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G2K targets 11 marginal seats - JLP young professionals group vows not to repeat 2011 mistakes

Published:Friday | November 6, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding
Matthew Samuda
Former G2K presidents Floyd Green (centre) and Warren Newby (right) share a joke while Collin Virgo keeps focused on the presenter at a G2K youth conference.

After a performance that was strongly criticised during the 2011 general election campaign, Generation 2000 (G2K), the young professional arm of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), has vowed that it will not make the same mistakes this time around.

G2K president Matthew Samuda says the organisation will be adopting a more tactical approach to election campaigning this time.

"In 2011, we made the mistake of spreading ourselves too thin, and this will not happen again," stressed Samuda, who was a G2K vice-president during the election campaign.

"That won't be a mistake we make this time around," he stressed.

Samuda told The Sunday Gleaner that 11 marginal seats that are now held by the governing People's National Party (PNP) have been targeted by the organisation he has led since early this year.

According to Samuda, victory in those seats should be able to usher the JLP past the post ahead of the PNP.

"As it relates to on-the-ground activities, we will be providing electioneering in 11 constituencies," said Samuda.

He said the G2K campaign strategy is broken down into three categories - data management, media management, and constituency support.


Keep active


Samuda added that G2K would be active on the ground while providing back-office support to the party. "In this regard, our specific areas of responsibility will involve data management and analyses."

This would include polls, canvassing, media and public relations, and engagement. "This has traditionally been part of the remit of the G2K," said Samuda as he added that the group's strategy will be very different from 2011.

"Everything ... we have gone through fundamental changes since 2011," declared Samuda as he expanded on the different approach to be taken by the group.

According to Samuda, the organisation undertook a review, which highlighted deficiencies that were not necessarily created by the 2011 election but were highlighted in the public domain then.

"That review, which was chaired by Kamina Johnson-Smith, was done and recommendations tabled by the management and central committee of the organisation.

Samuda said that before former G2K president Delano Seiveright demitted office his successor, Floyd Green, embarked on a mission to implement as many of the recommendations as possible.

"One of the things that I have done since assuming leadership is to place heavy focus on the administrative capacity of the organisation in not just making it stable but manageable as well," said Samuda, a marketing specialist by profession.

He said this included ensuring that "the heart of the organisation is truly beating".


Election win


According to the G2K president, the JLP stands a realistic chance of copping the next general election if it does its work.

"The JLP has to organise, organise, organise," said Samuda, drawing from an oft-repeated phrase of the first president of the PNP, Norman Manley.

Continued Samuda: "The JLP has lost too many constituencies in too many elections by too small a margin, and they purport that it is PNP country. That cannot be so ... what it tells me is that our organisation, on too many occasions, has fallen down.

"You cannot have seats that are lost by 13 votes, by 200 votes, by less than a thousand votes. Organisation covers myriad things. I don't view candidate selection as separate from organisation.

"If you force a candidate on people three weeks before, then you were not organised because there are only about two or three constituencies in Jamaica that can be won that way," said Samuda.

G2K, the JLP's 'attack dog' in the 2011 general election campaign, was strongly criticised after the party's crushing defeat, with critics charging that some of its campaign advertisements and tactics alienated potential voters.