Fri | Dec 2, 2016

The inarticulate majority

Published:Friday | November 28, 2014 | 12:00 AMNorda Seymour-Hall

Government minister and People's National Party Chairman Bobby Pickersgill recently commented that Jamaicans are not talking about the Outameni-National Housing Trust (NHT) controversy. When asked by a journalist if he had checked Twitter, he retorted that it was the "articulate minority" that was on Twitter.

I was shocked first by the fact that he did not realise the issue is on the lips of people he classifies as "ordinary Jamaicans", and second, at his inadvertent and arrogant admission that the system has failed to develop the Jamaican people. Is it because the Government realises that the majority of Jamaicans are inarticulate why it behaves so arrogantly?

There is something that the goodly minister needs to remember about the inarticulate majority. It is the inarticulate majority that have sacrificed, for the most part, and sent the articulate minority to school. It is the inarticulate majority that have kept the People's National Party in power for so many years and they have very little to show for it.

inarticulate majority

not benefitting

The truth is, the inarticulate majority have not been able to benefit, to any satisfactory degree, from NHT policies. Most don't qualify for mortgages and they are not listened to because they are not articulate enough. The Government continues to treat them with arrogance because it thinks that those who have been failed by an inadequate education system are not sensible enough to reason. So much so that they are led to elect some leaders who are themselves inarticulate and subject to the scripts, manipulation and hypocrisy of some articulate, old dinosaurs and articulate, young opportunists seeking a political future.

The articulate minority have a moral responsibility to speak up for those whose voices have been made inarticulate by the political system as well as the colonial language barriers that seek to disenfranchise them. They also have a responsibility to give voices to the voiceless. This is why talk shows, vox pops, investigative journalism and town hall meetings are all important. This is why it is important for a solid middle class that can provide leadership on views and offer alternatives to the political class is important.

failure to act

If the government minister had the common touch, he would have realised that the inarticulate majority have been speaking out on talk-show programmes, in bars, on the street, and yes, on social media too! Perhaps they haven't taken to the streets to burn and curse, so the Government thinks they are content and they don't have to act.

Are you waiting on a frustrated response from the inarticulate majority that elected you before we all get good governance?

Every student of politics knows that all it takes to maintain a bad government is an inarticulate, brainwashed majority. Every student of politics also knows that a frustrated inarticulate majority, complemented by an articulate minority, can change the course of history.

Perhaps most of us are not able to express our ideas and feelings clearly or as easily as others, but the same emotions are felt. The dumb, too, have pain and they elected articulate people like you to speak for them with integrity, not to throw the failings of your political and education system in their faces with disdain.

If you and your colleagues, Mr Minister, continue with your arrogance, you will find that those you consider to be inarticulate will indeed articulate a response to you - perhaps through the ballot. All it takes is an X.

n Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and norda.seymour@gmail.com.