Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Prime Minister Andrew Holness, has conceded that he is concerned about the party’s slip in recent public opinion polls, despite it being expected at the mid-term point of his Administration.
“… Yes, we’re concerned, but it’s not that we did not expect it,” said Holness in response to a question on his party’s performance in some opinion polls while he addressed a recent press conference from his office.
The latest poll, the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP)-commissioned Don Anderson poll, which was released in late June, showed the PNP leading the governing JLP by just over five percentage points, expanding its lead since a February opinion poll.
In one of his first public commentaries on the status of his party in the opinion polls, Holness said it was evident that some degree of “electoral fatigue” has set in midway the JLP’s second consecutive term in office.
“The fatigue is genuine on both sides of the equation, meaning that we went through a hundred-year event (the COVID-19 pandemic), which diverted the energy and creativity and attention of the Cabinet to focus almost solely and wholly on that… just to ensure that the country came out strong afterwards,” he explained.
Even though the country emerged strong from the pandemic’s challenges, Holness said the focus by citizens tended to be on what has not yet been delivered by the Government.
Inflation, he said, has also played a role in exacerbating the electoral fatigue.
“Apart of our response has to be a recalibration in how we communicate.
“We can’t take it for granted that people understand what is happening, so we have to very explicit in our communication to the people,” he declared.
While the lagging effects of the pandemic lingers and affects areas such as health, water and road construction projects, Holness said that “the immediate needs that are now pressing, we have to now address those.”
He pointed to efforts being made to to overhaul the PATH and ramping up the Government’s back-to-school assistance programme, all of which are geared towards helping the most vulnerable in society who are most impacted by inflation.