by Linda Straker
Alston Stewart, a Jamaican businessman and political operative with the People’s National Party (PNP) in Jamaica, is presently in Grenada meeting with top officials from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as they seek to rebuild the party and its image.
Stewart is one of three persons who are known to be associated with the public relations and mobilising team of the PNP of Jamaica who arrived in the island last Thursday, and by Friday was meeting with representatives of the NDC.
The trio: consultants Alston Stewart and Donovan Nelson and Attorney at Law Michael Vaccianna met with Political Leader Nazim Burke and other executive members of the NDC in an almost 3-hour meeting at a hotel located in the Morne Rouge area.
An online search on Alston Stewart has revealed that he was the main man behind the change of Government in Guyana following its 2015 general elections. “It was almost an impossible job… it was a Herculean task,” Stewart reportedly told the Jamaica Observer in an interview following the coalition victory in Guyana.
“A lot of people thought that it could not be done, but a lot of hard work went in, and in the end the alliance came through. We applied the right strategies,” Stewart stated.
However, in a interview on Sunday, Stewart who served as PNP’s Campaign Administrator in 2011, was tight-lipped about his visit, but confirmed that he has held a meeting with Burke.
“I am here, not at the invitation of the party, but I am here in Grenada and have met with officials or persons associated with party,” he replied, when asked if he was in Grenada at the invitation of the NDC.
Michael Vaccianna is one of Jamaica’s former Ambassadors to the USA and served on numerous boards when the PNP was in office, while Donovan Nelson has also served on various boards during the reign of the PNP. It is widely known that the NDC is associated with the PNP, and have in the past used some of its operatives during election campaigns. There was a heavy presence of PNP political campaigners in the lead up to the 2008 general elections in Grenada, in which the NDC won 11 of the 15 seats.
One party official who described Friday’s meeting as productive, said that there were less involved in the 2013 general elections. The NDC lost that election and won no seats in the House of Representatives in February 2013, but presently has 3 representatives in the Senate who were appointed by the Governor General in accordance with the Constitution.
The official who wishes not to be named, said that the party is monitoring closely the outcome of the Constitution Reform Referendum Vote, which is scheduled for 27 October 2016, as it can have impact future of the party for the 2018 general elections in Grenada.