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Andrew Holness

With a razor thin majority and recounting of marginally won seats on the way, PM-Designate is anxious to consolidate his grip on power. The former PM and Opposition Leader Holness has a cabinet to name and a new budget to be crafted by April 1, 2016. Promises made re new income tax threshold to J$1.5 million needs to be factored in these projections so as to maintain credibility. Workers are anxiously waiting for corresponding raise in salaries that this could usher into their pockets.

Portia Simpson Miller, outgoing PM has promised to be vigilant and is likely to place considerable pressure in an attempt to capitalize on the razor thin majority of the Andrew Led JLP majority government.

Crossing the Aisle

There is the potential for vigourous debates in parliament and for the PNP in Opposition with a large number of seats to flex it’s political muscle.

There is the other scenario where a PNP member or two may cross the floor of the House to swell the Government’s majority. Crossing the floor has happened before on both sides of the aisle. The late Madam Rose Leon and current serving recently reelected MP Karl Samuda now JLP have switched from PNP to JLP and both were well received in the JLP.

We hope history repeats itself. An MP named Parchment did cross the Aisle from JLP to PNP.

Interesting days are ahead … compromise, vigilance, skillful negotiations and statesmanship may well have to be the way to govern.


Holness and team met with Financial Secretary Devon Rowe and Permanent Secretaries to iron out guidelines for transition. The holders of diplomatic passports and high end motor vehicles (SUVS) mainly have been asked to park such vehicles.

Lisa Hanna, former Youth Minister in the PNP government has already returned her diplomatic passport … so has Julian Robinson, Energy ministry and Orlando Brown, of the foreign ministry have followed Hanna’s lead. Holness has promised to cease the policy of selling vehicles to ex Permanent Secretaries and ex ministers when there is a change in administration. Some J$60 million were used to purchase high end vehicles when this outgwoing PNP administration took office in 2012. Holness wants to outlaw this practice/policy as there was public outcry that such was extravagance.

Jamaica has always smoothly changed our governments in accordance with our Constitution … we hope no one is tempted to be like the IVORY COAST.


Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a keen political watcher and also Senior International Correspondent & photojournalist for Vision Newspaper Canada.

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