Holness concerned about JLP's image
Opposition leader Andrew Holness has expressed concern about the image of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), and has assured that he is now on a serious recruitment drive to attract new candidates to help boost the party's profile.
Holness said that the party has less than a year to get it's house in order and win over uncommitted and frustrated voters. He argued that after some introspection, he has concluded that there are some things that the party must do, or improve to reach these voters.
"I have been very concerned about the profile and the image of the Jamaica Labour Party and we have started the process of fine tuning our image of building the profile of the party," the Opposition Leader told JLP supporters at yesterday's annual general meeting for Area Council One at the Olympic Gardens Civic Centre in Kingston.
"The labour party must reach out in meaningful ways to those uncommitted persons - those persons who register and don't vote, those persons who are frustrated with politics, and those persons who just don't see politics as being able to change the trajectory of the country. The labour party has a duty to reach out to those persons. We must make those persons part of our electoral base; we must bring them into our party and that means we are going to have to do some introspection," he said.
Holness said that he has been seeing some good results coming out of the party's recruitment drive so far, and outlined his intention to visit every section of the island to spread the party's message of wealth creation and peace.
"A whole lot of people want to join the labour party, a whole lot of people want to help the labour party. Our challenge is not to find the people, our challenge now is to make sure that there is a structure, that when you find the people, you have things for them to do, and so that is what we are doing in the background now," he said, adding: "So you are going to see emerge over the next few months, a credible, competent team that reflects you, that is representative of you, that understands the issues that face you daily and can speak on them, but more importantly, can find the solutions for those issues."
Holness retained his position as head of the JLP after an intense leadership battle with Audley Shaw last year November. The leadership race resulted in disunity in the party, however, the opposition leader said that he was all for unity and peace.
"I don't have time for petty politics. I don't have time for personal feelings, I don't have time to be hampered down by the imaginations of threats. I have been liberated and my mind and my sprit is free and I will be going right around Jamaica," he said.
"I will visit every nook and cranny, every corner, every shop, every farm, every church, every service club, because we have to get our message out there," he asserted.
It is through these visits that the opposition leader hopes to get a better understanding of the issues affecting the public, so that solutions can be formulated to address them.
"When we go around Jamaica, which we have been doing, we make sure that every major issue, we are there. Anything of national importance, we are there. Nobody can say that the labour party is not representing. We are not blocking roads and causing social disturbance, but we are there hearing the issues, we are understanding what the issues are, we come back and we sit and we discuss them, and we come up with solutions, because that is what the people of Jamaica want to see and that is part of the changing image of the opposition."
The opposition leader also charged those present at the meeting to spend some time identifying candidates who can best represent the party.
Following an election of officers for Area Council One yesterday, Winston Ennis was re-elected to the post as chairman, while Charmaine Anderson was appointed secretary after a close battle with Susan Senior for the position.