Wed | Apr 24, 2024

Letter of the Day | Voter apathy is disheartening

Published:Friday | March 1, 2024 | 12:05 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Once again, we found ourselves immersed in the atmosphere of an election, I witnessed first-hand the disheartening reality of low voter turnout. Out of a list of over 300 individuals given to me to work with, only around 15 per cent exercised their democratic right.

During every election cycle, I am confronted with distressing observations. There are those who, in their fervour, claim to be voting for Jesus, as if His divine sovereignty depends on our earthly ballots. However, as a devout follower of Christ, I am acutely aware that His authority transcends human elections. However, we are indeed His representatives in the earth and should represent Him well in all spheres. One preacher aptly remarked that genuine discipleship involves active engagement in the affairs of our nation, a sentiment deeply rooted in biblical principles.

Equally disheartening is witnessing fellow Jamaicans reducing their civic duty to mere allegiance to politicians, as if they were mini gods. They remain conspicuously absent until the election season, then suddenly emerge, distributing ‘loaded T-shirts’ and making hollow promises. The state of our roads, perpetually crumbling despite superficial repairs, serves as a stark reminder of the governance failures that persist. Rather than fixing the roads with durable material, each time the rain drizzles we are greeted with sinkholes and precipices, just so that the ‘a man can eat a food’ philosophy can continue.

We must not passively lament while politicians exploit our nation for personal gain. The evolution of Jamaican politics, from bygone eras to the present, reflects both progress and regression. As the adage goes, ‘All it takes is for good people to keep silent.’ We possess a democratic right to make our voices heard, a legacy secured through the sacrifices of our forebears.

One cannot help but wonder how our ancestors, who endured persecution and even death for the sake of democracy, would perceive our apathy towards this cherished privilege. Surely, they would lament the casual disregard with which we treat their hard-won legacy. As our Jamaican parlance would say, ‘they must be all turning in their graves.’

Regrettably, this indifference threatens to be perpetuated by future generations, who observe and internalise our behaviour. We must transcend partisanship and make informed decisions that shape the future of our beloved nation. Let us envision a Jamaica – this piece of rock we call home – where our children, grandchildren, and all future generations thrive in a society built on integrity and accountability.

DWIGHT DAWKINS