Sat | Jan 22, 2022

Both candidates should debate

Published:Saturday | March 9, 2019 | 12:00 AM


May I suggest a way to lift the political debate in East Portland above the ‘tracing’ level at which it is now?

The date for the poll in which the people of the constituency will choose between Ann-Marie Vaz of the Jamaica Labour Party and Damion Crawford of the People’s National Party for their member of parliament is just a few weeks away – providing the prime minister does not change the date again – and, in a mature political climate, a debate between the duo is the obvious way to go.

Rather than continuing to trade insults and keep the temperature of the campaigns at the near-to-boiling level that has become the norm in our political arena, why do our major media houses not stage an on-air debate between the two candidates?

I would venture to say that a live debate aired by all TV and radio stations and the Internet, with questioners from among electronic, print and the citizen journalists of social media – as in questions taken via the Internet (Facebook Live and Twitter) – would be of huge interest, not to only the people of East Portland, but the country at large, and, of course, in the huge Jamaican and Portland diaspora and the region, to whom electoral campaigns in the big, trendsetting island of Jamaica are always of interest.

A debate

That debate could be moderated by one of our media personalities – may I volunteer The Gleaner’s Erica Virtue – or perhaps an academic, or a sensible church personality. Or, if we want to be completely forward-looking, cutting--edge and interesting, a moderator like the strange, aggressive and amusing Michael Williams from the almost moribund National Democratic Movement (tongue firmly in cheek when I say that).

Would it not be delightful to have both candidates look Jamaicans in the eye, as it were, and tell us what their written-in-stone five-year and 10-year plans are to improve the lives of the people whose trust, faith and votes they are seeking come April 4, 2019?

That would be a first in Jamaican politics and possibly the start of a serious trend.