Outrage on Twitter as Jamaicans watch hundreds attend JLP motorcade in Mandeville

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has a mammoth political sprint on his hands as the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) seeks a second term as government in a snap general election in the coming weeks. (Photo: Facebook @AndrewHolnessJM)

Jamaican Twitter users are calling for more accountability from Prime Minister Andrew Holness after clips of a massive motorcade in Mandeville showed widespread and alarming breaches of social distancing on Saturday night (August 22).

Holness, shoring up support for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and its candidate for Manchester Central Rhoda Crawford, toured through sections of the constituency yesterday afternoon, with the motorcade ‘climaxing’ in the parish capital.

The political drive-through had earlier touched several Manchester communities including Bellefield, Royal Flat and Comfort.

Mandeville’s town centre was transformed into a sea of green, and at the strike of 7:00 pm, when Holness rang a bell atop the motorcade, Labourites shouted ‘Showa’ and ‘BroGad’ in a fevered frenzy.

The usually bustling Caledonia Road was lined on both sides with people clamouring to get a glimpse of Holness, who delivered on his promise that motorcades would not be allowed to stop amid the rise on coronavirus cases in recent days.

The video has had a polarising effect on Twitter users, some who felt in any case, with Jamaicans refusing to observe social distancing, respect quarantine orders, or properly wearing masks, the ‘recipe for disaster’ was already building for a rise in cases.

So much conversation swirled around the JLP, that party and the town of Mandeville have become trending topics, and remain so on Sunday.

Others have called on both the JLP and the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) to agree on and stand by a strategy that allows them to campaign in a manner that safeguards as many as lives (and votes) as possible.

More still, want political motorcades discontinued as they reckon the nature and past traditions of Jamaica’s political landscape wouldn’t instantly change in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

That, however, did not stop the Jamaican Twitterati from expressing grave concerns at the sheer number of people seen ignoring social distancing protocols as well as those not wearing face masks in Manchester’s largest town.

There are growing concerns that Jamaica’s climbing COVID-19 rate may continue to hit dangerous, potentially deadly highs as the island confirmed 67 new cases on Saturday—leaving the national tally at 1,413.

The political trail is intensifying leading to the September 3 general election, as Crawford is seeking to unseat three-term PNP incumbent Peter Bunting.