The National Democratic Movement (NDM) and the fledgling New Nation Coalition (NNC) yesterday announced the formation of a National Coalition to rescue Jamaica from the political tribalism created by the island's two major political parties.
According to Betty Ann Blaine, convenor of the NNC, and NDM President Earle DeLisser, who made the announcement during a press briefing in Kingston, the National Coalition would offer Jamaicans an opportunity to try some-thing different after 66 years of failed leadership from the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party.
The two leaders said the National Coalition would be an issues-oriented body that would unite Jamaicans on concerns which were critically important to their lives, rather than along party lines.
"The Jamaican people continue to be treated as second-class citizens, not even as far as the powers that be are concerned to be deserving of the respect of consultation and feedback on critical national issues," Blaine said.
Agreed to collaborate
According to Blaine, both parties had agreed to collaborate on issues of national importance, including electoral and campaign finance reforms, and the collection of 50,000 signatures required by both parties in order to obtain state funding for general elections.
She added that the two parties would also be sharing a secretariat in an effort to maximise reach, impact and resources.
"We want Jamaicans to understand that coalition means working together, that coalition means unity," Blaine said while stressing that the National Coalition was open to all Jamaicans serious about rescuing the country from its "shameful and deteriorating condition".
Blaine said the National Coalition had invited individuals, independent trade unions, non-governmental organisations, as well as various religious groups and other organisations and individuals interested in joining the coalition.