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A brief cursory look at NDC candidates identified so far

Recent developments in candidate selection within the National Democratic Congress (NDC) suggest the party is moving assiduously to complete its slate of candidates for the upcoming elections. From all indications the slate is shaping fairly well and appears to be credible. However there are some serious concerns that warrant immediate attention to avoid disaster at the polls.

Joseph Andall, Kerryne James, Andy Williams and Tevin Andrews seem to understand very well that all politics are local and are focused on issues that affect their constituencies. Joseph Andall has led the way as he continues to champion the concerns of his constituents. Andy Williams has taken advocacy to another level by actually providing assistance and injecting energy that has given his campaign some momentum.

Tevin Andrews is continuing to campaign on the ground, however he needs to listen more and modify his message to make it more relevant to current needs of the people of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. His message sounds a bit stale as he rehash messaging from previous election cycles.

He also needs to attract more support from soft NNPites and persons on the fence. On the other hand, Kerryne James needs to expand her support base to the south of the constituency as well as among the middle class.

All four candidates need to strengthen their canvassing and voter registration drives if they are to succeed at the polls. According to feedback from many constituency groups the National Executive is not providing sufficient direction and guidance on canvassing leaving them to essentially fend for themselves. This has resulted in a wide variation in the quality of canvassing among constituencies.

The National Executive needs to provide consistent guidelines to constituencies to ensure more consistency in quality of canvassing. What are Glen Noel and others who were brought back to help in coordination of canvassing doing?

The same can be said for voter registration which remains disjointed, lacking proper coordination and organisation work to ensure a smooth registration throughout all constituencies.

If the National Executive and the team of advisors around them don’t get their act together these four candidates will be overwhelmed in the end by a late NNP surge when the bell tolls.

The canvassing and registration drives need to be urgently strengthened with the National Executive providing more training to constituency groups in implementation of the standardised approach and step up its monitoring and evaluation to ensure consistency in execution of the work on the ground across the board. At present there are too many constituencies that are falling behind in the efficient execution of these two most important activities which can be a recipe for disaster if not reversed in good time.

Of the second set of candidates both Quinc Britton and Jonathan LaCrette have a herculean task on their hands, however, they are expected to put up a strong showing if they get canvassing and voter registration right and do the organisational work required to execute a spirited campaign.

After listening to Lennox Andrews on Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN) recently, it is quite clear he doesn’t understand that all politics are local. Lennox for the entire program came across as a technocrat rather than a politician. He barely sought to highlight issues that affect the constituency he wants to represent nor bring to the fore the plight of his constituents.

Lennox Andrews needs to understand that for him to be able to influence economic policy, at the Cabinet level, he has to first win his seat. He needs to champion the cause of his constituents, demonstrate to them he has their backs and is prepared to fight tooth and nail for them.

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Speaking to W Rostow’s theory rather than raising the concerns of voters in his constituency wouldn’t cut it against Yolande Bain-Hosford who provides assistance to large swaths of voters through an extensive social safety net apparatus.

He needs to come off this epitome of brilliance and get on the ground, in the trenches, wherever the people in his constituency are, listen to their concerns and advocate for them – be their voice if he wants to win that seat.

Lennox needs to stop using these highfalutin economic jargons appearing to lecture people and speak to the plight of voters in his constituency, step up canvassing and voter registration drive for he must remember all politics are local.

Claudette Joseph seems to be on a frolic of her own, not known for her institutional building capability, she is unable to bring structure and organisation to her faltering campaign.

From all indications the party’s canvassing and voter registration drive in the Town of St. George is presently dis-organised and ineffective and in need of proper structure and coordination. Although the incumbent ruling party candidate is much weakened compared to previous election cycles, Claudette is failing to gain ground in the constituency.

People are just not warming up to her since she lacks an endearing personality and is unable to attract competent experienced persons on her team. Likening the limelight on national television, she is unable to lead the organisational work required to unseat the current Member of Parliament.

The party should seriously review the situation with her campaign and consider a possible new candidate before it’s too late.

In spite of the emergence of a credible slate of candidates the NDC has a lot of organisational work to do if it is to be successful at the polls. The National Executive and persons tasked with the responsibility of ensuring implementation of the standardised approach to canvassing must provide proper guidance and direction to all constituency groups.

A monitoring and evaluation mechanism needs to be put in place to ensure some constituencies don’t lag behind in effectiveness and quality of canvassing.

Similarly, there needs to be a complete revamp of the national registration process with a view to strengthening coordination and transfer of best practices between constituency groups.

Candidates such as Lennox Andrews who are not demonstrating that they understand that all politics are local and not being political enough must be spoken to and given help to step up to the plate and pay more attention to the organisational work in the constituency.

There should be a team of advisors for the candidates who ought to make sure they are up to speed on messaging and prepare talking points to prepare them before going on talk shows and speaking to the press.

The absence of effective messaging and the leader’s seemingly inability to insert himself in and influence the narrative are indeed troubling and must be immediately addressed if the party is to be successful.

The National Executive, as well as team of advisors and strategists need to take note of these concerns and act on them as soon as possible since time may be running out.

Special Correspondent