Sat | Mar 24, 2018

Debate doesn’t have to be a war

Published:Friday | January 29, 2016 | 12:00 AM


It is becoming more and more apparent that our prime minister has received the long-awaited touch from her Master, therefore the general election draweth nigh, and so it is also the season for election debates.

The Jamaica Debates Commission should be commended for continuing what is being established as a firm tradition in the democratic life of this country. However, I noted with interest the difference with which the US carried out their debate recently among aspirants of the Democratic Party.

I believe that we should give serious consideration to carrying out our debates in a similar fashion.

Instead of our politicians standing on platforms shouting rebuttals across from each other, why not stage it in a town hall-style forum with live streaming for our viewing public and interaction with a cautiously chosen audience of citizens, civil servants and journalists - people with genuine concerns and valid questions who are at the helm of society?

I suggest this because as a young person, oftentimes these things are grossly unattractive to us, but in this instance, I was compelled to listen as the debaters were not reading from scripts. The audience members sent in their questions, they were screened, after which they were allowed to ask them personally.

I found it very refreshing. It would prove way more fruitful than the usual adversarial form that our national debates have taken so far.