Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Let's follow Scots and have referendum

Published:Saturday | September 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM


It may have come as a shock for some Jamaicans that Scotland, a country, a territory of its former colonisers in fact, would choose not to be independent, although the true facts surrounding issues would get us deep into democracy, economic security and geopolitics.

Since it was mentioned by the opposition leader, Andrew Holness, in the Budget Debate, there hasn't been much talk or movement towards the idea of a 'grand referendum' to tackle many decisions that Jamaicans deserve to make themselves, including repeal of the buggery law, accepting the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final appellate jurisdiction, and the removal of the monarchy. Holness had suggested that the vote should be held along with the next local government elections which might trigger an increased turnout for the low-key election.

There is no better time to return to the idea of a democracy to the forefront. The essence of a referendum was on full show Thursday in Scotland. With a more than 80 per cent turnout nationally, and 90 per cent in some councils, it was an overwhelming show of concern for their democracy, including those as young as 16 being able to participate. People want to participate in democracy, not pure politics.

It also brought attention to devolution and decentralisation of power. The thought of true representation comes about when the people can directly feel the system working through their community, town, city, parish and/or state councils.

This referendum gave credence to political activism; politicians shouldn't just be party dwellers but they must stand for a cause and must be able to voice different views that go against the tide.

But the biggest lesson will come afterwards when we see how Scots and the United Kingdom as a whole deal with repairing the rift and moving forward. Hopefully, Jamaica has taken note and we are to accomplish our own referendum to settle issues for a generation.