Published today at Labour Uncut
While Britain slept off its Christmas excess, Jamaica went to the polls on 29 December. Overnight, result after progressive result rolled in as the votes were counted.
The scale of victory for the People’s National Party (PNP), the main left-wing grouping, was a surprise. Poll after poll in the last weeks had shown the election on a knife-edge, with most showing the governing right-wingers slightly ahead.
In the event, it was a contest of policies and records. Poverty had skyrocketed under the incumbents, who also faced negative publicity from their connections with Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, the drug dealer who made global headlines last year when the island’s government refused to extradite him to the US.
But behind all this lies a remarkable woman: Portia Simpson-Miller. Despite her youthful appearance and manner, she has been on the country’s political scene for the best part of three and a half decades, entering parliament seven years before Tony Blair first graced the green benches.