By Jeniel Lamb
The Prime Minister has called for a general election and it might be the right time or a call too soon. The current Prime Minister has had his first full term in office and would have had until early next year to call for an election. This means that he had the option of announcing it now but have the actual election date in November or even December. He, however, decided that as soon as possible was the best course for the most important election in recent years. Why do I believe that this is the most important election? For many years Jamaica’s main issues have been crime, infrastructure, and other underdevelopment problems. However, 2020 has come with new issues, disasters, that no politician truly plans for.
This pandemic has made the current government work like never before. They have had to be more than just ministers. They had to become fast learners, who are empathetic and also decisive in making decisions that are hard on everyone but necessary. This year has shown the hard workers of our government.
That, however, does not mean that this is the right time for general elections to be called. This decision might just cause the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) their seats because many people are either not going to vote because they fear COVID-19 or vote against them because they feel wronged by their government for being forced to stay home, wear masks and sanitize. The unforgiving nature of people could cause them this election.
There are people who believe that they should have gotten more from care programs or that the government should have never opened our borders. There are many reasons why the Jamaican people might be in favour of a different leader at this point.
The timing of both nomination day and voting have come as a rush for many persons and it might seem overzealous. To announce to the public that they have three weeks to decide on who they want to vote for and in a sense be done with it, shows a level of confidence that may not be accurate for our current leaders.
Then again many people have already voted within themselves and know where their allegiance lies. Being “die-hearted” is no laughing matter in Jamaican politics and without seeing or hearing a manifesto or any plans for their constituency, many have already made up their minds where they will be putting their physical X come September 3rd.
This election has also started off very differently from those before with there being more dubs than actual plans, by the two major political parties. The two main local parties have been battling via popular culture i.e. music and social media, more than ever before. This might be a shock to many but in truth it is obviously a marketing tool being used to lure young voters to polls.
Gone are the days of “grease my palm” and I’ll vote for you. Young people are more preoccupied by their phones than reality and to reach them you need to be trending, and how better to do that than through music. Albeit, a genre that started as anti-system being used for political purposes might be ironic to many older artists. The younger ones, however, just want their moment to shine and politicians want young people to vote. A mutual understanding if there was ever one.
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