LETTER OF THE DAY - Let overseas Jamaicans vote
The Editor, Sir:
I strongly disagree with the arguments from the representative of the Jamaican Diaspora Advisory Board to deny Jamaicans overseas the right to vote in local elections. I think it's people like these who account for the ill-state our beautiful island is in today. They were busy finding reasons why it wouldn't work instead of pursuing how it could work.
I am a Jamaican living overseas; I also hold a British passport which also makes me a European citizen. I moved from the United Kingdom (UK) to Spain four years ago, upon registering at the town hall for the community I reside in, I was given the option to vote either in the UK or Spain. Now, if they really wanted to give all Jamaicans the right to vote regardless of where they reside, it could be as simple as the above.
One option they could pursue which, I believe, would be the most simple and straightforward would be to have a national electoral website. This website could be similar to, for example, the US or UK online banking system, where each person would be assigned a numeration number once they apply for numeration and provide all the necessary identifications which would be required. This numeration number and a secret password would be all the voter need to securely log into the voting terminal and submit his or her vote. It is that simple. If it works for the international banking system, it can work for us if set up correctly.
Another question raised by the representatives of the diaspora was what constituency would we be in? Well, that's a silly question, I thought. I am from a district in the parish of Trelawny, and I have a property in that district, whichever constituency that district falls under that's my constituency. Every Jamaican, wherever they are in the world, has a link to a constituency where their family home or ties is, so I find this a very poor excuse.
I strongly believe (and this is no disrespect to patriotic Jamaicans living in Jamaica) that if the Jamaican Government insists on excluding Jamaicans overseas from voting in Jamaica, there will be a continuous decline in Jamaica and its economy. Why? Because sadly, the majority of Jamaicans residing in Jamaica are not voting for a better future for Jamaica, they are totally political activists, die-hearted Labourites and Comrades. The future of Jamaica is hardly ever a factor in their decisions.
I believe the politicians are scared to allow us to vote because they know our standards. They know we have no loyalty to either of the parties, our only loyalty is to the future of Jamaica and our votes cannot be bought.
I believe the representatives of the diaspora have ill-represented us on this most important issue which makes one wonder if they are the right persons to represent us at all.
We have to come back home and live with the consequences of their ill-advised decisions that contribute to the current crime wave and the state of our economy.
Give us the right to vote and the Government, whichever one in office, will be forced to buckle up because it can control the voters' minds in Jamaica but it can't control ours in the diaspora.
I think the present administration should seriously consider this as there are more PNPs in Jamaica than there are 'Jamaicans'. After all, they said it themselves, and I quote "Jamaica is PNP country".
All we want is a better Jamaica; give us the right to vote!
I am, etc.,