Mon | Oct 18, 2021

Letter of the Day | The voice of the people is the voice of God

Published:Thursday | March 14, 2019 | 12:00 AM


Some make errors. Some, mistakes. And, sadly, some blunder. From the latter, there seems little redemption. This I opined after perusing with impatient interest Monday’s article in The Gleaner, ‘Political blunder: Opposition stands alone as Jamaicans side with Government on SOE’. The resurrection of the crime monster, apparently, in all its glory, and the recently conducted Don Anderson polls bring the issue of the SOEs (state of emergency) again, front and centre, to public discussion.

A democratic society goes through pains to debate, discuss, and amend bills before they come into law. A guiding hand in the creation of any law is a government by the people and for the people, that is, only a legal set-up with the interest of the majority at heart makes sense in our non-dictatorial context.

On the matter of extending the SOEs, the People’s National Party (PNP) claims unconstitutionality. This should protect the people, in principle. Yet, at the polls, the people, the majority that is, are saying they do not want this constitutional protection. They want the SOEs. So, while Dr Paul Ashley has suggested that the PNP should have asked that the courts rule on the unconstitutionality of the prolonged extensions of the SOEs, if the judiciary renders them unconstitutional, then joy for the PNP. But what about the affected people? Aren’t they still affected? The point is, if both PNP and JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) decide to extend the SOEs – God forbid – for the next three or how many years, they have all legal right to do so and the issue of unconstitutionality does not arise, since, currently, only a two-thirds vote support in both Houses of Parliament is required for extensions to take place. Give the people, the majority, therefore, what they want. The law exists for the people, not the people for the law.


He who feels it knows it. I often wonder if there are two Jamaicas: those who feel it more than those who don’t. I say to all who do not support the SOEs for some time more, you are living in a cocoon, well insulated, and have never had crime as a guest in the sanctuary of your homes. Neither have you had your doors kicked off, or been awakened by death-spraying bullets outside your homes. Neither, I posit, have you had your loved one raped before your eyes. Speak, however, to the family of the security guard and courier recently gunned down in Montego Bay! Speak to the rape victims of the Uchence Wilson Gang. Speak to the mother of murdered children! We stay from afar and make pronouncements on situations near to other people. What a blunder the PNP has made! Irrecoverable!

If you are still uncertain where to go, turn to God, but remember, vox populi, vox dei – ‘The voice of the people is the voice of God’.

Matthew Baker


University of Technology, Jamaica