End vote-buy­ing by po­lit­i­cal pa­tron­age

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE EDITOR, Sir: YOUR EDI­TO­RIAL of Mon­day, November 28, 2016, ti­tled ‘Be done with vul­gar buy­ing of elec­tions’ was in­trigu­ing. I com­mend The Gleaner for tena­ciously cham­pi­oning the im­prove­ment of Ja­maica’s democ­racy.

There is a rea­son vote-buy­ing is il­le­gal in ev­ery democ­racy: It usurps democ­racy and en­cour­ages the rule of the well-re­sourced, the rich, or the one per cent.

The main dif­fer­ence be­tween the po­lit­i­cal pa­tron­age of the de­vel­op­ing world and that of the de­vel­oped world is that the lat­ter caters to a large group, such as the el­derly or women.

De­vel­oped-coun­try politi­cians of­fer health care, wel­fare, and day care, while Third-World politi­cians of­fer short-term em­ploy­ment, ma­te­ri­als for hous­ing, and di­rect in­di­vid­ual bribes.

The pol­icy in­cen­tives in the First World con­trib­ute to the greater good and have a far greater ef­fect on im­prov­ing the well-being of a par­tic­u­lar por­tion of the elec­torate, while in coun­tries like Ja­maica, the vot­ing ben­e­fits are cos­metic.To be crude, it the dif­fer­ence be­tween court­ing a lady by giv­ing her a meal or of­fer­ing her to help build a more pros­per­ous future.

If Ja­maica is to be­come a de­vel­oped coun­try, it must get rid of nickle-and-dime po­lit­i­cal pa­tron­age, such as vote-buy­ing, and move to­wards far teach­ing so­cial engi­neer­ing. BRIAN EL­LIS PLUMMER bri­an­plum­mer@ya­hoo.com

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