A final pose
On Thursday, some citizens are excitedly expecting to participate in an important democratic process.
• Most Jamaicans of voting age, having seen through the illusion called elections, will spend the day watching TV;
• Most Jamaicans realise Thursday’s event is an elaborate, carefully constructed farce, intended to benefit political parties and their sycophants, NOT the electorate.
• Most Jamaicans know their daily burdens won’t change, regardless of Thursday’s results.
I’m a living while I’m living, to the Father I will pray.
Only Him know how we get through every day.
All the hike in the price,
arm and leg we haffe pay
while our leaders play.
Most Jamaican mothers understand Thursday’s political activities are mere distractions from their daily lives. On Friday, they return to Wednesday’s tough decisions. What to ignore: school fee, food or medicine? Mothers who put school first will weep inconsolably when, years later, children graduate from UWI/UTech but remain interminably unemployed. On Friday, they’ll fret about children’s safety until they’re home after school.
All I see people a rip and a rob; all a grab.
Tief never love fe see tief wid long bag.
No love for the people who a suffer real bad;
Another toll to the poll may God help we soul
What is to stop the youths from get out of control?
Full up a education yet no on a payroll.
The clothes on my back have countless eyehole.
I could go on and on the full has never been told.
Of more than two million voting-age Jamaicans, 1.8 million are on the voters’ list. Of that amount, fewer than one million are likely to vote. Whoever wins, Jamaica loses, because the colour T-shirt worn by our nation’s pillagers will have been selected. While they pillage for five more years, we’ll be powerless to restrain them. We’ve been doing this for 53 years. Blindly, with only hopelessness in our eyes, we’ll do it again Thursday.
Who can afford to run will run
But what about those who can't...
they will have to stay.
Opportunity a scarce, scarce commodity
in these times I say ... .
'Untold Stories', from Buju Banton’s seminal 'Til Shiloh' album, was written by Jamaican icon, Mark ('Buju Banton') Myrie, Donovan Germain, Handel Tucker and Glen Browne. It features Browne on acoustic guitar and is a superb example of how local music can evolve while keeping our standards at global music industry levels.
Jamaican elections are warts on the face of New World slavery. Slave masters keep slaves submissive with promises to 'Step Up the Progress' or to take them 'From Poverty to Prosperity'. Like in Old World slavery when a few slaves were allowed in the Big House as 'house slaves', so shall some of us praise our slave masters to the skies and assist them to keep us enslaved by participating in their sham elections.
A few visionary slaves withhold their labour and are vilified (including by fellow slaves) but compensated by a spiritual certainty that they haven’t contributed to Jamaica’s 53 years of endemic poverty, terrifying insecurity, wretched under-education and crumbling infrastructure.
One day, slaves will revolt. They’ll insist masters govern rather than rule and in transparent, accountable ways. They’ll insist on real power for real people. Then elections might mean something. When the electorate controls the elected, slavery is abolished. Former slaves become citizens.
On election day, 1976, the Khooky Khast of Kharacters gathered around Gene Autry’s domino table for the last time. The gang was breaking up scattered among colleges, family migration and jobs. Old faithful, The Beast, The Dunce, Gene and I were present. The talk was all about impending IMF agreements but Michael Manley had promised, “We are NOT for sale!”
The Dunce announced, “Me haffe leave early to vote for Joshua.”
“But Dunce,” I said “You don’t live in Central Kingston. Who’s running in Mona?”
“Me no know and me no care. Me is born PNP. Me haffe vote fi Joshua, no matter who dem seh me a vote fa. If a macca, mek it jook yu!””
The Beast shrugged his shoulders and posed double-six. Autry and I weren’t voting types anyway so, fortified in our views by The Dunce’s tirade, we made a pact that we wouldn’t vote in that illogical system unless some future government abused human rights beyond mortal tolerance by banning horse racing or dominoes. In that case, we agreed to “vote dem out”. Otherwise, we swore we’d leave politics alone. We’ve not broken that childhood vow.
Peace and love.
Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.