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Seven elections were contested across the Caribbean region in 2016, resulting in losses to incumbent government in several cases.  In both Saint Lucia and Jamaica, the decision of the respective Prime Ministers to call early elections saw an end to their one term administrations, and a reversal of results of the previous election.  The 2016 gubernatorial election in Puerto Rico was won by Ricardo Rosselló New Progressive Party. In Curaçao, MAN won the higher percentage of the votes, with Hensley Koeiman becoming its new Prime Minister.  In the Dominican Republic, President Danilo Media continued into a second term in office.  Businessman Jovenel Moise won the Haiti's presidential election in the first round. Closing out the year, the election in the Turks and Caicos Islands resulted in the return of the People’s Democratic Movement after 13 years in opposition, and the election of the territory’s first woman Premier.  The year also saw the defeat of the first constitutional referendum in Grenada.

Here is a recap of the 2016 election year.

Jamaica General Election – 25 February 2016

At a rally for her People's National Party (PNP) in Half-Way-Tree, St. Andrew on 31 January 2016, Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller called an early election for 25 February 2016, almost a full year before they were constitutionally due.  The Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) led by Andrew Holness narrowly won the election with 32 of the 63 seats. Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller's one-term People’s National Party (PNP) took the other 31 seats.  Holness had briefly served as Prime Minister in 2011, before being defeated in the 2011 election by Simpson-Miller.  Opinion polls before the election forecast victory for Simpson-Miller after she returned the heavily indebted economy to growth and low inflation.  Despite her People's National Party's socialist past, she embraced spending cuts, wage freezes and harsh fiscal discipline as part of a $1.27 billion IMF bailout that has lowered the still daunting debt burden of more than 130 percent of GDP.  In contrast, Holness had promised to create 250,000 jobs on the island of 2.7 million people and do away with income tax for many wage earners.

Andrew Holness with Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen during Swering In Cermony

Dominican Republic General Election – 15 May 2016

General elections were held in Dominican Republic on 15 May 2016 to elect a president, vice-president and the National Congress, as well as 20 deputies to the Central American Parliament, municipal councils, mayors and vice mayors.  President Danilo Medina successfully won re-election with 61.7% of the votes against rival Luis Abinader of the Modern Revolutionary Party.  Medina's Dominican Revolutionary Party also looked to have kept control of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. Medina’s popularity led the ruling Dominican Liberation Party last year to change the constitution to allow the president to run for a second consecutive term with an eight-year overall limit. Previously, presidents could serve only one term, but could run again after waiting four years.

Danilo Medina waving to supporters following his election victory

St. Lucia General Election – 19 May 2016

In an address to the nation on 19 May 2016, Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony said he had decided to call a general election on June 6 – several months ahead of its due date (latest April 2017), to ensure peace, stability and certainty in the country and its affairs. The United Workers Party (UWP) led by Allen Chastanet convincingly won the securing 11 of the 17 seats in Parliament and sending the incumbent one-term St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) into Opposition.  The result was a a complete reversal of the composition of the St. Lucia parliament - the SLP had 11 seats and the UWP six after the 2011 general election.  On the heels of his party’s loss, Dr. Kenny Anthony stepped down as SLP leader, later being replaced by Phillip Pierre.

Allen Chastanet with Governor-General Dame Pearlette Louisy during Swering In Ceremony

Curaçao General Election – 5 October 2016

General elections were held in Curaçao on 5 October 2016, having been postponed from the original 30 September date due to Hurricane Matthew. A total of 13 parties participated.  MAN won the elections with 16.2 percent of the vote. Behind MAN are MFK (Movementu Futuro Kòrsou) with 16 percent and PAR (Partido Antiá Restruckturá) 15.1 percent. All three parties won four seats in the 21-seat parliament, that will consist of eight factions.  The new party KDNT (Kòrsou Di Nos Tur) van Amparo dos Santos won three seats, PNP (Partido Nashonal di Pueblo) and Pueblo Soberano won two seats each and the Movementu Progressivo van Marilyn Moses and Omayra Leeflang’s Un Kòrsou Hustu one seat each.  Hensley Koeiman, the Lijsttrekker (top candidate) for MAN, was sworn in as Prime Minister on 23 December 2013. His new government consists of the socialist MAN of Koeiman, the Christian Democratic PNP, the liberal PAR and independence party Pueblo Soberano (PS),

