Why The PNP Can and Will Win West Portland

General public perception is that the  Jamaica Labour Party’s  (JLP) Daryl Vaz is a strong candidate in the West Portland by election resulting from the dual citizenship debacle and is certain to win the seat. This perception is a fallacy, based on ‘spin’ not fact.

Since the general election of September 2007, the former member of parliament has been carefully positioned. He has continued to maintain a prominent national profile, an image that has been carefully crafted, cultivated and nurtured.

What are the facts about the former MP’s standings in the constituency of West Portland?

Polling data, the People’s National Party’s (PNP) empirical findings, analysis and ‘soundings’ on the ground in the constituency indicate that Daryl Vaz is not as popular as the JLP has made him out to be.

FACT: The constituency is in a statistical dead heat.

The party commissioned Market Research Limited to conduct a poll in West Portland. The polls are also popularly branded as Don Anderson polls. It is important to note that Don Anderson has emerged as the leading, most trusted and credible pollster in Jamaica.

The objective data signals the PNP’s positive standing in the West Portland by-election.

The poll was conducted and completed in February 2009 and used a sample size of 451. The margin of error is 4 per cent. The findings represent a sample summary of the poll. Most of the charts are self-explanatory.

Chart 1 demonstrates that by a margin of 21 per cent, the majority of respondents (49 per cent) believe the country is going in the wrong direction.

It is clear that there has been a shift away from the JLP since the last election. Many people who voted and supported the JLP in the 2007 general election are now disappointed and ‘turned-off’ by failed the promises of the JLP government.

Chart 1
Chart 1

Chart 2 shows that 45 per cent of the respondents believe the PNP would do the best job of running the country. This chart should be read in conjunction with the first chart. Again there is a shift away from the JLP after being in office for only 18 months.

Chart 2
Chart 2

Chart 3 demonstrates that both parties are in a statistical dead heat.

It is important to place this chart in context. The JLP Government has poured an unprecedented amount of government resources in West Portland over the last 18 months to solidify Vaz’s candidacy. As much as $300 million of government resources have been spent in the constituency over a short period of time, through various projects. Given this level of expenditure, one would expect the JLP to be way ahead of the PNP.

The PNP enjoys very strong support within the constituency. The spend by the JLP administration has not translated into voter support. The figures also continue to reflect the trend towards general disaffection with the JLP administration, based on its consistently poor performance.

Chart 3
Chart 3

Chart 4 is, perhaps, the most significant. The JLP’s main communication message for this by-election campaign is to highlight the ‘performance’ of Daryl Vaz over the last 18 months as Member of Parliament.

Vaz has cultivated a national perception of continuing to work in the constituency through his high media profile. The chart below demonstrates that the constituents of West Portland do not share this view. A total of 32 per cent of respondents believe he is doing a bad job. An astonishing 47 per cent say they don’t know and only 21 per cent believe he is doing a good job.

Chart 4
Chart 4




  • The data is a clear indication of the PNP’s strong support in the constituency of West Portland.
  • The data destroys the perception of the invincibility of Daryl Vaz.
  • The data indicates that Vaz’s popularity in the constituency is manufactured and manipulated. Vaz’s team has used media to godfather him into a place of perceived strength.
  • The data indicates that the basis of the former MP’s popularity is not real contact with the people of West Portland, but is instead through external communication and resource strength.
  • The JLP’s campaign, based on the performance of Vaz as MP over the last 18 months is a fallacy.
  • The constituents of West Portland do not view him as a performer.
  • The election is a wide-open contest.
  • The PNP’s organisation is fully mobilised and is confident of victory on March 23.

Julian J. Robinson, is a PNP vice-president and chairman of the its South East St. Andrew constituency

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What I find quite interesting and revealing regarding this research/analysis/polling data or soundings from the ground, is that no comparative analysis or projection has been addressed with respect to the two candidates competing against each other for the highly politically heated and charged West Portland constituency. Interestingly, the data does not indicate or show the comparative popularity of the two candidates, i.e., Mr. Daryl Vaz (JLP) and Mr. Kenneth Rowe (PNP) vis-a- vis the West Portland electorate/voters.

