Who would have thought that fairytales had a place in Jamaican Politics? Just when you think you have seen or read it all, something like this happens that reminds us we haven’t. I reckon that this race for East Rural St Andrew between Senator Imani Duncan-Price and wife of the Opposition Leader, Juliet Holness will be one for the history books. I think both women are poised to do extremely well in their bids, win or lose.
I must applaud Mrs Holness for her courage, as it must take some serious grit to want to contend for one of the biggest constituencies in Jamaica; and traditionally one of the hardest for either party to get a hold of. Being a first timer to the arena of representational politics, this must be a lot for her to digest in one gulp I’d imagine. Imani has something of an advantage one would imagine, having served in the Senate for over three years now, and having a political stalwart like Dr D.K Duncan as her daddy, mentor and manager in this process.
But I caution you not to see Mrs Holness’s seemingly empty track record as any indication that she’s unfit to win, or let alone lead the constituency. One thing I’ve realized about our politics (and it’s probably the same anywhere else in the world) is that we have a lot of geniuses working behind the scenes of these big political parties. I’m talking the brains and tacticians behind these fancy candidate campaigns, and my research has led me to conclude that Juliet Holness is one of these people. Look at Andrew Holness, and how quickly he climbed the ranks of the Jamaica Labour Party, to become second in line to the then Prime Minister Bruce Golding. Not even Audley Shaw stood a chance against him, being the more seasoned politician that he is.
But it wasn’t Andrew’s doing alone. No, he must have had someone close in his corner that kept him in check, believed in his bold pursuit of power and invested in his holistic development to get there. He had his Juliet, and together they climbed up the ladder boldly; with she behind him in the background ensuring he doesn’t fall to his demise. This will undoubtedly be Mrs. Holness’s biggest marketing strategy; that “behind every strong man there’s an even stronger woman” card that will have all of East Rural St Andrew fall in love with her magic. If she plays her cards just right, she could give Mrs. Duncan-Price a serious run for her money.
But don’t expect her Romeo to be of much a help to her now that the tables have turned. If he could give himself completely, I am sure he would but not while trying to get Jamaicans to buy into his Poverty to Prosperity campaign. He will need to give his all the next of couple months if he is to stand a chance against ‘Mama P’, and Juliet understands this. With Mommy and Daddy so busy, I just hope their sons have a good nanny to play substitute parents in these coming months.
But what about Stephen Price? The Husband to Imani whom I hope is preparing to be involuntarily lunged into the spotlight very soon. Will he be of much help to his wife in her bid for power? Or has he decided to hold down the fort while wifey’s out fighting a war? Will the birth of baby Selah Price in July 2015 be a hindrance or support to Duncan-Price’s chances at victory? Only time will tell.
Regardless of the support each has, and will be getting, this constituency is guaranteed to be a marginal win. I mean here are two beautiful, strong, successful mothers and wives whom will be fighting to convince the East Rural St. Andrew electorate that each is different from the other in a better way. People might say Mrs. Duncan-Price already has it in the bag because of her support system in the PNP (inclusive of the incumbent Damion Crawford), her flashy international resume in advocacy and business or the Miss Jamaica World title she copped some 20 years ago. But Mrs. Holness is a wealthy woman, having made her fortune being a realtor on the international housing market and many would say prosperity is definitely on her side (and embodied in a 300 million dollar mansion). It begs the question therefore, will the people of East rural St Andrew choose to prosper with Juliet? or stay the course with Imani?
Bottom Line: What will really matter now is how well each candidate connects with the constituents between now and Election Day. There’s a large cohort of objective, smart, YOUNG people registered to vote in this constituency that are just waiting to be wowed so the candidates must exercise serious caution in the promises they make to them. These people, if encouraged properly, will represent the swing vote; so getting their endorsement will mean making a strong and effective first impression and setting ambitious, realistic and inclusive objectives for the constituency. Take it from me, I’m one of them.