This morning the Breakfast Club asked if the Prime Minister should call an election now. The almost universal consensus from callers was No Way ! No Election Now !
But does PM Bruce have any choice ? Since Daryl Vaz, who claims to have U.S. citizenship through his mother, has been ruled ineligible to sit in the House of Parliament, this means that, although no judge has yet ruled on the cases against Gregory Mair (JLP, St. Catherine) and Shahine Robinson(JLP, St.Ann), these M.P’s – who are dual citizens by their own act – are definitely ineligible. And there are cases pending against Michael Stern (JLP, Clarendon) and at least one other JLP MP (anyone remember who this is ?).
No matter how many PNP M.P.’s also have dual citizenship, this cannot concern the Prime Minister since he does not have any cases pending against these M.P.’s re their eligibility. In any case, these PNP M.P.’s (whoever they are) can make sure they do what Daryl Vaz has done belatedly – go to the U.S. Embassy and renounce their citizenship. Since PM Golding has to give at least 3 weeks notice of an election they will have ample warning.
Prime Minister Golding
Many callers this morning suggested that the Prime Minister just wait for each case to come up and then hold a by-election. He would be almost certain to keep his 4 seat majority if he does this.
But….But…..But…..I’m sure Mr. Golding would like to increase his majority. Some 31 of his 32 Members of Parliament are part of the government (18 Cabinet Ministers, 11 Ministers of State, 2 Parliamentary Secretaries). I think Gregory Mair is the JLP’s only back bencher…….. Which means that Bruce cannot discipline a single member of the Government without risking that person either crossing the floor or refusing to vote with the Government. Any unresolved Cabinet dispute could lead to the fall of the government.
His small majority puts some of the young men in the party – Daryl Vaz, James Robertson, Bobby Montague – in positions of overwhelming influence. Who or what can restrain them when they know that the Prime Minister cannot ?
Plus although there are PNP M.P.’s with tiny majorities ( D.K. Duncan) or small majorities (Peter Bunting, Derrick Kellier) there are also JLP M.P.’s who squeaked home (Tarn Peralto over Harry Douglas, St. Aubyn Bartlett over Trevor Munroe).
At this point, the pundits and pollsters agree that the JLP is unlikely to lose any election held soon, but all bets are off with (1) a new leader for the PNP (2) continued out of control food prices (3) continued out of control murder rate (4) any JLP corruption scandals – remember the first PNP scandals about furniture and such like, took place very early in the administration…….
I think Bruce has to call an election this year,whether he likes it or not, and this is what he has to figure out : When ?
When, will determine whether he runs against Portia or Peter Phillips.
And when may also determine whether the JLP wins or not.
So when will it be ? What’s your take on the date ?