G2K to crank up JLP youth base - Party yet to settle on candidates for seven seats
The new leadership of the young professionals’ affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Generation 2000 (G2K), says it will be using a combination of media platforms to get its message out to young people as it woos increased support for the party ahead of the next general election constitutionally due in 2021.
Sunday’s 76th annual conference will signal how well the party can mobilise ground support for bragging rights.
As the G2K positions itself to play an active role in pulling out the youth vote, JLP General Secretary Dr Horace Chang disclosed yesterday that the party has not yet finalised selections for about seven seats. However, he noted that in most instances, persons have been identified but the party has not signed off on a candidate.
Pundits believe that Prime Minister Andrew Holness will call the election in 2020, something Professor Stephen Vasciannie prodded him on during Friday’s handover of $2.5 million to the University of Technology Jamaica’s (UTech) scholarship fund.
“So when does the new term begin, sir?” quipped Vasciannie as Holness talked up investment plans for the education sector in the “new term”.
But the prime minister only laughed, replying, “You want me to slip it to you? I could write it on a note and give it to you.”
Ryan Strachan, the new G2K president, told The Gleaner yesterday that his organisation would be using a blend of social and traditional media, as well as “on-the-ground” contacts to get its message across to its target audience.
With G2K’s chapters spanning the “length and breadth” of the country, Strachan said that the presence of its membership, number 200, would be felt in various regions. “It is less about a recruitment drive and more about sharing who we are, and as a result of that, you will find people being attracted naturally.
“With visibility, people are attracted to what G2K is and has to offer,” said the new G2K president who is also a successful stockbroker.
A man who believes that “leaders should lead” from the front, Strachan describes his leadership style as collaborative. According to Strachan, everyone in the organisation should bring his own unique skill set to the table “and the role of the leader is to ensure that that is pulled out and placed in the pot that makes the servings better”.
As Strachan moves to inject new life into the professional affiliate of the JLP, the new president has made it clear that he believes in diversity. “I believe in contending views,” he added.
On the question of the level of autonomy enjoyed by the group, Strachan said that G2K had a collaborative relationship with the JLP.
“We believe in consultation, and that’s, of course, because we believe in the leadership of the party and what they bring to the table.”
Strachan said that he believed that the group enjoyed the respect of the party leadership, noting that party leader Andrew Holness, in his address to the organisation’s annual general meeting for the second year in a row, gave the G2K a clear mandate, which he refused to divulge.
Quizzed on the JLP’s chances of snatching marginal seats held by the People’s National Party (PNP) in the next general election, Chang said that, where opportunities arise, “we will pick them up”. Sixty-three seats are up for grabs.
With eight female members of parliament on the government side in Parliament, Chang said the party had ambitions of increasing the number of women in representational politics, although the party is not gender-biased.
He said that there were a lot of young professional women offering themselves to run on the party’s ticket “and we look forward to them participating”.
The JLP currently enjoys a five-seat majority in Parliament.