At the start of 2020 speculation began that the year would hold many things for Jamaica, including a general election.
Early on political pundits began suggesting a date when Prime Minister Andrew Holness would announce that the country would go to the polls.
But on March 10 when the first positive COVID -19 case was identified everything changed for Jamaica, including speculation about the general elections.
This is the Covid 19 elections. A first in many ways.
Dubs, the virtual media briefings, the wearing of masks and social distancing dominated the 2020 General Elections campaign.
The usual motorcades, curried goat and mass meetings associated with the political campaign season were tempered by the COVID19-pandemic.
In a bid to reach voters, candidates resorted to the use of popular culture.
Several politicians engaged the services of entertainers who voiced dub plates endorsing their candidacy.
The guessing game of when would be the elections changed to IF there would be one this year.
As the COVID -19 numbers were kept in check, renewed hope of an election started again.
Finally, on August 11, dressed in a green Desert Clarkes, Prime Minister Holness in the House of Representatives named Thursday, September 3, 2020, the day that Jamaicans would go to the polls.
In his address to Parliament Mr Holness touted four years of performance under his administration, despite facing the greatest health crisis in Jamaica’s recent history, the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister made it clear that the usual campaign style for the elections is incompatible with the pandemic and the safeguarding of public health must remain paramount.
However, no one could envisage how different campaigning would be.
For the most part the usual mass meetings and festivities became virtual after people were seen flouting the anti covid 19 campaign orders.
And large motorcades by political representatives were ordered halted.
But house to house visits and smaller drive throughs were permitted.
Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown had this to say about the breaches reported to her office.
The political ombudsman subsequently tested positive for covid 19.
She was among a number of political figures that tested positive for the virus or forced to quarantine while awaiting results.
Today as Jamaicans go to the polls, one of the big unknowns is the extent to which voter turnout will be affected by the surge in the number of new covid19 cases across the country. The Electoral Office of Jamaica, EOJ, has had to make special provisions for voters to exercise their right to vote safely.
Among the special measures, all voters must wear a mask into the polling stations, sanitize and the elderly will be shuttled into the polling booths as they’ll not be asked to stand in line.