Wed | Jun 19, 2024

Letter of the Day | Political polarisation retards national progress

Published:Tuesday | May 21, 2024 | 12:05 AM


Jamaica has a long history of political polarisation which has retarded the country’s progress and development. After more than six decades of political independence, we have been unable to unify our nation around policy objectives to secure sustained economic growth and prosperity for a majority of our people.

Ordinary Jamaicans are the biggest losers, as they remain comfortably fettered to the idea which disregard their common struggles for socio-economic advancement. Instead, most stand in staunch defence of tribal politics, at the expense of national and personal progress. Even the most erudite and supposedly enlightened are willing participants, which undermines the value of education, if the educated cannot think critically.

Last week in Europe, there was an assassination attempt on the life of the Slovakian leader, presumed to be informed by political polarisation. I doubt this will elicit much concern in Jamaica, to the point of an evolution in our politics and governance, which will displace political expedience for national imperatives, to encourage the creation of a better country for all our people. It appears too daunting a task to put Jamaica first.

Sadly, at the sacrifice of creating the foundation for a prosperous and safe society, we are doing an excellent job of playing out our political tribalistic character in debates about, inter alia, crime, public integrity, constitutional reform and the racial antecedents of our leaders. And while we are on this fool’s errand, there is an alarming deterioration in the social fibre of our society.

Our tribal politics has us boxed in and while we remain occupied, tallying partisan political grudges, the news at prime time bares stark reminders of the carnage which characterises our society. Among other frightening realities, there is no greater evidence of our national carnage than the daily reports of children being killed or abused. Regrettably, we need not be appalled by the genocidal reality faced by children in Gaza today, because we are determined to find a parallel here.

Why is it so difficult to unfetter ourselves from the tendency to always dissect every issue along partisan political lines? It has not served us well, and it never will. We are fast becoming a society with no conscience, driven by our blinkered, unyielding attachment to political partisanship, which has consistently derailed our progress.

Political polarisation has stagnated Jamaica’s prospects for true prosperity and it need not be so for a country characterised by our resilience, creativity and innovativeness. We need to awake from our stupor and put Jamaica first, instead of squandering the possibilities for greatness. Let us get on with it and secure a better society for our children.


Montego Bay