Wed | May 27, 2020

PNP in the hunt for youth votes - Party begins polling to inform election strategy

Published:Sunday | January 12, 2020 | 12:23 AMRomario Scott - Sunday Gleaner Writer

With the election temperature now slowly on the rise, the People’s National Party (PNP) has given The Sunday Gleaner a peek into the strategies it will be using as it seeks to boot the Andrew Holness-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) from government.

Among the areas of focus for the PNP will be the youth vote, which it says will be crucial in determining which party forms the next administration of government.

In 2016, the JLP surged to snatch 11 seats from the PNP with its message of prosperity capturing the hearts of voters.

This time around, the PNP is hoping to reverse its fortunes and Phillip Paulwell, the seasoned politician who held close ties with former party president Portia Simpson Miller, has been given the responsibility to lead the campaign against the Labourites.

Targeting social media

According to Paulwell, the PNP’s national campaign director, the party will be rolling out an information technology-based platform which will enable it to be more deliberate in targeting the youth population.

“We are going to be targeting social media because we know that a lot of young people reside right there, and our aim is to get them out of their homes to go and vote,” said Paulwell.

“We are going to emphasise the quality of Team PNP. We believe man to man, woman to woman, we have a far superior, younger and, at the same time, more experienced team than the Jamaica Labour Party. We are energised now to form a new government,” Paulwell told The Sunday Gleaner as he pored over the task ahead for the party.

Paulwell disclosed to The Sunday Gleaner that the party has been doing polling in some areas.

It now appears to be also laying the groundwork to campaign on issues such as the country’s high crime rate.

“It is clear that we are at a point where there is need for hope. The population is in a state where we are seeing high crime and high violence. In fact, over this period of our testing, the crime situation is really, really difficult for a number of Jamaicans. Crime and violence is number one,” Paulwell disclosed.

The second issue on the PNP’s radar, according to Paulwell, was narrowing the level of inequality which it says now exists.

“There are some people who are doing very, very well and we applaud them. But the vast majority of Jamaicans will tell you that their financial situation has deteriorated in the four years of the Holness administration. We therefore have to remind them where we were in 2011 and that it was Portia Simpson Miller and our (current) party leader (Dr Peter Phillips) who rescued the economy, and that this time around the rescue will be far more inclusive and pull everybody rather than just a few. That’s a major selling point and we are crafting the message to propel that across the landscape,” noted Paulwell.