Running high profile new/old faces :
Minister of Mobilization circa 1976, newspaper columnist and dentist D.K. Duncan running in a rural Hanover seat – most voters are too young to remember him and know him only as a newspaper columnist and Michael Manley’s fourth wife’s partner (Beverley Manley). D.K. is still too crazy to be Cabinet material, but he may well win a seat for the P.N.P.
Senator, university professor and trade unionist Trevor Munroe running in a volatile St. Andrew seat – most voters are too young to remember this gentlemen’s migration from out-there Communist to radical trade unionist to Independent Senator to P.N.P. activist and talk show host. Over the years Trevor Munroe has gone back to his middle class roots – son of a Judge, Rhodes scholar, UWI stalwart – and will almost certainly make it into the Cabinet as Minister of something. Despite his ambition, may turn out to be the Yasser Arafat of Jamaican politics….unable to adapt to being in charge of boring everyday matters like roads, water and schools.
Banker and former M.P. Peter Bunting to run in Central Manchester seat – Peter Bunting supported the current P.M. in her failed leadership bid in 1992. Ran against former JLP Prime Minister and JLP icon Hugh Shearer in 1993 and ended Shearer’s political career, but left politics in 1997 after being kept out of path to power by P.J. Patterson loyalists. Has been continuously in the public eye with his merchant bank Dehring, Bunting and Golding. Astutely got rid of Chris Dehring early on and then made a pile by selling the bank to the Bank of Nova Scotia. Twice linked in to the P.N.P. by marriage to (1) daughter of Michael Manley pal, O.K. Melhado (2) daughter of Michael Manley’s fifth wife, Glynne Ewart. Now twice divorced and very rich, Bunting is on track to replace Omar Davies as Minister of Finance and to succeed the current Prime Minister (should she win the next election….)
Portia’s key strategy : Letting everyone know that her Cabinet and her P.N.P. will NOT look like the current crop. Now people are starting to understand why she didn’t call an early election….didn’t want to be saddled with her current Cabinet colleagues….
Big hurdles : While it would be nice to just let the JLP’s Joan Gordon-Webley take out the tiresome Minister of Education Maxine Henry-Wilson some crumbs need to be thrown to the Peter Phillips camp who are still chewing over “what-might-have-been”……
“Paint the Town Red” (Brian Meeks)
Keeping himself in the background and on the road – nobody is more aware that he is neither telegenic nor good in front of a crowd. He is good in small groups, explaining policy and plans.
Keeping the young, the dynamic and the telegenic candidates like Chris Tufton, Shahine Robinson, Andrew Holness and Sally Porteous front and center.
Keeping the more dubious candidates (James Robertson and Daryl Vaz, this means you) in the background.
Running on the same platform as Portia (free education, roads, better and cheaper health care) while promising the middle and upper classes that he’ll deliver to the private sector.
Being careful that neither he nor his candidates attacks the Prime Minister personally – he doesn’t mind people loving Portia as long as they vote for him.
Bruce’s key strategy: Change, change, change. The PNP have had all the time in the world to create paradise, it’s not going to happen in the next five years, fling them out, put in the JLP.
Big hurdles: Out of control candidates like Joan Gordon Webley attacking the P.M. and Andrew Holness saying he wants to lock up the parents of delinquent children…..The need to counter P.N.P. stars like Peter Bunting and Trevor Munroe with a few stars of his own…..
“Inna Di Dancehall: Popular Culture and the Politics of Identity in Jamaica” (Donna P. Hope)
Those pollsters !!!
Just to ensure maximum debate and uncertainty, the three most recent polls contradict each other……….
Don Anderson says the parties are neck and neck
Bill Johnson gives the PNP a seven point lead
Mark Wignall gives the JLP a twelve point lead
The Stone Polls aren’t reporting yet (cynics would say that the results must not be pleasing to the Stone Poll’s new owners, The Jamaica Observer…..)
We can discount Mark Wignall on the grounds that he predicted a JLP win in 2002 as far back as 2001. The JLP did not win.
Bill Johnson wrongly predicted the outcome of the elections in St. Lucia, so that throws doubt on his present work in Jamaica. Pay no attention to Bill Johnson then.
Which leaves market researcher Don Anderson standing alone (and undiscredited) with the parties in a dead heat…..
“Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists” (Joel Best)
The rumour mill
The return of Mr. Bunting to active politics has stopped the flow of money to the JLP from the financial sector. Bunting is seen as a “safe pair of hands” at the Ministry of Finance..
The JLP is seeking the return of David Panton from Atlanta to counteract Bunting’s star quality…
Love of Portia in 2007 will turn out to be like Love of Michael Manley in 1980: worthless at the ballot box
And hovering over all is the ghost of Michael Manley (friend of D.K., tamer of Trevor, mentor to Portia and Peter, subject of David Panton’s biography…..)
As Prince Buster sang, What a hard man fe dead…..
“Jamaica’s Michael Manley: The Great Transformation (1972-92” (David Panton, Rex Nettleford)
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