On May 10th, the People’s National Party (PNP) President, Mark Golding appointed a junior shadow Cabinet, which he said will integrate youngsters into Jamaica’s policymaking.
After the party’s massive loss in last year’s general election, senior members of the PNP admitted that the party did not connect with Jamaica’s youth. Golding said this initiative is one of the ways that the party is looking to solve this issue.
The 18-member team will support the 19-member shadow Cabinet appointed last year. The junior cabinet will be chaired by Gabriela Morris, Jamaica’s youngest ever senator. At the launch on Monday, she lauded Mark Golding for his leadership.
“I must commend comrade leader for following through with this initiative. I believe comrade leader has displayed vision and leadership because during the leadership race, he signalled that this was one of the things that he wanted to see come to fruition because he believes in the power of the youth voice,” she said.
The members comprise Rasheen Roper-Robinson, a former teacher, who will speak on Education, Krystal Tomlinson, the president of the PNPYO, who will speak on Labour, Social Security and Gender, and Timothy Thwaites, who will speak on transport and works.
Golding says he worked closely with the PNP’s young and professionals arms in choosing the team. The PNP President said the party has a particular strength among older Jamaicans, but he noted that the PNP cannot move forward without the support of young people in Jamaica.
“I think it has been recognized that the party a particular strength among older Jamaican voters and that demographic that remembers the heyday of the party in the era of social transformation in the 1970s. In the meantime, we need to strengthen our appeal to the younger demographic,” he said.
Golding said that he is confident that the newly-appointed team can come with a higher level of energy and a fresher approach as the PNP works to form a stronger opposition.