Holness says his victory is a signal to the Gov’t – News

ANDREW Holness yesterday ended all speculation about his leadership of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP),

defeating challenger Audley Shaw by close to 700 votes and immediately declaring that his convincing win was a signal to the Government that the JLP was ready to re-assume power whenever fresh elections are called.

“Let this be a signal to the People’s National Party (PNP) that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is rebuilding; that the Jamaica Labour Party is renewing itself; that the Jamaica Labour Party is preparing to be the next Government of Jamaica when the elections are called,” Holness told a huge crowd of supporters in the National Stadium car park after the election results were announced.

Holness, who has been dubbed ‘Prince Andrew’ by supporters, polled 2,704 votes to Shaw’s 2,012.

Waves of Labourites, mostly women and youths dressed in green T-shirts bearing Holness’s image, created a sea of support right across the Stadium’s huge car park.

They sang and danced throughout the electoral process to loud music blaring from a green-coloured truck, which continually interjected Holness’s dancehall favourite, Nah Follow Nobody by Chronixx, while the crowd chanted, “Ah Andrew wi seh”.

At one stage a crowd of Shaw supporters blocked Holness’s procession to the voting booths, but they were quickly swept away by Holness supporters. This halted the voting process for approximately 10 minutes, until the security managed to get Holness through an exit from the car park into the National Arena, where he eventually voted, accompanied by his wife and security personnel.

After casting his vote, Holness told reporters that the day was a happy one for all Labourites.

“Coming through the crowd, I sensed the jubilation of the delegates, and the average Labourite. I think that they felt proud that the party could have conducted this landmark election incident-free, and I think that they sense that there is renewal in the offing for the Jamaica Labour Party,” he said.

Holness said that the Labourites also sensed that, with the settlement of the leadership argument, the party now stands an excellent chance of forming the next Government.

He said that the JLP delegates are looking to the future, and want to see a new paradigm emerge in Jamaican politics, adding that whether or not their view is influenced by intellectual assessment of the issues, or layman’s intuitiveness, all Jamaicans should agree with them.

“I think that all Jamaicans would agree that Jamaica needs renewal and rebirth,” Holness said.

Asked whether he felt that he would be the leader to take on this mission, Holness said that he has committed his entire political life to the process.

Later, after the results were revealed, showing that he had trounced Shaw by 692 votes, Holness congratulated his challenger, first for taking the loss in stride, and the delegates, supporters, the party machinery, and the Electoral Office of Jamaica for the success of the process, which was a first time for the JLP.

“We have proven that this party has political talent greater than any political party in Jamaica. And when we join forces no political party can beat us,” Holness said.

He acknowledged that he knew that Labourites were concerned about the chances of the party reuniting after the tense leadership campaign. However, he accepted that “unity starts with the leader”.

“This leader commits to you, the delegates of the party, that I will do everything within my power to make sure that the party is united,” he stated.

He suggested that the best way for the party to become reunited is to get back into the field and start paying attention to the grass roots.

“I commit to you to ensure that the Jamaica Labour Party will always stay connected and committed to the people of the party,” he said.

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