Sat | Jan 20, 2018

Time to cooperate

Published:Friday | February 26, 2016 | 12:33 AMHILARY ROBERTSON-HICKLING

I voted as a Jamaican because it is a sacred duty. I did not vote for the leader of a particular party or because I love particular people, but because generations of Jamaicans have fought for this right to vote. Some lost their lives, some lost their minds, and others gained handsomely from this process.
The Book of Ecclesiates tells us that there is a time for everything. There is a time to campaign and a time to celebrate or express disappointment at the outcome.  There is a time to build the fragile nation of which we are citizens. No more blood must be shed.
Whatever the history of candidates and supporters, politics and policies, it is time to generate employment, reduce corruption, and organise ourselves effectively.
Throughout the mercifully brief campaign, I was reflective as part of the 12 per cent of the population over 60 now called the Third Age in retirement, or on the way there. My generation is looking back and looking forward. We are thinking about our mistakes and achievements. We recognise that a significant number of the candidates fall into this group or are even older. There must be a time for intergenerational dialogue about how to build a consensus to go forward.
Two countries that have advanced in different ways are Cuba, where Fidel Castro had declared that he wanted a cultured society, and Lee Kuan Yew, who was clear that he wanted Singapore to move beyond being a backwater. We now recognise that for at least one generation, the same leader had to be in place to articulate and execute the vision. Instead, we have had constant stops and starts, which have resulted in incoherent and unsustainable policies. It is also evident that economic progress needs stability, predictability and even, sometimes, a benevolent despot.
For many reasons, we have seen the right to choose as frequent removal of this party or that policy. A free-for-all often results in the chaos we see on the roads and in many aspects of national life. We have needed external policies to force us to do what we should have done before. This is a time to cooperate.