'A JLP manifesto with a difference'
Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Andrew Holness has promised that the party's manifesto, to be launched today, will be far-reaching as it is fundamentally different from that of the People's National Party.
Holness asserted that the mission detailing the party's plans and programmes for Jamaica over the next five years, if it prevails in the upcoming polls, is a qualitative stand-out as JLP membership has demonstrated deep belief in what is being proposed.
"I believe that what is most important is that the people in the party actually believe the message," declared Holness in an interview with The Gleaner yesterday. "We have a mission working towards. We understand what we want to do, for the first in a long time."
Holness stressed, however, that the final product has benefited not only from internal discussions, but extensive public input as well.
"Amazingly, we got a lot of suggestions from social media," said Holness. "People tweeted us, sent us their comments, which all got filtered through. What you will see are things with which you can identify."
Added Holness: "The messengers have internalised the message and now we have a mission working on," said Holness.
A VERY CLEAR VISION
Holness said that he has not experienced such an epiphany since 2007, when the JLP ended the PNP's four-term victorious stretch between 1989 and 2007.
"The party has a very clear vision, and you will see that coming out in our manifesto and 10-point plan as to exactly what we are going to do when we take over Government," he asserted.
"So the sense that I get from just being with my colleagues is that everyone understands what their roles are and has contributed to the manifesto," he added.
He continued: "There is an incredible sense of purpose in the party as there was in the early days some amount of dissonance about exactly what the party was about. I think we have resolved that now."
Holness stressed that the JLP has always had a strong philosophical base, which is evolving into a mission.
"That mission has been refined into objectives, now being refined, coming down into plans that are to be executed," he said.
He said that party representatives have been designated to speak on different areas of the manifesto, taking time lines into account. "It is an amazing transformation that has happened," he declared.
Asked whether he was confident that the JLP could maintain its new-found unity, Holness said: "The JLP is developing organically."
He said that there would always be relationships of convenience. "But the sense that I get is that having gone through the leadership race, everything is out there," he said.
According to Holness, people have taken their emotions off their chest and now the narrative is more reasoned.
"We are all beginning to understand that what happened before is in the past," he said. "There is a recognition that the JLP has a chance if we work together."