Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Nothing to lose from boycott?

Published:Tuesday | February 16, 2016 | 2:00 AM

I think it's a trick. It's not a good look when you and Donald Trump make a similar decision on your path to political ascendancy. In true primary-school fashion, Donald decided he wasn't going to participate in the Fox News debates because the chosen host for the event would pick on him.

The PNP has decided that its team isn't debating because:

a) Andrew called the PM names and they want him to take them back.

b) They want to know how Andrew is paying for his big house.

In my humble opinion, these aren't reason enough for the country to be held at ransom. It just doesn't make sense to me. Why punish the people over a grouse you have with the Opposition? Take it up with Andrew, with his party, with the ombudsman, with your lawyer, with the police. Craftily include your issues as a jab in your every debate response to drive the message home when the whole country is watching.

The debates are important. People need to understand your party's position on critical issues that affect us. I am one of the many undecided voters. Any party that hopes to win my vote needs to clearly demonstrate to me why it is the better choice, and the even playing field of the debate floor is a great place to match your opponent toe to toe. I am listening.

Participation in the debates is also a show of respect for the people you hope to serve. I take it as a sign that you understand that you are accountable to me, and if I put power in your hands, you will carry out my will and what's in the best interest of the country. Not debating demonstrates an arrogance not befitting a public servant.

Saying you can't have your way so "yu nah play nuh more" just doesn't add up ... unless ... .

Perhaps the refusal to debate is a strategy. As one friend of mine said, "A low voter turnout means an automatic PNP win." Refusing to debate will surely turn off well-thinking Jamaicans who are already frustrated with both parties. By debating, the PNP would be running a risk. If the Opposition were to win the debates, based on the last election, there are 62 per cent of votes up for grabs. That could surely swing the pendulum.

DIEHARDS' VOTE

Since those in the political strongholds don't vote on issues, whether or not there is a debate, irrespective of what either party says, their votes won't change. The majority of the 38 per cent diehards will still vote orange. Perhaps the PNP fears that they have little to gain by debating and nothing to lose from a boycott. Politics - more specifically elections - has always been a numbers game.

It's time the articulate minority realise they aren't so minor. Only 38 per cent of persons voted in the PNP in the 2011 election. Polls have suggested an even smaller number indicating a willingness to vote them back in. There is power in the undecided. And even if by force, all parties should be forced to face not just each other, but to face the people.

The name-calling I can see past, because it happens on both sides. However, I, too, have questions about the funding of a $200-million mansion by two working professionals. If it's doable by legal means, I want the secret. And if it isn't, the law should take its course. It is an issue I believe should come up in the debates.

HOLNESS' SILENCE TROUBLING

Currently, Mr Holness' silence on the matter makes me uncomfortable. Since it is the big stick over the party's head nine days from elections, he should come clean and declare his source of funds and get on with it. I hope to get a response that settles my mind, either on or off the debating floor.

As an aside, nomination day left me bewildered and genuinely concerned.

Were I a politician, more specifically a sitting MP, mi woulda shame. How can your constituents be available to walk behind you and chant your name in the blaring hot sun at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday? Don't they have a job to which they should have reported? If they don't, you, as a politician, have got some serious introspection to do because you have failed them.

Ten thousand strong IS wrong! They should be at work!

- Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@yahoo.com, or tweet @findpatria.