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Dr. Peter David Phillips was one of our Secret Weapons …” JLP Chair Hon. Robert Monaque

Breaking Jamaican News

Photo: Dr. Peter Phillips

On October 30, 2017 an historic by-election was held which was won by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) beating the People’s National Party (PNP) by some 1000 votes from a 5 votes win by the PNP in the 2016 General Elections.

Reacting to the failure of the PNP to convince voters of Southeast St. Mary to support their party to victory …. JLP Chairman and National Security Minister said “We have two secret weapons which we used in the Southeast St Mary by-election 2017.

There is naturally the usual post mortem of the recently held by-election polls especially in St. Mary Southeast.  The media and other interested parties, say the political parties themselves have an interest in such matters, hence such post event analysis, study and, interviews. Southeast St Mary’s just concluded by-election that was won handsomely by the governing JLP.

Secret Weapon

The secret weapons identified by Montague were PM Andrew Michael Holness, JLP and Dr. Peter David Phillips and his candidate selection as Opposition Leader/PNP. It is not Andrew we are eager to learn about, but instead Peter Phillips who is 15 percent behind Andrew Holness in recent opinion poll published just prior to the October 30 by-election.


Images of Dr. Peter Phillips arriving by helicopter in St. Mary Southeast is quite a contrast to the JLP’s Andrew Michael Holness walking barefooted across a river in Chesterfield, St. Southeast Constituency.  This is the reality on the ground there as there is no foot or other bridge for the community to use to go across the river as they go about their daily lives. The situation there is rough and by accepted modern social standards “backward”


PM Andrew Holiness appeared as “one of them” with trousers rolled up and barefooted … it was great optics when compared with Dr. Peter Phillips arriving from on high to the ground in an helicopter. JLP was always protrayed as the “high up” political party. This historic image has been rubbished by Holness in 2017 in Southeast St. Mary.

Figures Do Not Lie

The PNP seem not to have learnt anything from 1976 and in their 2016 General Election loss which was followed by their Local Government election defeat to the JLP.  The PNP lost 11 seats it held in Parliament, and now one more in St. Mary Southeast. So from 21 seats held by the JLP prior to the 2016 General election campaign to now 33 in 2017. FOR THE JLP (21 +12 =33) compared with the PNP then 42 seats held in 2016 to now 30 in 2017 in Parliament out of 63 … PNP has lost big time … 12 seats on the trot.

Voters want to relate to real people they can identify with. The JLP has been able to do this in St. Mary Southeast hence they being the winners.Candidate selection also must have been a factor as Dr. Norman Dunn, a local boy compared to Dr. Shane Alexis, a Canadian national who was not even a Jamaican … just a Commonwealth citizen.Although not illegal this fact was used effectively against the PNP.

In my perspective this was in  fact the not so secret weapon (s). What is your perspective?  This is yours. Let us hear from you.

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Political Analysis/Correspondent & photojournalist  for Vision Newspaper.

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