PNP told to unite in order to win elections
LASI... the vision for the transformation of the lives of the Jamaican people is rooted in the values that have defined the PNP for 85 years (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

SECRETARY general of Socialist International Benedicta Lasi is urging the People's National Party (PNP) to unite with a singular focus on the political and socio-economic transformation of Jamaica in order to win the next elections.

"Let us set aside our differences and stand together, strong and resolute. As a party, we must not falter on our values and willpower to fight," Lasi said at the public session of the People's National Party's (PNP) 85th Annual Conference at the National Arena in on Sunday.

In a rousing speech which earned her a standing ovation, Lasi told party supporters that now, more than ever, the people of Jamaica are looking to the PNP to offer the leadership for the country, "and we at Socialist International are confident that, under the leadership of Comrade Mark Golding, Jamaica will see the much-needed transformation that will significantly impact the lives of the Jamaican people".

"The vision for the transformation of the lives of the Jamaican people is rooted in the values that have defined the PNP for 85 years — equality, inclusivity, and opportunity for all. We envision a Jamaica where no one is left behind; where every child has access to quality education; where health care is a fundamental right; and where the economy thrives, providing meaningful jobs and opportunities for all," she said.

Lasi noted, however, that to achieve these objectives it's not just about the policies that are formulated, "it's about the people we serve".

"We must listen to their voices, their hopes and their concerns. Our transformational vision must be informed by the daily struggles and aspirations of the Jamaican people," she said.

She further pointed out that as local government and general elections loom on the horizon, they must be approached with a renewed sense of urgency and purpose.

"We must understand that the stakes are higher for the PNP than ever before. The fate of our beloved Jamaica rests in the balance, and it is our responsibility to shape that fate for the better," she said, adding that the PNP is considered internationally as one of the strongest parties – "a party of unity, a party of justice, and a party for progress in Jamaica".

The Socialist International secretary general further noted that Jamaica is at a critical juncture in its history and the challenges being faced are as daunting as they are pressing, but noted that "what starts here today will determine the future of the people of Jamaica".

"During the discussion yesterday on proposed amendments to the Jamaican Constitution, it dawned on me that the political processes undertaken by the country and the decisions taken here on will significantly impact the political future and development prospects of the Jamaican people. It is therefore crucial for the PNP, which has long led the charge for a truly independent Jamaica, to offer the right guidance and advocacy to the people of Jamaica on this important question," she said.

In the meantime, Lasi noted that Socialist International, which is the largest political organisation in the world, "is proud to have the People's National Party as a member party".

"Our organisation has had a history of advocating for social justice, equality, and the empowerment of all people around the world. The Caribbean region is one of the regions that is of significant importance to me in my mandate. We are proud to have the PNP as an ally in Jamaica and in the wider Caribbean region," she said.

Socialist International is a worldwide organisation of political parties which seeks to establish democratic socialism. It consists mostly of social-democratic, socialist and labour political parties and organisations. It currently brings together 132 political parties and organisations from all continents.

BY ALECIA SMITH Observer senior reporter

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