There is a general election in Jamaica on 25 February. Today was nomination day for candidates to put their names forward.
This is my first general elections in Jamaica since the early 1980’s when political violence left a huge scar on the society for generations.
As usual Jamaican politics is dominated exclusively by 2 main parties, the governing People’s National Party (PNP) and the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). With 63 parliamentary seats up for grabs it is sad to see so few female candidates running. JLP has put forward 10 female candidates and the Portia Simpson-Miller led PNP has 13.
Here today in the constituency of South West St Catherine (Old Harbour and its outskirts) the candidates vying for supremacy – in one of the fastest growing towns – are PNP challenger local businessman Rudyard Mears and the incumbent JLP MP – the controversial Everald “Warmy” Warmington.
The local bases for both candidates are less than 2 minutes from each other. Yet the atmosphere for nomination day more resembled Notting Hill Carnival. I did not see any animosity between supporters of both parties. Heart warming.
PNP supporters donning their orange colours in numerous guises and so too the JLP in their green. The fashion statements by both male & female supporters was a sight.
Vuvuzelas were blasting and backed up the parties’ respective sounds systems. It is not everyday you hear songs by British 70s disco icon Tina Charles on full blast in the name of Jamaican politics.
Given Jamaica’s recent political history – If I had not seen the warm and love among opposing supporters I would not have believed it. Just shows that the average party supporter in this constituency has matured. Long may that continue. Peace.