by Silbert Barrett
TORONTO, Canada – Is there a plan to mislead and deceive the Jamaican Diaspora? That should be clear to you from the recently concluded conference.
Jamaicans overseas won’t be part of a scheme or so-called partnership with a gov’t decided by garrisons votes whereby the Diaspora pay the bills but can’t help to decide the government. “You can craft it such that they vote in a constituent, and, therefore, it is a constituent vote, rather than deciding the Government.” –Holness
There is no need to craft a deception to deny Jamaicans overseas their citizenship rights. Under the Constitution Jamaicans in the Diaspora are legally entitled to vote.
The issue is how to facilitate the vote other than the diaspora taking a plane to go to Jamaica to vote.
So for those ignorantly objecting the Diaspora vote, this is not the issue.
Therefore, Mr. Holness should come clean and make it a priority to allow for the best least expensive and convenient way to facilitate, manage and maintain the diaspora vote. The government under the supervision of the Office of Electoral Commission easily can expand the existing electronic registration and balloting system to allow the Diaspora to cast a full vote in all sixty-three (63) constituencies by installing these systems in consulates and embassies around the world.
“Those who don’t want the vote should sit back and keep quiet and allow those who are interested to move this forward.” Let’s face it, the Diaspora vote is not for everyone rather for those who are interested in finding the answer to the question; what kind of Jamaica they want to come home to? But do not deny those who are genuinely in search of that answer.
Cannot say you want to return to live in Jamaica under the current corrupt political system premise on garrison communities in Jamaican maintaining the decisive vote to determine who governs Jamaica. That is Mr. Holness wish it appears, to see garrison rule based on “Seaga’s Donism” and so it is critical the Diaspora votes.
It is often those Jamaicans who have no plans of returning home to live who are against the Diaspora vote. It is these same people that the Holness administration appears to be lobbying to endorse his plans to deny Jamaicans overseas their constitutional rights.
The right to vote should not be a burden on Jamaican citizens who want to exercise their franchise from overseas.
It is easy to say if you are currently registered you can fly on a plane and vote. But for those who are not registered and wanted to vote it will take approximately 3-6 months to be registered and placed on the voter list and Jamaica does not have a set date for elections.
So it makes it impossible to exercise your franchise as an average Jamaican citizen living overseas.
“While abroad, Holness said he engaged Jamaicans on the establishment of a sovereign fund for Jamaica, in which members of the diaspora could invest in projects tied to infrastructure development and not budgetary support. We have looked at the French model and see that it is quite appropriate, and we will bring it to public attention and public debate,” he added.