I don’t usually discuss politics in Jamaica, as I find that very few persons are able to have constructive, unbiased and objective conversations regarding the different political parties. Most Jamaicans only see green or orange, and not necessarily what is best for their country. Often times when persons are asked “why do you vote?,” they usually respond that “their grandparents, great grandparents or great great grandparents voted for the party they choose.” A few persons will give valid reasons, while others choose not to vote at all. Will Jamaicans ever vote for country or will they continue to vote for party? Do we understand why it’s important to vote for our country and not just a political party? Here are Sharla’s Thoughts.
Voting is a method used to express one’s opinion or will in response to a proposed decision. When we vote in an election, we are making our thoughts, values, feelings and needs known to the representatives of our communities, towns, parishes and country. It is not a decision that should be taken lightly. We must become informed citizens in order to decide who are the best candidates to represent our values and needs. Why should we be informed? When we become informed we will know the key issues affecting our communities, towns, parishes and country, as well as the position of the candidates on each issue.
Voting is the only way many of us will have a say in how our government functions. When we vote, we hold our government accountable for their actions, which in turn creates a sense of responsibility. How you might be wondering? Our chosen candidates will know that once they have been selected for representation, they will have to conduct themselves in a professional manner and perform the job they have been chosen for. They will also know that if they are not conducting their duties, they will be removed from public representation.
Voting has also been found to contribute to the development and growth of many countries. It has also been found that countries which conduct frequent, competitive and fair elections enjoy better economic growth. This economic growth happens as governments are forced to become disciplined and develop policies that benefit their countries. The right to vote is such an important right, that it could make or break the economy of a country.
There are many countries where persons do not have the right vote, or have only recently received the right to vote. In Saudi Arabia women received the right to vote in 2015, and the country has had only seven elections in eighty years, as it’s government is in practice a monarchy. In Belgium and Turkey persons are required to vote, and in some cases may lose their right to vote if they do not use it. They may also find it difficult to get a job in the public sector. Can you imagine living in a country where in you are forced to vote or you will no longer be able to? This is how important it is to ensure that when we vote, we are making the best decision for our country.
I implore all Jamaicans, when you make the decision to vote, do not do it because you want a political party to win. When you vote, do it because it is the right thing to do and vote for the candidates who will make the best decision for our country. We are blessed and privileged to have this important right, let us use it wisely. These are a few of my thoughts, tell me what you think.