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JLP says new website will reduce party's reliance on big donors

Tuesday, July 15, 2014    

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Opposition Leader Andrew Holness said by expanding social media access the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) can reduce its reliance on large contributors and allow average Jamaicans, at home and in the Diaspora, to play a more significant role in the party's performance.

"The culture of our politics is that it is funded by businessmen, large contributors, but it hasn't created an avenue for the average voter who may see a cause or an issue that they may want to contribute to," Holness told last Tuesday's launch of the party's new website at its Belmont Road headquarters.

"What we are doing is giving that capacity on our website, where the average Jamaican, who believes in what the JLP is doing, who wants to see the JLP succeed or who wants to contribute to a specific cause that the JLP is championing, that they can make their small contribution: As we say in Jamaica, one, one cocoa full basket," Holness said.

The new website, he said, will allow for donations to be made to the party's finances, but that option will focus on Jamaicans in the Diaspora who want to contribute to the political process.

The party, he said, also took into consideration the demographics of the country, as almost half of the population is below the age of 40.

"They are a part of the information generation. They get their information from the Internet using their mobile instruments and their Apps, and the JLP must make its presence felt in that space," Holness said.

He explained that the JLP wants Jamaica to know it is actively working on breaking new pathways for Jamaica's development, and one of these pathways follows the information highway.

The relaunching of the website, according to Holness, ties in with the need for expansion of its use of information and communications technology (ICT), as well as with the full utilisation of Jamaica's telecommunications capacity.

"I have always lamented that the telecommunications infrastructure is used too much for entertainment, too much for consumption, too much for fund: That can be a market, but it can also be used for more serious business, and we are now looking into that as an avenue for growth," Holness explained.

He said that in order to achieve this, the party had to revamp the website, to create one that "looks very exciting".

"We had a website before, but we decided to refresh, renew and to come up with a website that is far more interactive, that has far more content and delivers much more information," he said.

Holness said the website will give the party a much greater presence in social media. It has 11,000 pages of information while, behind the scene, a communication task force has been created, which will focus on developing content to drive the social media.

"We have invested heavily in developing the capacity to generate content. We have designed the website to facilitate interactions with other social media. So, it is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, and I am told that we will have an Instagram page added, shortly," he noted.

He said that the JLP is not troubled by scepticism about the survival of social media, as Facebook has already survived 10 years and doesn't seem to be going away any time soon.

"We intend to take advantage of the social media, and we intend to have a presence in all areas of social media. Not just videos, but in pictures and in blogging, as well. So, we will have a greater capacity in the coming months to get our side of the story out to the public, and to get it out in an unvarnished way," pointed out.

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