One would have thought that a more effective analysis would certainly entail both individuals contesting for the seat, as opposed to just focusing on the following data: (1) Direction country is going; (2) Party that would do the best job running country; (3) Party they would vote for to form the next government; and (4) Rating performance of current member of parliament.

Indeed, the aforementioned questions are critically important, but to totally negate the two personalities involved in the actual race is definitely questionable. One is of the perspective, that a poll should be commissioned or conducted which compares both candidates against each other, with respect to their goals, plans and objectives for West Portland. Because in a beauty contest – election – of this nature, personalities and other idiosyncrasies cannot be cavalierly dismissed, and interestingly, such characteristics will not be capriciously eschewed by constituency voters. Hopefully, a future poll, conducted prior to March 23rd, will actually address the question of how West Portland voters feel, or, which of the two candidates they will send to Gordon House. Specifically, in light of the fact that chart three shows a dead even race between the JLP and the PNP with respect to forming the next government. Subjectively, this one may not be an easy one to call and may defy standardized polling. Nuff respect!!


Keep dreaming…

Richard G. Williams

The writer makes a gross error by presenting poll data on general elections, charts 1-3. Such an approach generally fails as even though a constituency may not be happy with national policy and/or trends, they may be content with local representation.

In other words, if this were a general election, there is a possibility that the PNP through Rowe (an unknown entity) could upset Vaz (a known and tested entity), but as this is a by-election, the recently elected MP has the advantage – the incumbent effect.

Chart 4 must be carefully interpreted as only one-thirds of the respondents are not in favor of Vaz, while two-thirds were in Vaz’s favor or undecided. Incumbents normally carry the “don’t know” (undecided) respondents unless they violated the public trust. Further, no poll question(s) evaluated the challenger, Rowe. Therefore, there is no basis to conclude that the challenger could get the majority of undecided voters.

Because this will be a by-election, voter turn-out will be expectedly very low, thereby giving the advantage to the incumbent. Rowe needs a great “get out the vote” campaign to win. However, the PNP will learn (like the JLP did) not to field an unknown.

A case in point is Harbour View in the 1980s that was historically a PNP stronghold. Even though the charismatic PM Michael Manley campaigned for an unknown candidate, the JLP’s calm and confident Edmund Bartlett convincingly won.


Richard G. Williams, Specialist
Evaluation & Test Development (School District of Palm Beach County) and
Erstwhile Professor of Political Science/Public Administration (FIU, FMC, MDC)

Richard G. Williams

I agree that the court decisions, in my lay opinion, were incorrect and constructivist – courts must never make law. Further, there is nothing in the JA Constitution that forbids dual national’s service. In fact, the JA Constitution is built by and upon Dual Nationality. This is furthered by us all being eligible citizens of the Commonwealth and CARICOM. Jamaica is also a signatory to the UN conventions that recognize dual nationals – the US is one of only a few nations that disregard or ignore dual citizenship.

Prior to 9-11, JA migrants did not have to get US citizenship to handle their affairs such as opening a bank account, obtaining a driver’s license, getting retirement benefits, etc. In the aftermath of 9-11, the US tightened its immigration and social security laws forcing migrants to seek US citizenship to maintain their benefits. Therefore, due care must taken to avoid disenfranchising JA nationals in the Diaspora, especially as we consider granting them the right to vote wherever they “positively” reside.

A key issue is the definition of a “foreign” power which should be interpreted as a nation against democratic principles (e.g. Axis Powers, dictatorships, etc.). I strongly believe that the framers of the JA constitution did not consider Britain to be a “foreign” power (i.e., not connected or pertinent, or occurring abnormally). If the GGs and Chief Justices in our commonweal can be dual nationals as a Canadian GG from Haiti, or Jamaican Justice Ira Rowe as Chief Justice of Belize, then those rules contradict our constitution.

