Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Political coexistence in democracy

Published:Wednesday | November 9, 2016 | 11:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Sometimes I really wonder if politicians forget that Jamaica is really a democratic country. You only want an election to be announced and the diatribe begins to spew - spewed by persons who are supposed to be leading the process of transforming our island into one united force working for the common good.

I watched the newscast last evening and was really hopeful when I saw some young prospective councillors sending the message of unity to their followers. One turned up to show support for her opposing candidate, though the function appeared to have been organised on political basis. The other was clear - he wanted to be a councillor that unites the community he was assigned to run as candidate in the upcoming election.

But right on the heels of these positive stories, I was numbed by the utterance of someone I considered a seasoned politician. He was strident in his pronouncement that he will not accept the outcome of the election if a candidate from the opposing side wins in a particular division. He went a little further explaining that he cannot envision himself at the table with someone from the opposing side. And as was expected, the audience cheered him on.

Politicians must realise that they command a large, but not all-sophisticated audience, and many of their followers not only look to them for guidance but also take their cue from them.

I really believe that we need to think Jamaica instead of party politics, and we must call out these politicians who seek to tribalise instead of unify, whether it's the party we support or not.

Tribal politics has been that tight noose not only around our necks, but our entire being, retarding our growth and progress as nation. Since the advent of technology, it has allowed the world to see us in negative way - so far from what true Jamaicans really are.

Disunity and tribalism have outlived their usefulness, and I believe we all need to stand up and say enough is enough to anyone who seeks to tribalise our political process.

Our country will only progress when we all - no matter our political persuasions - come together and work for the good of this country.

WILBIG