Diaspora vote dangerous
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Every now and again we hear talk by some of the need to give Jamaicans who live abroad the right to vote. Among the many reasons I hear is the claim that those who have decided to live abroad should be allowed to demonstrate their patriotism. I must say that I think this diaspora vote is not only a bad idea, I think it is dangerous.
First, I really don't understand this talk of patriotism by those who have decided to leave. In what could be argued as our most desperate time of need, those who have come to the conclusion that there is no real hope for Jamaica have demonstrated their so-called patriotism by abandoning us. As far as I can see, they have already exercised their right to vote - with their feet.
However, I have other concerns. Many of us who have left these shores don't really have much to do with Jamaica anyway. How then will they be making an informed vote - through online media that have questionable levels of accuracy?
We have to be careful about uninformed voting. We are already suffering from the power of those diehard supporters who constantly, for all practical purposes, force the rest of us to have to put up with bad governments. Why would we want more uninformed votes to make is easier to get bad electoral results?
Remember, unlike these overseas Jamaicans, it is we Jamaicans who are here who will have to live with the consequences of their uninformed vote. Let the right to vote remain with those who must live with the consequences!
There is another problem: Opening up our democracy to this diaspora vote can also open up our elections to foreign meddling, as foreign governments try to influence us through these voters. I don't think any of us would necessarily want this.
I think it would be a very terrible mistake if we should give Jamaicans living abroad the vote.
MICHAEL A. DINGWALL