An appeal to the “London” Privy Council may resolve this issue. The local ruling centers on fairness and recognizes that the petitioner did not win a majority (over half; 50% + 1) of the votes. Thus, a precedent is now set to go to the people to resolve issues when Parliament does not act, and it eliminates plurality (when a candidate is nominated or elected by the minority). I recommended this to the Joint Select Committee of the Houses of Parliament in “Amendments to the Jamaican Constitution Proposals” (1991).

In summary, the courts should have ruled the anti-dual national rule un-constitutional, especially as Vaz is a “natural” Jamaican citizen rather than try to resolve the question by making law which ignored the “custom and usage” of dual national’s public service in high offices. Finally, this is in sharp contrast to UN conventions as the local court’s ruling implicitly upholds blocking duly nominated and Electoral Office qualified persons (i.e., experienced and/or highly trained Jamaicans) from serving their country.

Give Us Vision Lest We Perish
(han stap falla fashin han bee hin red hi)

Richard G. Williams

Mark Lee

Wikipedia is never to be cited as gospel but it lists the following countries as not recognizing dual citizenship: China, Denmark, Japan, Singapore and India. The entry on the topic further states: “Many countries, even those that “permit” dual or multiple citizenship, do not “recognize” dual or multiple citizenship under their laws: individuals are treated either as citizens of that country or not, and their citizenship with respect to other countries is considered to have no bearing. This can mean (e.g., in Iran, Mexico, many Arab countries, former Soviet republics) that consular officials abroad may not have access to their citizens if they also hold local citizenship.”

The matter in Jamaica however, does not revolve merely on dual citizenship but whether that citizenship entails swearing allegiance to another government. It seems perfectly clear to me that no country should want anyone in its parliament who is sword to protect and obey another government. It makes no sense to exempt some countries except in a case where a federal or other arrangement exists.

Many of the emotional supporters of allowing in parliament persons who have sworn to another country are doing so solely from the selfish position of having their cake and eating it too. If they so love and want to serve their country at a high political level, what is the difficulty in committing only to said homeland?

Richard G. Williams

From the very practical standpoint that Jamaicans have historically been a migrant people who often travel abroad to earn funds to support their families, community, and nation. As a result of this pattern, remittances are as large as ALL the island’s exports combined. Further, the JA telephone services became a net earner of foreign exchange due to communication with overseas Jamaicans such that the UK-based Cable & Wireless did not hesitate to purchase the JTC. This addresses the informal/hidden sectors…

Whether as a stow-away to Great Britain to get an education and/or experience that Jamaica would not or could not afford them, or to rise to be the CEO of the richest bank in the world, Bank of Oman, Jamaicans have humbly and proudly served their nation from every corner of the world. It is the local-based Jamaicans who want to have the cake that they did not prepare and eat it all – constantly begging, stealing, and killing returning Jamaicans (i.e., barrel culture and ghetto mentality).

My mother (nursing) and father (telephony) and their cohort had no choice but to leave their “born yah” birth land that insisted on maintaining archaic, gender, class, and racial discriminatory rules that disenfranchised the Black JA masses. In their time, so-called illegitimate children or those from broken families had no rights. Further, rural folk were despised and discriminated against (Dulcemina). Migrant Jamaicans endured hostile and de jure discrimination in “foreign” to gain an education, funds, and experience in an advanced nation, they never hesitated to transfer back to JA upon independence.

As stated in a previous comment, once the duly elected person takes the oath of office, he/she automatically breaks all previous oaths; hence, the issue of previously swearing allegiance to another government is moot. If a sitting member of parliament takes a vow to another nation while in office, then that person can be ruled ineligible to serve.

By narrowly limiting the issue to an oath, you MUST also invalidate all Acts and governments of independent JA that have sworn allegiance to Her Majesty, Her Heirs, and Successors. I strongly believe that was not the intent of the framers of the JA constitution, many of whom were dual nationals serving in parliament at that time.

