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LETTER OF THE DAY - Don't surrender vote to diehards

Published:Saturday | June 9, 2012 | 12:00 AM


Many of the people I interact with are part of the highly educated, highly motivated, highly exposed section of Jamaicans. We are not only 'book-smart' but also street-mart, yet we take a back seat to what happens in our country, whether we are at home or abroad.

If we allow only the diehard party followers, the undereducated, the close-minded to continue choosing our leaders, we will forever have poor representation. If the groups that participate most in the political process have low expectations, the people who put themselves up for office will be low-quality.

If they knew we Jamaicans wouldn't stand for foolishness, some people would not dare even put their names on a ballot. But since they know whatever they do, one or the other will win, then anybody, whether patriotic or unscrupulous, will run, go on to win and only 'look fi eat a food'.

As young people, the leaders of later (not the distant future), we need to participate in the process. We can start off quite simply, by exercising our franchise, i.e., by voting. It might seem hopeless, but imagine if all of us who felt similarly went out and exercised our power, the possibilities would be endless.

Even if the change doesn't materialise instantly, over time we would start to see the difference. I'm not saying the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is a better alternative to the current Government, but look at the last election: Voter turnout was so low that basically only the diehard party followers turned out. We sat back and allowed only this group to choose who would run our country for the next five years. Imagine that!

best representation

We should not even blame our leaders. They offered their services, a small percentage of the population voted, but we all implicitly accepted. They may, in fact, be doing the best they are able to. We are in a bad economic position and we need smart people who are able to balance the need for growth and development with the need for debt repayment and taxation.

The old ways of doing things are no longer effective, so too the old kind of politician. We, you and I, are at fault for not forcing each party to put forward the best representation in the interest of Jamaica. We instead allowed the parties and, by extension, their diehard followers, to choose in the interest of themselves and their parties.

Maybe in the next election we will wake up to the misery of our current circumstance and force the change to happen. If not, we will continue to live off our good name and the hard work put forward by out forefathers as we wallow at the bottom.