Mon | May 22, 2017

Generation of the disenchanted

Published:Wednesday | July 29, 2015 | 7:00 AMAndre Sheckleford

Elections are upon us. The governing People's National Party has been hopping around the island giving tales of their triumphs. The opposition Jamaica Labour Party has been dashing criticisms. However, to the generation of the disenchanted, having experienced decades of discontent, noise is upon us.

One can't help but remember the young men clad in white shirts during previous elections demanding 'a money' for their vote.

The politically charged place blame on the disenchanted for their failure to participate in the political process. Those who wave green banners will look incredulously, asking, "Have you not experienced any of the past 26 years?", for their party has only led the country for only about four and a quarter of that 26. Those of House Orange will proclaim the alternative to be of gross incompetence, and point to infrastructural and technological advancement.

I am a relatively young man in this rat race of life, and I am a part of the generation of the disenchanted, having been eligible to vote in two elections and opted not to cast my ballot. The first was in 2007 when I was barely 18 years old.

The second time was in 2011, where the JLP fought to convince the nation that it deserved a second term, despite the disasters surrounding the protection of, subsequent hunt for, then extradition of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, which led to so much bloodshed and loss of life.

There was no way this party could remain in power, but who was to replace them? A party which came out proclaiming that it would renegotiate a complex loan agreement with a giant multinational within two weeks? That claimed they would do this and slash taxes? That had the same old stalwarts from time immemorial who were part and parcel of the demise of this nation over the "18 years" the JLP harped upon in the previous election?

That pushed new young faces out to the fore, with voices that were more tribalistic and vitriolic than their forebears? They were not deserving of my vote, and to vote for them would have been to vote out the then ruling party, swapping one ill bunch for another.

Had I cast my vote in 2011 with a view to voting out the JLP, I would certainly be preparing to vote out what I perceive to be a most inept administration yet again. I would have embarked on a cycle of voting out, demonstrating the flaccidness of our democratic process.

Tekkin people fi eediat underscores this administration's style. To say the handling of chik-V was rubbish would be too generous. Couple this with the ridiculously low figures for the infected, and the absolutely disgraceful explanation given: to protect tourism.

Let's not forget the great sums of money gone missing from NSWMA which seemed to quickly become a non-topic. Let's not forget the former mayor in Hanover whose family was for everything imaginable, and will continue to navigate the course of life with bare sanction. Let's not forget the burning of Riverton that gripped the Corporate Area in a great health hazard for days, and the lack of responsibility which followed.

 

Fractured opposition

 

On the other side of the political fence is a most unimpressive Opposition, which is fractured and has demonstrated great immaturity. Minister Peter Phillips is certainly not doing a bad job with the holey basket he has to carry water, but I cannot help but think all opportunities and progress will be squandered by a party focused on petulance. For whom will I vote? The answer is simple: unless I am drastically impressed by one side (which certainly cannot be the governing side) between now and elections, I will not vote.

I am the generation of the disenchanted. I see two sides of the same coin, a rock and a hard place, two evils which do not deserve my endorsement. To vote will be to place my stamp of approval on the rubbish that will inevitably follow. I am one of the disenchanted who questions the validity of our political process, in a world where democracy is less democratic and governments are governed by commercial interests.

In the end, this may just be a pointless rant. It may serve as a nudge to the Opposition to show that they are worthy of more than a moment's consideration. It may be a signal to a third party to really show us what they've got. It may be a signal to myself to get up off my hind parts and do something more meaningful than write a tirade.

- Andre Sheckleford is a part-time lecturer, UWI, Mona. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and andre.sheckleford@gmail.com.