Youth tell why they abstained

Saturday, February 27, 2016

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Voter turnout in the recent general election hit an all-time low since 1983 when the People’s National Party boycotted the election. The Electoral Office of Jamaica’s preliminary count revealed that Thursday’s election saw a 47.7 per cent turnout. Several of Jamaica’s youth abstained from the polls, and the Jamaica Observer’s Yakum Fitz-Henley ascertained some reasons for their action.

CANDIECE KNIGHT (20) I didn’t vote because I live on the UWI (Mona) campus and I refuse to waste taxi fare and time to go to my constituency to vote. My vote would not have made a difference anyway. One political party has occupied that seat since the beginning of Jamaican politics, and I doubt that will change anytime soon. I don’t know who I would vote for anyway. I don’t know enough about their policies and operations to make an informed decision.

ALDANE WALTERS (18) I think the biggest contribution I could’ve made to our democracy is to contribute to the low voter turnout, which would send a message that we are dissatisfied with both major parties.

LOUIS DAVIS (18) I wasn’t registered in time, the deadline passed me but I would have voted if I were registered.

THRISTAN NEWMAN (19) I didn’t vote mostly because I didn’t see a party that was worth voting for. Politics is not my cup of tea but I’ve been seeing both parties make implausible promises over the years to the Jamaican people and fail to live up to them. And every election that’s the same pattern.

JODIAN DOWNS (19) I didn’t vote because I didn’t see the point. I am old enough to see both parties in power and neither of them is better. Jamaica is not going to get better. Well, at least not in my lifetime.

JEVON WILLIAMS I think it was just the whole enumeration process. If I could just get up and go vote just so, I would have. At first I tried to lie to myself and say I didn’t care for Jamaica’s politics... but as the day proceeded it really dawned on me that I really needed to exercise my right and have a say in the affairs of my country rather than just sit back and tweet about it. However, I wasn’t really aware of the physics behind the entire enumeration process, mostly because I wasn’t that interested to find out but I hear that they usually come around to your home and register you. My father said the last time they came to my house I wasn’t born so... I’m pretty sure if they came to my house I would have registered and my finger would be inked right now. Next time for sure though, whether the EOJ makes a house stop or not.

MONIQUE WILLACY (20) I didn’t vote simply because I could not recognise anything that any of the two parties did over the years that served Jamaica. After the election though I did remember something that the JLP did that helped me; when I was in high school. The JLP government had paid half of my CXC fees and we also got three subjects free — Math, English and a Science subject. Possibly if they deliver again on anything they promise I will vote the next term.

DERAN FARQUHARSON (22) I honestly don’t think my vote would impact the winning of an election and neither party is performing, so why should I? More importantly, ManU game was on and there is no way I would sacrifice my team for politics.

CHARLENE BUCHANAN (19) I didn’t vote because I got serious about doing it a little too late to be enumerated. Most of my family members and friends are either apathetic to the voting process or only interested to watch and critique, and I’d grown up thinking I’d be the same. Next time around though.

TIFFANY AULD (22) I wanted to vote for the labour party because the government wasn’t performing, but I got there too late and the polling station was closed.

ORNELLA TAYLOR (22) I didn’t vote because of a lack of confidence in both leaders. Though both parties may have great objectives, I find both leaders so unconvincing. I felt neither of them could meet their objectives, so I saw both options as a lose-lose.

DI-ANDRA BROWN (22) I just simply didn’t have the time to get a voter’s ID. It wasn’t a priority and I don’t regret not getting one.

RACHAEL CONNERY (21) I didn’t vote mainly because I have zero interest in politics. I’ve never felt the need to stain my finger, the urge is just not there. In regards to the parties, I look forward to seeing what our new prime minister has to offer and I appreciate the change. Suh mek wi si.

JOEL NOMDARKHAM (21) Last election I wasn’t of age. This one, I had no interest. I felt the parties did not do enough to meet young voters and provide substantial plans for us. I must admit I’m happy with how things turned out, as it shows the power rests with us. I hope the JLP follows up with its youth plans in the manifesto. I’m sure to be enumerated next election, as I think by then elections won’t be about the hype.

GABRIELLE MCDOWELL (22) I didn’t vote because I’m not convinced that either parties really understand how to encourage perpetual growth and development.














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