Tue | Aug 22, 2017

NDM head claims political victimisation hindering membership drive

Published:Tuesday | June 6, 2017 | 6:12 AMPaul Clarke

Fear of physical harm and political victimisation is said to be proving a serious hindrance to the National Democratic Movement’s (NDM) efforts to attract new members its President Peter Townsend is indicating.

At the same time, Townsend is also rebuffing suggestions that his party has flatlined.

“The NDM is alive; as long as an organisation has membership and an executive and has its internal elections and upholds its constitution then it’s alive,” Townsend said, “but people, especially young professionals, are scared of committing to us out of fear of being victimised.”

The NDM once served as a platform for Bruce Golding, following his falling out with the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), and later a springboard back into the fold of the Labour party as leader and subsequently Prime Minister, has not lived up to expectations.

Townsend noted that the NDM’s inability to afford strong financial backing was stymieing its effort, as it seeks to provide a serious third party option.

“I agree that we are not active on the ground in the constituencies; that we do not have representatives running in elections. And I agree that we are operating more like a lobby or pressure group but the truth is that we had to step back from a very active role of a political party because of the economics involved,” Townsend told The Gleaner.

“It is not easy to finance a viable political party in this modern dispensation. For one, all major funding goes to the PNP (People's National Party) and the JLP. The NDM cannot at this time match that,” he said.

 

They have been dead long time - Ashley

Respected political analyst Dr Paul Ashley, in a brutal, no-holds barred assessment of the movement described the National Democratic Movement (NDM) as dead.

“Sorry for the acronym but the NDM, never did matter. They have been dead long time. The party never did matter in the real world of politics,” said Ashley.

“Any future movement on their part can only be regarded as rigor mortis, because the NDM has, it seems to me, allowed other civil groups to gain the spotlight,” Ashley reasoned.

The NDM currently has a paying membership of approximately 20,000.

“There is no doubt that we should and could be doing better as an organisation, but what should be noted is that we are still alive. Not well in some instances but alive and breathing and wha nuh dead nuh call it duppy,” insist Townsend.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com