The Numbers that matter – JLP election

Sunday, the 10th day of November will be a big day for the seventy year old Opposition Jamaica Labour Party, JLP. Cowardice has never been one of my many vices or virtues but where the variables are so uncertain, a prediction should not be attempted. This blog will show why I have decided to keep sound bone and not call the JLP election.

5105 delegates of the party are eligible to vote for either incumbent leader – Andrew Holness or for his challenger, Audley Shaw. 

Audley Shaw, challenger (left), Andrew Holness, incumbent, (right)

The party, whose members liberally use the word ‘democracy’ is undergoing a process of leader selection unfamiliar to its members. Theirs is a history of leader selection by ordination or agreement. Hence Audley Shaw’s introduction of this new democratic strand of leader selection has been unwelcomed by hardcore Holness supporters such as rockstone labourites – Pearnel Charles and Babsy Grange.

Pearnel Charles

Babsy Grange

Here’s my calculation of those raw numbers and where those with an interest in the process and outcome of the election should look.

The party is sectioned into four Area Councils.

  • Area Council 1 – Kingston and St Andrew – has approximately 1070 delegates
  • Area Council 2 – St. Catherine, St. Mary and St. Thomas – has approximately 1500 delegates.
  • Area Council 3 – Clarendon, St. Ann and Manchester has approximately 1100 delegates.
  • Area Council 4 – Trelawny, St. James, Hanover, St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland has approximately 1100 delegates.

The JLP currently holds 21 of 63 seats in the lower House of Parliament or 331/3% of that house. All 21 Members of Parliament have shown their hand for either Andrew Holness or Audley Shaw. Here’s my calculation of the delegate numbers in the 21 constituencies. If the delegates in those constituencies vote for the candidate of the choosing of the MPs then by my calculation, Andrew Holness would lead Audley Shaw in those 21 constituencies by 486 delegates. Here are the numbers:


  1. Desmond McKenzie – 164;
  2. Dr. Ken Baugh – 91;
  3. Everard Warmington – 110;
  4. Shahine Robinson -119;
  5. J. C. Hutchinson – 72;
  6. Dr. Andrew Wheatley – 123;                       TOTAL FOR HOLNESS =1295 
  7. Pearnel Charles – 113;
  8. Derrick Smith – 89;
  9. Karl Samuda – 95;
  10. Dr. Horace Chang – 80;
  11. Babsy Grange – 146;
  12. Andrew Holness – 93.


  1. Delroy Chuck – 81;
  2. Marissa Dalrymple-Phillibert – 85;
  3. Rudyard Spencer – 97;
  4. James Roberston – 105;
  5. Daryl Vaz – 88;                                                         TOTAL FOR SHAW= 809
  6. Gregory Mair – 70;
  7. Mike Henry – 113;
  8. Ed Bartlett – 72;
  9. Audley Shaw – 98

Shaw begins at a 486 delegate deficit in the 21 constituencies held by the JLP if and only if the delegates vote 100% in line with the MPs in those constituencies. However we have seen in recent years that delegates have displayed high levels of independence and make different choices from their MPs.

In Karl Samuda’s St. Andrew North Central, we have seen where at least one member of the local government caucus has indicated her support for Shaw though Samuda supports Holness.


This election will be won or lost in the 42 seats over which constituency coordinators or caretakers have tremendous control.

These are the numbers:

  • 21 constituencies held by JLP now = 2081 delegates
  • 42 constituencies controlled by caretakers etc = 2782 delegates

In other words, the so-called ‘losers’ of the 2011 general election can be the big ‘winners’ for the 2013 JLP internal election. It is losers of the last election who are now called either constituency coordinators or caretakers.

A 2011 ‘loser’ such as Dr. Christopher Tufton in South West St. Elizabeth is holding a bag of 102 delegates! As caretaker for that constituency, he has more delegates count than six of the MPs now declared for Andrew Holness (make your own comparison with the list above) including Andrew Holness who has 93 delegates to give himself. Dr. Tufton has more delegate count than seven of the MPs who have declared for Shaw including Shaw himself! The same is true for 2011 ‘loser’ Joan Gordon-Webley who like Dr. Tufton, has 102 delegates in St. Andrew East Rural.

The winner of tomorrow’s election will be the person who has been smart enough to get his team on the ground with silent majority that is the 2011 ‘losers’. The fact that Holness has the support of the majority of the MPs will NOT be THE deciding factor.

Marlene Malahoo Forte won ran in Central Westmoreland, if she is the constituency coordinator or caretaker, she has 91 delegates.

Marlene Malahoo Forte

We have not heard as much as a peep out of her in this election and who she is supporting, if anyone.


Every mickle mek a muckle – Five affiliate groups of the JLP have a total of 237 delegates to contribute. These five affiliates groups and their numbers are:

  1. Bustamante Indutrial Trade Union (BITU) – 100;
  2. Women’s Freedom Movement – 38;
  3. Young Jamaica – 40;                                                   TOTAL = 237
  4. Central Executive – 20;
  5. Generation 2000 (G2K) – 39

The Women’s Freedom Movement has declared support for Shaw. I am uncertain as to whether this means all 38 delegates will vote Shaw or some will be free to vote for the candidate of their choosing.

This is a classic case of when the ‘losers’ hold to key to deciding the winner.


My one request of the JLP – in the future, when deciding a date for your internal elections, please check the schedule of the Barclays Premium League. A clash of dates with Arsenal is never a sensible choice. We have more than 5105 delegates – more than both Holness and Shaw combined could have!

May the smarter man win…


About emilyshields

Attorney-at-Law, Partner -Gifford Thompson & Shields; Broadcast Journalist; Host of RJR's Hotline -; Gunner Twitter- @emilymshields
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2 Responses to The Numbers that matter – JLP election

  1. i thought i recognized that forehead =) ….such a beauty ……oh and nice articles Ms Crooks

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