They will not get my vote
The Editor, Sir:
Having been alive for 18 years, a more confusing period of time I have never seen. In my early life, the term 'prime minister' was synonymous with the name P.J. Patterson, simply because I was born during the era of the Patterson-led People's Naional Party (PNP) government.
I can also recall vaguely two elections that gave me 'holiday' and that my school, Moneague Primary and Junior High School, was used for polling. Vaguely, I also remember conversations among my classmates, who only repeated what their parents said: "P.J. agguh win anyways." I had a sense of fear in discussing those issues publicly.
Apart from the fact that the fabric of Jamaican society continued to deteriorate, with respect to crime stemming from tribalistic political attitudes, there was also development in the post-'borrow-from-the-IMF' period. In my mind, Highway 2000 serves as a constant reminder, the upgrading of the JUTC service, and the beautiful Half-Way Tree Transport Centre.
Sadly though, like any Jamaican Government, it was polluted with the stench of corruption. Near the climax of the 18-year rule - the 'P.J. to Portia' transition - we saw the Trafigura scandal, and the still unresolved light bulb saga.
After this time, I heard many of my friends proudly declaring the party they supported, but I was still undecided. At the time, I believed that I could only make an informed decision when I have experienced both a PNP and a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) government.
The Golding administration, instead of helping me to choose which of the colours to parade in next election, has added to my confusion. For in the space of a few years, not even a full term, we have seen appointments and re-appointments, more ministers of national security than some phone companies may name changes, an alleged drugs and arms dealer being protected on technicalities, the engagement of a United States law firm by an 'invisible' hand, for according to Karl Samuda, the Government did not pay. But Manatt says it was paid (what, for me, is a tidy sum) for acting on behalf of the Government.
Despite these easy-to-see flaws, however, the Golding administration has given us no new taxes for this year, and a decrease in others. It has also seen a review of many laws - though I do not support the retention of capital punishment.
Confused beyond belief
One may say that it is an unfair comparison, because the conditions are different given the recession, and the fact that this is just one term. They argue that in 18 years, some development would have come forth.
However, from my standpoint, I am confused beyond belief. I do not expect a perfect government, but I do not believe that at anytime I should be forced to choose the lesser of two (or two and a half) evils, and I am sure I speak for many other Jamaican youth. Now that I am 18 years old, the purpose of a voter's I.D. seems only for identification. I asked one of my teachers what I should do with the ballot, and she gave me a humorous yet remarkable advice: spoil it.
So, Mr Editor, to make my contribution to the political arena, neither the head nor the bell will receive my valuable 'X'. And I would hope that all persons in my position would not sacrifice their precious two strokes of the pen for the mere experience, or because we were forced.
The PNP and JLP have done to politics what some of our fast food outlets have done to chicken.
I am, etc.,