Fri | Sep 22, 2017

End vote-buying by political patronage

Published:Wednesday | November 30, 2016 | 11:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Your editorial of Monday, November 28, 2016, titled 'Be done with vulgar buying of elections' was intriguing. I commend The Gleaner for tenaciously championing the improvement of Jamaica's democracy.

There is a reason vote-buying is illegal in every democracy: It usurps democracy and encourages the rule of the well-resourced, the rich, or the one per cent.

The main difference between the political patronage of the developing world and that of the developed world is that the latter caters to a large group, such as the elderly or women.

Developed-country politicians offer health care, welfare, and day care, while Third-World politicians offer short-term employment, materials for housing, and direct individual bribes.

The policy incentives in the First World contribute to the greater good and have a far greater effect on improving the well-being of a particular portion of the electorate, while in countries like Jamaica, the voting benefits are cosmetic.To be crude, it the difference between courting a lady by giving her a meal or offering her to help build a more prosperous future.

If Jamaica is to become a developed country, it must get rid of nickle-and-dime political patronage, such as vote-buying, and move towards far teaching social engineering.

BRIAN ELLIS PLUMMER

brianplummer@yahoo.com