Caribbean politicians ‘YouTubing’

NEW YORK, USA, November 30, 2007 – Popular video web portal YouTube is proving popular not just for the US presidential elections but for Caribbean elections as well, a HBN check has revealed.

YouTube has become the weapon of choice by strategists in many Caribbean countries that have just completed general election. And with Bermuda heating up for the December 18th election, the site is becoming a major outlet for candidates seeking to get their message an international audience.

Just like the then opposition of Jamaica, the Jamaica Labor Party did earlier this year, the Bermuda opposition United Bermuda Party is ‘YouTubing’ it. Several ad messages from the UBP dominate the 26 items found for ‘Bermuda Election’ on the site.

But the ruling Progressive Labor Party is not to be left out. The PLP is also on YouTube, unveiling its candidates and promoting a “banquet” speech by Premier Ewart Browne. Even the island’s registrar has weighed in with a digital voting message of his own.

The Bermuda blitz comes on the heels of similar digital moves by the opposition in The Bahamas and Jamaica. Both parties went on to win the election and oust the incumbent. During the Bahamas election earlier this year, the now ruling, then opposition party, the Free National Movement, used the site to post several of its anti-Progressive Liberal Party messages. No message was found from the PLP.

The JLP in Jamaica used a similar strategy during their recent election with the then incumbent Peoples National Party failing to launch a counter ‘YouTube’ assault. Both the FNM and the JLP went on to win their respective election and whether YouTube played a part or not one will never really know for sure. But the noticeable shift in campaign strategy shows a smart embracing of the digital technology age.

However, Trinidad & Tobago, which completed a recent election, did not seem as digitally minded with the only video pieces appearing under the Trinidad election category being posted by news sites and reporters. No videos were observed by the opposition parties which went on to score a defeat to the incumbent Peoples National Movement. (