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More young people need to vote- Douglas

Published:Friday | February 26, 2016 | 2:00 AMOrantes Moore
Former People's National Party Member of Parliament Harry Douglas.

ST MARY SOUTH EASTERN:

Former People's National Party (PNP) Member of Parliament for South East St Mary Harry Douglas has praised representatives from both political parties for trying to elevate the country, but insists more must be done to engage young adults in the electoral process.

Speaking yesterday from the control centre in Annotto Bay where his successor, Dr Winston Green went up against Dr Norman Dunn, Douglas, 74, noted that although many young people had voted in this election, a significant number failed to visit the polls.

Douglas, who held the seat in South East St Mary for 18 years before eventually being deposed by Jamaica Labour Party candidate Tarn Peralto in 2007, told The Gleaner: "I'm retired now, but I'm here are the control centre today because as a lifelong member of the PNP, when duty calls and you have to respond positively.

"What I'm really enthused about is seeing the young people come out. Dr Green has promoted education, training and things like that where I left off, and his intention is to continue doing that.

"We really need to integrate everyone into the society, build a better Jamaica, and not look forward to the metropolitan north or Europe. People over the age of 60 years old; after the left school, they maybe worked in the civil service, went abroad to educate themselves, and come back to Jamaica.

"These are some of the things we have to inculcate in our young people: pride in our country, dignity and hard work. Not rubbing out your hand-middle with your pants below your knees. I know it's a new fad and new fads come every day, but we need some pride and purpose, especially the young men."

According to government statistics, more than 58 per cent of the population in St Mary are under 30 years old, which suggests the issue of appealing to young voters is a major issue.

Douglas agrees. He said: "Because there is a lack of opportunity here, some of our brightest minds head to North America, Europe, or elsewhere in the Caribbean as soon as they graduate.

"I just hope our young people will look at here and abroad, and realise that we Jamaicans, who are pretty bright and excel everywhere, must take range of our opportunities and continue to keep raising Jamaica's profile on the world stage."

The former MP clearly enjoys retirement and does his best to avoid becoming bored. He explained: "Sometimes it's a little bit frustrating with nothing to do, so I do a few little things here and there for the party, but most of my work is in Kingston now.

"I don't drive at night anymore, unless it's just around town because I spent 54 years in politics and it wasn't like it is now where you have computers and cell phones, back then you had to always be in the field."

rural@gleanerjm.com