Fri | Apr 12, 2024

Final stretch

PNP, JLP upbeat heading into Monday

Published:Saturday | February 24, 2024 | 12:09 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
Dr Dayton Campbell, general secretary of the PNP.
Dr Dayton Campbell, general secretary of the PNP.
Dr Horace Chang, general secretary of the JLP.
Dr Horace Chang, general secretary of the JLP.

The general secretaries of the country’s two major political parties are oozing with confidence ahead of the political showdown on Monday when Jamaicans will decide who holds the reins in the 13 parish municipalities and the Portmore city municipality.

The top brass of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the opposition People’s National Party (PNP) have traversed the length and breadth of the island on the hustings, wooing the electorate in what is billed to be a high-stakes race that could give the winning party a bounce with the general election constitutionally due by 2025.

JLP General Secretary Dr Horace Chang told The Gleaner on Friday that his party base is motivated, adding that he expects a good showing from voters and favourable results on Monday.

Asked to react to the latest findings of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group-commissioned Don Anderson polls, which showed the JLP with a one-percentage-point lead over the PNP, Chang said that while he took note of the results, he carried out his own survey.

Chang argued that based on how polls are now conducted, he takes a broader look at the findings from various surveys to make his own assessment of the possible outcome of the elections.

He did not share his reading.

At the same time, Dr Dayton Campbell, the PNP’s general secretary, believes that the momentum is with his party, noting that the supporters have been energised.

“Our people are fully active. They are eager to go out there and cast their votes. We have been putting together our organisation over the last couple of months to ensure that our workers are trained and that the machinery will function optimally on the day, and I am confident that we have been able to do that in the critical areas that matter and we will be able to pull out our supporters on Monday,” he told The Gleaner.

Campbell said he had no concerns about the results of the Don Anderson polls showing a statistical dead heat between both parties. He noted that the findings will signal to his supporters that there is no place for complacency.

“For a party that lost an election 49 to 14 and trailing by 16 points at one point in time, for an opinion poll to come out three days before the election that shows a dead heat, it speaks to the work that has been done by the leader and other members of the team over the last three years,” he said.

“The Government is spending resources and they are not able to open a gap between themselves and us, so we are very encouraged,” he added.

The poll results show that 24 per cent of the electorate say they will vote for candidates belonging to the ruling JLP, while 23 per cent of respondents indicate that they will cast their ballots for the PNP. Only one per cent of registered voters signalled that they will vote for independent candidates.

Additionally, 26 per cent of eligible voters say they will not vote, while a similar percentage is unsure.

The poll was conducted between February 2 and 7, 2024, and has a sampling error of plus or minus three per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level. The team surveyed 1,010 registered voters.

Meanwhile, Campbell told The Gleaner that some PNP candidates have complained that persons have removed their billboards. He said they have filed complaints with the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), the body that now has responsibility to carry out the role of the political ombudsman.

However, Chang said he was not aware of any complaints made to the ECJ by any of his candidates or reports made to the commission about their conduct.

The Gleaner has been trying to reach ECJ Chairman Earl Jarrett to address matters concerning the election for several weeks. All our efforts have been unsuccessful.