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Dissent crucial to democracy

Published:Monday | July 8, 2019 | 12:16 AM


Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in his address at a Father’s Day function held at the Office of the Prime Minister, touched on the concept of democracy and the need for the public to express their views on matters relating to the country.

He said: “We live in a democratic society, so you cannot suppress the expressions of alternative views and prevent people from expressing their concerns.”

Yet, dissent is rarely welcomed, and is often vilified.

The tendency to disagree is inherently human. While honest dissent is essential for progress in a democratic society, there is an inclination to equate it with disloyalty.

But dissent is not disloyalty. In fact, differences of opinion challenge the narrative and force one to think outside of the box, stimulating new ideas. Like plants that require exposure to the different elements to grow optimally, societies require a balance of differing views to meet the changing needs of the evolving communities.