Why I will not vote in ELEC­TION 666!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By

Nikita: She re­cently turned 30 but has sev­eral rea­sons why she won’t “waste my vote on un­car­ing politi­cians” this time around!

INikita Chere­bin am a (once proud) daugh­ter of Saint Lu­cia. I am 29 years old, and I want my voice to be heard. What I want to say right away is that I will not be vot­ing in this up­com­ing elec­tion and will do my ut­most to con­vince my friends and rel­a­tives to fol­low my ex­am­ple.

For those who will say I have the right to vote and should use that right, un­der­stand this: I have voted at ev­ery elec­tion since I reached vot­ing age. I was full of hope that some­thing good would come of it. Noth­ing has. I now feel that by vot­ing I am help­ing the en­e­mies of democ­racy to hurt me more; to hurt my fam­ily, to hurt my friends.

Be­sides, as a free Saint Lu­cian woman, I also have the right not to vote. And here are some of the rea­sons this time around that I will not vote.

First of all, I will feel bet­ter know­ing I took a stand against the politi­cians who al­ways for­get about their prom­ises to the peo­ple the minute they are elected. I will feel bet­ter for hav­ing protested such dis­gust­ing be­hav­iour.

I feel now that I spat on my con­sti­tu­tional rights ev­ery time I voted in the past for peo­ple who did not de­serve my vote. I feel I made a fool of my­self when I imag­ined things would be bet­ter. I know now that all politi­cians know is how to make false prom­ises.

When I look at my coun­try I see so many things going wrong, get­ting worse year af­ter year, re­gard­less of which party is in of­fice; re­gard­less who is prime min­is­ter. I love my coun­try and it hurts me to see our peo­ple be­ing abused over and over; taken for granted; taken for fools.

I’ve fi­nally de­cided to do some­thing, be­gin­ning with this ar­ti­cle. For a long time I have had ques­tions. Now I want an­swers: Why do we, the peo­ple, have to wait hours, some­times as long as ten hours, to see a doc­tor at Vic­to­ria Hospi­tal?

Why is ev­ery­thing in the su­per­mar­ket be­com­ing more and more ex­pen­sive? Why do so many peo­ple have to de­pend on STEP, or on STEP salaries, no mat­ter where they are em­ployed?

How does the gov­ern­ment ex­pect un­em­ployed sin­gle par­ents to feed and send their chil­dren to school; to keep them healthy?

Why does the price of school­books have to be higher ev­ery other year? What are school leavers sup­posed to say when busi­ness own­ers tell them they need ex­pe­ri­ence to get a job?

How can you have job ex­pe­ri­ence when you’ve never had a job? When no em­ployer has given you the op­por­tu­nity to show what you can do?

Ear­lier I spoke about my con­sti­tu­tional rights. But it seems we must fight the au­thor­i­ties for our rights. Peo­ple have to take what­ever abuses are dished out to them and keep their mouths shut, all be­cause most of us are too poor to do any­thing about it. If you raise your voice to an abu­sive po­lice of­fi­cer he will ei­ther beat you up—or shoot you. Or he will lock you up at the fa­mous cus­tody suites or in a nasty po­lice cell for hours. He doesn’t care about your young child at home with­out its mother or fa­ther.

Why is Borde­lais so over­crowded? Most of the peo­ple there are on re­mand. Our jus­tice sys­tem has gone crazy. Fe­males get raped here ev­ery day, no mat­ter what else you might hear. No fe­male, re­gard­less of age, is safe. Why are so many rape cases never solved? Why are so many peo­ple on re­mand with­out a trial date?

If I should ever get raped, I can tell you right now, I would not re­port it to the po­lice. But that does not mean I would sit at home feel­ing sorry for my­self. If the law re­fuses to pro­tect women, if the au­thor­i­ties refuse to see jus­tice done af­ter a woman has been raped, then I will do what­ever I need to do for my­self.