MAN celebrating iths election victory

Puerto Rico General and Gubernatorial Election – 8 November 2016

General elections were held in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 to elect the officials of the Puerto Rican government that will serve from January 2017 to January 2021, most notably the Governor of Puerto Rico. Incumbent Popular Democratic Governor Alejandro García Padilla did not run for re-election to a second term in office. The election was won by Ricardo Rosselló of the New Progressive Party, who received 41% of the vote in a four-way race.  Despite losing most of the Senate and the House, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) managed to win a majority of the mayoralty races in the island, with a total of 45 out of 78 municipalities. The New Progressive Party (PNP) won a total of 33.

Puerto Rico Governor-Elect Ricardo Rosello (C) poses to the press before casting his vote in Guanaybo, Puerto Rico, 08 November 2016. Photo credit: Thais Llorca / EPA

Haiti Presidential Election – 20 November 2016

Businessman Jovenel Moise won Haiti's presidential election in the first round. Moise polled 55.67%, well ahead of his closest rival Jude Celestin's 19.52%.  The election was held on 20 November, more than a year after the previous poll was annulled following allegations of widespread fraud.  That vote, in October 2015, was won by Mr Moise but opposition challenger Mr Celestin called foul and, after violent unrest, the ballot was annulled. Violent clashes have also marked the wait for results since the latest election.

Jovenel Moise wins Presidential Election

Grenada Constitutional Referendum – 24 November 2016

On 24 November 2016, Grenadians voted overwhelmingly to reject seven pieces of legislation that would have reformed the Constitution the island received when it attained political independence from Britain in 1974.  The referendum had originally been scheduled for October 27, but was postponed for a month to allow for more public education and stakeholder consultation.  However, by a clear majority, the voters turned their backs on plans to replace the London-based Privy Council with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice as the island’s final court, as well as rejecting term limits for the prime minister and the appointment of a leader of the opposition in Parliament. In addition, they also rejected moves to change the name of the tri-island state and plans to establish an independent electoral commission.

Results of 2016 Referendum

Turks and Caicos Islands General Election – 15 December 2016

The main opposition People`s Democratic Movement (PDM) won the 15 December 2016 general election.  The PDM led by attorney Sharlene Cartwright Robinson won eight of the 10 electoral districts and four of the five at large candidate positions.  Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing, who led the Progressive National Party (PNP) admiration lost is seat.  He later stepped down as party leader.  Cartwright Robinson led a team called “The Dream Team” to the election and had accused the Ewing-led government of having led the Turks and Caicos Islands into an abyss for which the citizens are suffering.  The 7,800 voters had three choices: the ruling PNP; the PDM and the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) led by former premier Oswald Skippings.  On 19 December 2016, Cartwright Robinson was sworn in as the territories first woman Premier.  The first sitting of the House Assembly was held on 29 December 2016.

View our Turks and Caicos 2016 Election Centre »

Sharlene Cartwright_Robinson being sworn in as first female Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands by Governor John Freeman
Towards 2017

Notwithstanding the possibility of snap elections, there are four constitutionally due elections in 2017.

Country Head of Government Term Last Election Next Election
Aruba Prime Minister Michiel EMAN 4 years 27 Sep 2013 Sep 2017
Bahamas Prime Minister Perry CHRISTIE 5 years 07 May 2012 May 2017
Bermuda Premier Michael DUNKLEY 5 years 17 Dec 2012 Dec 2017
Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLAUGHLIN 4 years 22 May 2013 May 2017
In Memoriam 2016
In memoriam 2016

A reflection on the lives of those Caribbean leaders we've lost in 2016.

View our In Memoriam 2016 feature »

Year in Review In Memoriam
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