Mon | Oct 16, 2017

JLP taking the steps to victory

Published:Saturday | April 18, 2015 | 11:05 PMRobert Montague

The local government elections are due shortly and the Government has passed the halfway mark in its term.

It is, therefore, timely that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) update the country on our steps in preparation for an election, whichever one the Government may call.

We are in one accord with our major objective of taking the majority of our people from poverty to prosperity. We cannot, and must not, celebrate poverty we must strive to end it.

Our programmes and policies cannot be properly enacted if we do not hold office. Another of our objectives is to win both the local and central government elections when they are called.

However, as a government-in-waiting, we will continue to put forward working solutions in the interest of our beloved country.

As such, that is why we have, over the years, constantly encouraged fiscal responsibility in the conduct of the nation's business; but fiscal conservatism without growth cannot lead to development - only pain and hardships for our people.

We feel the pain and frustration of our fellow citizens. We, too, experience it. We, the JLP, have consistently proposed idea after idea to educate our people, to reduce energy costs, reduce crime, increase employment and to grow our economy. A growth agenda will definitely move our people from poverty to prosperity.

Our proposals have been ignored by the Government. This has led to reduced growth and hardships for our people. Since this current Government won't take the bold steps needed to grow the economy while being fiscally responsible, the JLP must get ready to engage the Jamaican people in a conversation about our future. With this in mind, we have began to take the steps that's will lead us to victory.

We thank our members and well-wishers, who have prayed for us and with us, to gain the strength and fortitude to stay the course, in the interest of Jamaica. As an over 70-year-old institution, we remain open to new ideas, committed to our principles and firm in resolve to providing hope for our youth, a better Jamaica for investors and the country of choice to live, raise your families and retire.

Our Process of Political Preparation

Some of what we have already done in preparing ourselves for this conversation with the people is:

1. The Standing Committee, our third-highest body, has been completed by having all members of parliament on it. In this regard, we wish to thank all persons involved. But I must place on record the work of our Deputy Chairman Aundre Franklin for assisting me in sorting through some of the issues facing the party.

A strengthened Standing Committee is now working hard to achieve our shared objectives.

2. The Selection Committee, led by our leader, has been working overtime to settle our candidates at the local and national levels. To that end, we have registered 57 of the 63 seats. We have settled 58 of the 63 national candidates. The five vacancies are at various stages within our system of checks and balances. We must note the consultations with party functionaries in various seats are going very well in solving many issues. The next consultation to be done will be in North West St Ann.

3. There is some amount of welcomed public interest in West Central St. Catherine. Dr Kenneth Baugh has indicated his desire not to seek re election. Councillor Devon Wint is the only applicant for the seat at this time. He has been interviewed and his application is going through the selection process.

4. We have cleared and named more than 15 new candidates to our national team and more than 100 new candidates for the local government team. Interestingly, many of them are women. We have attracted many other young bright professionals to join the various management teams. We are stronger for the efforts and energy generated and grateful for their support.

5. The JLP Operations Council has begun an aggressive programme of reviewing our structures, systems and personnel.

6. The leader has created the Council of Elders, a grouping of senior parliamentarians who advise him on party matters. They are an advisory team and not an operational arm.

7. All our past candidates, officers and senators have been asked to come forward. One meeting has been held so far and a mentorship programme is being developed.

8. The chairmanship of our Manifesto Committee is under active consideration. However, as chairman, two general calls have been made for ideas and proposals. We have so far received many innovative and creative ideas that can meet our general principles, of being fiscally prudent, responsible; yet move our people from poverty to prosperity.

9. We have embarked on an aggressive programme of training for our candidates, supervisors and workers.

10. We are also actively working with our affiliates both here and overseas. We have seen new leadership in some of the organisations. We place on record our thanks to those who served and kept the flag high. We welcome the new officers and look forward to the new programmes, activism and directions. In this regard a leadership tour led by me is on for New York between May 1 to 3. A membership drive will also be launched. It is important that as a national organisation, we listen to our brothers and sisters overseas.

11. We will soon embark on a tour of Jamaica, explaining to the Jamaican people how we will take them from poverty to prosperity. This tour will be done jointly by the party leader and Mr Audley Shaw.

12. We are currently considering membership to our soon-to-be-established committees on employment, environment, gender matters and human rights.

The above have clearly demonstrated that the JLP has begun to take the needed steps to ensure our victory at the polls.

We have reached this point by the collective work and effort of our officers, members, workers and supporters. We, as a party, must thank the leader, the general secretary and his team of deputies, along with the four Area Council executives, for undertaking this massive programme of work despite the many distractions. Special mention must be made of the treasurer and his team. Steadfast and focused have they been and the party owes them all a debt of gratitude.

Join us at the national level in your community. Speak to candidates help them, volunteer today. We need you, Jamaica needs you.

- Robert Montague is an opposition senator and chairman of the JLP. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.