The Prime Minister has said that public sector workers 65 and over should work from home and people over 75 are mandated to remain at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
This has led many to humorously question how the government will function given the fact that the majority of the island’s lawmakers are senior citizens.
But with a general election now likely to be called next year, many of the senior JLP MPs are the ones who can ensure the party returns to government and not become a one-term administration.
With a slender majority, the “old bulls” definitely made the difference in 2016, seeing to it that the JLP just about made it over the line.
The likes of Karl Samuda (78), Mike Henry (84), Pearnel Charles Sr (84), Delroy Chuck (67), Ed Bartlett (69), Audley Shaw (67) are proven constituency winners guaranteed to bring it on home.
‘You have a lot of young whipper-snappers prognosticating with their Microsoft spreadsheets, data from Facebook and all kinds of research… but yet still, they can’t win their seat.’—Senior politician
Take them out of the equation and there may be trouble ahead for the JLP. There are those that say Jamaican politics needs new blood and that the old guard has to go but at the end of the day the only currency that counts is winning and these oldtimers have done it time and time again. Many of them have hinted that they may leave the arena but it would be to the benefit of the party to go to battle one more time and secure the second term. It is unlikely that these older gentlemen will be dislodged from their strongholds in the next general election.
As one silver-haired political warrior recently told this writer: “You have a lot of young whipper-snappers prognosticating with their Microsoft spreadsheets, data from Facebook and all kinds of research on their phone but yet still, they can’t win their seat. You have to do the groundwork and know both your constituency and your constituents. A lot of these smart alecs aren’t prepared to do that. They all think they are Barack Obama. It’s not the audacity of hope that makes you a political winner in Jamaica.”