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Letter of the Day:The right to vote must never be treated lightlyy

Published:Thursday | February 18, 2016 | 2:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It is now being said that as many as (fifty) 50% of the Electorates might not vote in the upcoming Elections set for the 25th of February, 2016. It is also being said that the vast majority of those who have indicated an intention not to vote are young voters. This is a sad state of affairs and to a great extent is an indication of the failure of our educational system, our political leadership and indeed the media to educate young members of our country on the importance and the history of Universal Adult Suffrage.

Universal Adult Suffrage was not a gift to us at the initiative of the British. It was something that our fore-parents fought for, struggled for and several lives were lost in the battle for equal rights and justice over the years. The citizens who have indicated that they will not be voting gave a number of reasons for their decision. It appears that the majority of them are contending that they do not see what benefits they will get from participating in the democratic process. These citizens need to understand that should they withdraw their participation in the electoral process and the country ends up without a democratic system and instead descend into dictatorship they are likely to be far worse off than they are now.

The first thing that we need to appreciate is that a failure to vote has the potential of giving the country not necessarily the best government but the government that attracts the most voters from the few who will vote. If we take it that one of the parties is a lesser evil of two evils then the non-voters should proceed to vote for the party they consider to be the lesser evil as to stay away and not vote may result in the party which is the greater evil becoming the government. In deciding which party is the lesser of the two evils the non-voters should assess both parties along the following lines: the history of performance of the party; the current situation in the party in terms of the talents in the party; the human resources in the party and the policies of the party (not promises and gimmicks which should be ignored).

The non-voters should ask themselves; of the two parties which is the better one that should be put in charge of the country. Which is the better party that should be given the responsibility for social services, the development of infrastructure, health service, the educational system and the economy.

Having assessed the parties in the areas stated above, the persons not deciding to vote because "none no better than the other" should now decide which of the two parties is the lesser of two evils, and having made their assessment, they should turn up at the polling station and cast their vote for the party they have assessed to be the lesser of two evils. To stay away from the electoral process is to betray our fore parents, some of whom sacrificed their lives for us to get the right to vote.

The right to vote should never be treated lightly. It is something we fought for and we should defend, protect and use with pride.

Linton P. Gordon

Ocho Rios,

St Ann

lpgordon@cwjamaica.com