I also firmly maintain that we should not have jumped on the political “bandwagon” of a few Caribbean states and blindly entertained Dabdoub’s indignant refusal to once again, in yet another party, refuse to accept the will of the “Jamaican people” as mandated in a relatively free, fair, and orderly election for which he did not earn a majority of the vote.

Just because Dabdoub chose to use the legal system does not make his claim legitimate. Shylock in the Merchant of Venice tried the same to get his pound of flesh from a struggling man, but Lady Justice “Portia” Mc Calla fixed Dabdoub’s business good… Next on the progressive agenda: dealing with police brutality and domestic violence while enhancing and improving our electoral and legal systems.

Yeah, a Daniel Come to Judgment!

Mark Lee

Is this what you really think about Jamaicans who live on the island?:”It is the local-based Jamaicans who want to have the cake that they did not prepare and eat it all – constantly begging, stealing, and killing returning Jamaicans (i.e., barrel culture and ghetto mentality).”

If that is the case what’s your interest in ruling over them having sworn commitment to another government?

I like your approach to oaths: they mean nothing. You swear or affirm one in one place and as it suits your cause you take another which you pretend will automatically invalidate the other. I wonder why the US can pursue draft dodgers who move to second countries to avoid military service?

Richard G. Williams

No; I do not “think” that of all persons living in JA; it is what I have “observed” for over 40 years of living in JA. But that observation is not new and it has been documented by many JA-resident researchers and commentators even in the Abeng. It is also not a figment of our imagination but stark realities for which overseas Jamaicans who desire to return home and/or directly serve have to carefully consider.

Your last comment drew this cold, hard truth regarding the general atmosphere in JA. Your narrowly focused statements omit the real dangers of living, serving, and investing in our homeland. It also blindly omits the reasons why good thinking and talented Jamaicans chose or had to migrate. Some were told at gun point to leave their homes and possessions that they worked hard to acquire, build, and maintain.

While “foreign” is not a bed of roses and many had to start from the bottom to get back to near the status they had in JA, you can always count on not having the door to your home kicked down in the middle of the night by police who shoot first and kill anyone who questions them including children, or having you farm or business raided by praedal larcenist who drive big trucks on your property and kill you if you dear protest.

(Yes; no where is perfect, but this is a general truth)

Most oaths include statements that the respondent swears to renounce other previously made oaths that are contrary to the new oath (e.g., marital vows). Many oaths primarily affirm universal principles such as to serve diligently, well, and with total commitment. The major point you missed is that all our JA governments since independence have sworn allegiance to a foreign power, the monarch of England!

If you are aware that Wikipedia is not an authentic source, then you should not use it to counter or contradict statements. Documentation from the US State Department all but state that dual citizenship is not recognized in or out of the US. Citizenship derives many rights including the right to vote and participate in government; the right to own and dispose of property; and the right to move and work within a territory or region.

Draft dodgers who became citizens of another country cannot be pursued. Last year NPR presented a documentary on this issue. While the dodgers objected to the given war(s), they still believed in their nation, and in so doing, did not renounce their citizenship. Many had no choice but to leave the US as their ability to object and remain and serve was limited – these objections have been expanded and most are retroactive.

(We are talking about soldiers who witnessed the brutal killing of unarmed, innocent, foreign civilians including women and children. Their ability to transfer was nil, and they could have been summarily executed for desertion during a battle.)

Whether I reside in JA or not, I will never fear to write and/or speak what I have duly observed or whole heartedly believe. The truth shall set us free.


Nice article, but false. Today has proven so

Oliver Hunter

Is it safe to assume that Julian Robinson will in the future spare us his “quality analysis” of likely outcomes in bye elections? His brilliance on this one will shine for many contests to come. If there is a vacancy for a skilled data analyst, for obvious reasons Mr. Robinson need not apply!

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