Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Letter of the day: If only our politics was mature, cerebral

Published:Wednesday | February 24, 2016 | 12:00 AM


It is extremely disappointing to note that after 72 years of universal adult suffrage and almost 54 years of political Independence, our election campaigns have not matured to serious discussion or debate of alternative development policy options by parties vying to form our next government.

Instead of debating different development visions, both parties have opted to entertain their core supporters with mass meetings. Standard fare at these meetings are the latest dancehall hits, dancing, curried goat eating, drinking, smoking and what appears to be a competition among speakers to see who has the best stand-up comedy routine.

Discussion of serious issues is not countenanced or possible at mass meetings, so character assassination of political opponents, trumpeting of self-declared successes (both real and imagined) in government, and denunciation of your opponent's tenure in government complete the entertainment package.

Truth be told, both major political parties have failed in the holistic development of Jamaica. While one party can credibly make a claim to be a better manager of the economy, the other party appears to be the better at developing legislation and policies to improve the social landscape and bring about some semblance of gender and class equality.

The above notwithstanding, the competing tribes are convinced that their party is good and the other party bad, therefore, they continually vote through orange- and green-tinted spectacles election after election. Small wonder, therefore, that politicians are not constrained to participate in debates as objective analysis is in short supply. Our politicians know that the inarticulate majority (to play on Bobby Pickersgill's infamous declaration) will don their coloured spectacles and cast their ballots regardless.

The prevailing political environment will not change as long as electors continue to vote blindly, with no regard for the plans and policies of competing parties. Our politicians will continue to take us for granted, dividing us into JLP and PNP areas, and Jamaica will continue to underperform economically. Bob Marley was right when he sang, "Through political strategy, they keep us hungry, and when you gonna get some food, your brother got to be your enemy."


Portmore, St Catherine