Patriotism over party
In April, I put aside apathy and got enumerated, determined to vote in the next election. Some took that action to be a clear stance in opposition to the ruling party. I was labelled by some as a Labourite.
Let me set the record very straight.
I, and many other well-thinking Jamaicans just like me, couldn't care less about any political party. We care about our country. As long as a politician demonstrates a willingness to serve people and country, no matter the side of the divide, we will support them. Good - and bad - ideas have no colour, and I have had occasion to hear some from both sides of the fence.
The first time Damion Crawford came into my consciousness, he was on TV doing an interview as People's National Party Youth Organisation head. To my pleasant surprise, he was speaking out against a decision taken by his party. I had great respect looking on.
Crawford went on to aspire for a degree in every household in his constituency. He rallied resources and friends and well-wishers to work towards making that happen. He took the decision to not buy Easter bun for his constituents and to instead invest in extra classes for the children. One woman commented on national TV, "Him mussi tink a di pickney dem a go vote fi him"; and still he pressed on. Maximum respect.
I see Dayton Campbell working hard and keeping promises. And I like that. He uses his vocation as a medical doctor to go beyond the call of duty in his community - and without the ever-present video cameras and perpetual approval seeking. Big up!
My commendations to Floyd Green as well. The day after he was announced as candidate for South West St Elizabeth, I saw Floyd get down and dirty. He rolled up his sleeves and set to work on a school refurbishment project. I particularly liked that move because it was a demonstrative truth that you don't need to be the ruling party to make meaningful change.
On the other hand, I've heard another new female politician get on her soapbox and preach about why the Jamaica Labour Party is the best party to deliver Jamaica. Yawn. I expected better. Young politicians, you are a brand new crop of hope. Stainless as at today. Bright. I am disappointed every time I hear one of you on either side riding the 'best party' train. To me, that's the start of the same silly political tribalism.
the politics in politics
For the career politicians who have been at it forever, I think the horse has already gone through the gate. They have done their time (and damage). But you, young people, have a real opportunity to change things.
I'm tired of the politics in politics. I long for a set of politicians that are all about Jamaica and less about the political parties they belong to.
A note to the Opposition: I don't want to hear you complaining. You are so caught up with pointing out the ills of Jamaica and the other side that you forget that there is a beautiful island beyond the politics. And if you continue to dwell on the negatives, you, and those who look to you for guidance, will soon forget that there are things left to treasure and fight for.
To the voters who are in fact in search of an alternative, the complainer is not that alternative. Because even after your complaints, I still don't know what you can do.
talk less, do more
The undecided are looking for someone as passionate about Jamaica as we are. I want a representative who proves to me that he or she will tough it out because of a love for Jamaica.
New politicians who have joined the Opposition, this is your opportunity to talk less and have the voting public see you doing more. Show the Government up by doing the things you criticise that it should be doing. Waiting to be in government to make change makes you no different from the man in the streets waiting on government for a handout.
This is my Jamaica. And I live here. And I love it. It's far from perfect, but I refuse to sit every day and wallow in the things that are wrong. And I am very aware that there is much that I can do in my small corner to make a change. And I live in hope that my generation will be that change.