Letter of the Day | Transforming Jamaica’s democracy, East Portland style
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In Jamaica’s Vision 2030 publication, it is stressed that transformational leadership is required for the vision to be successful.
In East Portland, at present, there is significant spending on improvement projects. According to the political ombudsman, many of the projects have not been approved by a state agency or are being supervised by a state agency. The increased expenditure in the parish has been noted in the supermarkets, hardware stores and bars. The election has been nicknamed a ‘buy election’.
The leader of the Opposition has called the extra spending corruption, and it is indeed. We had, however, hoped that the leader of the Opposition would have also continued to propose that his party would desist from these activities and will negotiate with the governing party for an agreement that this type of activity would no longer be a part of election campaigns.
And now that he had gotten the attention of well-thinking Jamaicans, he reminds the people that the provision and maintenance of basic infrastructure should not be the basis on which one votes nor should it be that you have had gainful employment in the weeks preceding an election. You should, in fact, feel insulted that infrastructure maintenance was withheld until this opportune time. Now that is transformational.
And as the listening public start pinching themselves, to be sure that they are not dreaming, the Opposition leader reminds his disbelieving audience that the only reason that there are delays in infrastructure maintenance is that financing is limited. And to allow the tax dollars to stretch, community organisations should provide volunteer labour for basic infrastructure maintenance, while the Government will provide material, supervision and ensure the volunteers are fed and refreshed. Private donations to the community organisation to assist with food and non-alcoholic beverages will be welcomed.
And then the unthinkable. The opposition leader decries the act of vote-buying. This is also corruption. Any attempt to bribe you should be reported to the 1-800-CORRUPT hotline. And now that the buzz on social media has begun and the leader’s speech is going viral, he turns to his colleagues and reminds them that the campaign must be one where local representation and national issues are discussed; there must be no personal attacks.
The newspaper editors agree that this is front-page news and a file photo of the opposition leader is not adequate, as this is a new beginning.