarks by the JLP’s young professional arm Generation 2000 (G2K), which produced ‘Not Changing the course’.

Is the latest PNP effort more or less effective than the JLP advertisement? Comment below