By Chelsea Campbell-Ellis
The results of the recently held general elections have proven once again that Jamaicans can follow through with action and retire lip service. In retrospect, I must register some commendations to the voting public for demonstrating their democratic right peacefully even after what was for many an upsetting outcome of the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) landslide victory in defeating the People’s National Party (PNP).
For the first time in my life, I believe the electorate was moved by a higher leading that led them to reject ‘blind’ voting. Such an unexpected move not only underscores democracy but it corrected the view held by many that, bastion seats could not be uprooted, hence making it abundantly clear that no seat is safe. In light of this, it is incumbent on all political officials to work arduously throughout all four years to deliver the ‘goods’ of the ‘promifesto’. After all, we have seen the treatment meted out to all the political elves who came out on the night before election.
The lesson to be learnt by both parties, from the novel voters, is that ‘if you ghost the people, the people will ghost you back’. Moreover, the vote today and think tomorrow generation is outnumbered.
Clearly, the people not only voiced their views but they also inked their decisions at the polls. Let the transparency now unfold even in the face of what is not short of deception on the Prime Minister’s part when he declared the community spread of COVID-19 on the day after the elections. Is this sheer coincidence or calculated ‘perfect’ timing? Jamaicans must now be vigilant to combat the coronavirus. At this juncture, it should be clear to all, that we are all literally responsible for our health.
Politicians, beware. ‘What is good for the goose will be good for the gander’ so complacency, non-performance and exploitation by the elected will not be tolerated. Political analysts have concluded that the victory of the JLP was greatly contingent on their electoral machinery that enabled them to mobilize and commandeer their voters. Whatever the factors were that contributed to their triumph, at its core was a demonstrated preference of policies over promises. Certainly, the ‘full belly today and starve tomorrow’ paradigm has also shifted.
I wish to challenge the very same Jamaican populace to put their ‘X’ beside their HEALTH now and bring into fruition, a landslide victory against that which threatens to kill thousands – COVID-19.
I implore every Jamaican to transfer the same effort that was invested in voting, to the observance of the health protocols that are expedient in staving off the virus. Without health, the dream of building a better Jamaica, stronger, will be nothing but a nightmare. Evidently, control over the virus has been lost to national community spread that was particularly transmitted by irresponsible and reckless individuals who apparently deemed themselves invincible.
It cannot be overemphasized that the virus does not discriminate against persons, status quo or creed. Therefore, the onus is on every individual to protect self and others by wearing masks, sanitizing and avoiding crowds.
In an ideal world with well thinking individuals, such a directive would need no reinforcement, but sadly, we share an environment with individuals whose cognitive abilities are either latent or just simply non-existent. Hence, they continue to flout the health protocols daily.
I urge everyone to be as devoted as they were on election day. Choose to be your brother’s keeper. Mobilize community spirit and cooperation to contain the spread of the virus. If necessary be another’s personal reminder, via social media. Each one must reach one and help one. The spread of the virus, to date, has escalated rapidly and alarmingly and of even greater concern is that this little ‘Jamrock’ paradise does not have the medical facilities to administer the restorative care to those who contract the virus, especially those who need ventilators. In fact, long before the positive cases started to spike in triple numbers the hospitals had exceeded their capacities.
Without a doubt, Jamaicans cannot afford to face the wrath of this pandemic.
Well thinking Jamaicans, I call upon you to demonstrate a greater sense of responsibility and care for self and others as we conduct our daily affairs. Let us not forget that it takes just one infected person to spread the virus. Obviously, the aim cannot be to further enable the spreading of the virus.
I implore you to exercise caution as you interact with people wherever you go. It is rather pointless to allow a few minutes of wild fun or disobedience to rob you of future years. The virus, like misery, loves company. It is also fertilized by insouciance and ignorance. Let us make a difference in the way we vote for our health. Wise up, man up, save yourself, save your families and save our country!
Chelsea Campbell- Ellis is an Educator and an Author.
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