The curtains have come down on the by-election in Central Westmoreland and before anyone decides to paint me any particular colour, let me first say that I was born in and have spent most of my life in the constituency of Central Westmoreland. I am enumerated but have never voted. I am not a member nor am I affiliated with any political party but I am a proud card-carrying member of the JAMAICA PARTY.
This by-election brought all kinds of people from all tiers on either side of the political divide to my little part of Jamaica. Now that the dust has settled, I hope that our elected representatives and their affiliates can get back to the matter of governance and nation building and leave the politicking and electioneering until next year or the following year depending on when the next general election is scheduled (because the politicking etc. will definitely be a feature).
I had never thought about leaving Jamaica in the hopes of being able to live a better life until last year. I have visited enough countries where people have been rude to me just because I am Jamaican and heard countless other stories to know that you just cannot take up yourself and just go anywhere. Do not get me wrong I have been to several other countries where I have been treated with courtesy. Usually it’s the “small fries” who want to act all “high and mighty”. I think the only reason we are riding out the current situation is because we Jamaicans “take everything make laugh”. So despite the fact that every time something happens or is said and we think it just cannot get any worse and invariably it does; we have people like Clovis “taking serious thing make joke” in a national newspaper and our water cooler talk and in other social gatherings tend to take on a lilt.
What I would like to say to our elected representatives is this, Jamaica is not a slum. Most Jamaicans live above the poverty line. So the next time you cut a ribbon in one of our depressed communities remember that you also have a responsibility to the rest of the population. We do not ask for things that you have to spend money on like fences or for hand outs in whatever form they may take; we ask for accountability and transparency, good governance and leadership. I would like it if I did not see old people and children begging on the street; that the boys that are begging in a very unsafe location albeit with a police car less than 40 m away would have somewhere to go and be out of harm’s way; that public healthcare was not such a nightmare for the patients and the providers and that even after paying taxes on nearly everything I would not have to suffer potholes and still have to be helping out the less fortunate because our social services are lacking. If there were good roads and proper access to water everywhere, health care, an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, and our most vulnerable (children, elderly, mentally ill) were being cared for, etc.; me and my battered and bruised dollar would find it a lot easier to tough it out.
So Mr Vaz, being the eternal optimist that I am, I am going to choose to believe that you entered this arena for the right reasons and if that is the case I would like to say I am proud of you, I wish you all the best and I hope that you will be a great leader, a leader that all Jamaicans can emulate and more importantly that you will help to lead the change that we so desperately need.