A Jamaican political strategist has pleaded with top officials of the opposition National Democratic Congress here to support leader Nazim Burke, “no matter what”, in the lead up to the general elections.
“You must support the leader in public, no matter what,” Jamaican Alston Stewart reportedly told a select group of party officials at a meeting Sunday in rural St Andrew’s, according to a usually reliable source at the meeting.
Dubbed a retreat, it was attended by the three Jamaicans who have been in Grenada since last Thursday in what reports said are the first steps in helping to get the party ready for general elections.
Sunday’s ‘retreat’ was attended, among others, by local radio talkshow host Kem Jones, recognized as the key man to spread misinformation about the incumbent New National Party.
The advisers told the retreat, chaired by General Secretary Glen Noel, that it is important to find a way to make the party look united.
Their plea comes amidst some internal reports that a section of the party is worried about what it views as the lack of traction since Burke took over the leadership from former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, over two years ago.
NDC has a long history of infighting, the last one derailing its five-year reign which begun in 2008.
According to sources at the meeting, Stewart told the retreat that they have to find a way to “re-energize the base, get voters registered and canvas the list.”
Sunday’s retreat came following reports that the team of Jamaican advisers from the People’s National Party that included Donovan Nelson and Michael Baisden had a prior meeting with other officials in the south of the island over the weekend. At the end of the St Andrew’s meeting, Burke pleaded to those present to keep the discussions confidential.
The decision by the NDC to engage the Jamaican political strategists have been savaged on social media there, following the PNP’s general election loss earlier this year, and the current campaign finance scandal engulfing the now opposition.
“We are seeking their opinion and their assessment of our systems and what they consider are our levels of preparedness,” NDC’s Chairman Vincent Roberts said at a press conference Monday about the visit of three consultants.
“We have agreed to have a frank dialogue with them and to give them access to our systems and processes and procedures so that they can assist in making determinations,” he explained.
Burke reportedly told the men at the meeting Sunday that the NDC brand has been protected and the party base is still enthusiastic.
“Our new goal should be from zero to victory,” he declared.