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Blaine forms new political party

New Nation Coalition launched in Kingston

BY INGRID BROWN Senior staff reporter browni@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, August 05, 2010    

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THE history of third parties caving in under the pressure of the dominant Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People's National Party (PNP) has not thwarted former talkshow host and children's advocate Betty Ann Blaine from launching a new political party -- New Nation Coalition (NNC).

"We are in it for the long haul as we believe this is the time for this country to make a U-turn," Blaine told yesterday's launch of the NNC at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel in New Kingston.

Blaine, who recently quit her job as talkshow host of Nationwide's On the Agenda, said, however, that the NNC was more than a political party.

She said the coalition, which is grounded in Christianity and Christian principles, is promising to address myriad social ills, including family life, urban housing, rural land reform.

Additionally, Blaine said the coalition would seek to address the issue of tax reformation.

"Jamaicans are struggling with taxes which are oppressive," she said. But she made it clear that she was not advocating the non-payment of taxes. The coalition, she said, would use 'resource persons' to design a taxation programme that will be just and fair.

The coalition, said Blaine, would ensure that every Jamaican has a right to a good education and a good living in order to achieve prosperity, a voice in the nation's business and national development, safety, security and effective and an equitable justice system.

Blaine told journalists that the coalition would have enough time to introduce itself to Jamaicans here and abroad before another general election.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding, she said, "will not commit political suicide to call an election now, so we will have time to build on the movement and allow for people to know about us".

In noting the inability of other third parties to attract mass support, an optimistic Blaine said victory would be much sweeter for a party which enters the race as an underdog.

The coalition, which consists of 10 founding members, currently has no major funders but Blaine said the aim was to use a model similar to that of United States President Barack Obama in his 2008 campaign where individuals give regardless of the size of the contribution.

"We have not gotten any help from special interests," she said, adding that there will be great transparency in how funds are raised. Our treasurer is a bank manager and she has designed a form which will be on our website so donations can be properly accounted for."

Blaine said that after 48 years of independence Jamaica was moving backwards, but insisted that her new coalition would change that.

The party, she said, has no intention of indulging in a blame game or playing politics with the future of the Jamaican people.

The NNC, according to Blaine, has established a think tank of notable Jamaican patriots to begin formulating ideas and documenting key areas of reform and strategies which will signal the U-turn the country must make.

The NNC, which will also be forging solid partnerships with the Jamaican Diaspora, will also be relying heavily on the support of the church.

"We are hoping to get the full support of the church and expect to do a lot of talking to churches and Christians although we are not excluding anyone," she said.

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