One way or an­other, I would take my own re­venge. If I cannot get the an­i­mal that raped me, then I will get some­one he cares about. If I am forced to live in a jun­gle, then I will sur­vive by the law of the jun­gle. One way or an­other, I would have my re­venge on any­one who rapes or tries to rape me. Same thing, if he rapes or tries to rape my kid.

It doesn’t make sense putting your trust in the law when you al­ready know there is no law. Nei­ther does it make sense trusting politi­cians you know cannot be trusted. I have come to be­lieve now in my own eye for an eye jus­tice sys­tem!

I ask my­self: Who’s in charge of the jus­tice sys­tem, any­way? The jus­tice sys­tem did not break it­self. It was bro­ken by the peo­ple we pay to keep it op­er­at­ing. It was bro­ken by years of ne­glect. Our law-mak­ers are our worst law break­ers.

Why do so many young Saint Lu­cians have to run away from home to some for­eign coun­try in the hope of find­ing a bet­ter life? I have friends who left Saint Lu­cia at age twenty to ex­ist as il­le­gals in the U.S. or in the UK. Most of them make a liv­ing in ways they would never con­sider at home; but they earn enough to eat; and they can clothe them­selves. They can send a few dol­lars home to the kids they left be­hind with un­em­ployed grand­par­ents and aun­ties.

Many want to re­turn home one day. They love the land that gave them birth. But the land that gave them birth now of­fers them only death. No work; no money; no rights; no health­care, not even when you pay for it. No jus­tice.

I know some peo­ple are lazy. Some refuse to work even when there is work in Saint Lu­cia. But far more peo­ple want to work and cannot find em­ploy­ment. All they get are more empty prom­ises. Es­pe­cially as elec­tion time comes closer. What about those of us who want to do some­thing about learn­ing a use­ful oc­cu­pa­tion? What help do we get from our gov­ern­ment?

I will not vote again un­til I am con­vinced the can­di­dates re­ally care about the lead­ers of to­mor­row, and about our poor par­ents who want to work but must pay a high price for the priv­i­lege of get­ting a job. Too of­ten it is the very politi­cian they voted for who is first in line for his pound of flesh. This is dis­gust­ing; it is an­other gross vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights.

I will never vote again. Not un­til I can see we, the peo­ple of this coun­try, are ac­tu­ally en­joy­ing the rights given us by our con­sti­tu­tion. I will not vote again un­til I see el­derly, poor peo­ple treated with re­spect by our gov­ern­ment. I will not vote again un­til I see young peo­ple who worked hard in school given the op­por­tu­nity to choose the work they want to do. Most of us don’t want to work on cruise ships while our kids stay at home. My friends on the STEP pro­gramme ac­tu­ally hate the STEP pro­gramme. It’s like beg­ging in the street for a cou­ple of dol­lars when you are ca­pa­ble of do­ing a reg­u­lar job.

Why can’t all these smart peo­ple in the gov­ern­ment do more to help par­ents get school books? Don’t ask me how. A good gov­ern­ment would not ask the poor and de­prived and help­less to solve their own prob­lems. We elect politi­cians to make it pos­si­ble for us to help our­selves. Some of them even blame the rape vic­tims for al­low­ing them­selves to be raped!

My fi­nal ques­tion, for now - and those of you who will be vot­ing re­gard­less, please an­swer my ques­tion - Why are you vot­ing? In other parts of the world peo­ple can tell you why they vote. They can also tell you what they will do when politi­cians steal from the peo­ple and keep ev­ery­thing for them­selves and their friends. Vot­ers in Amer­ica, Canada and the UK can talk like that; they can tell you what they will do when politi­cians fool the peo­ple or steal from them. You know why? It’s be­cause they have all the things we don’t have. Be­gin­ning with a mod­ern con­sti­tu­tion and a func­tion­ing jus­tice sys­tem!

Nikita Chere­bin: She has sworn not to vote again un­til she can feel sure she’s not vot­ing against her own in­ter­ests. What’s more, she says she’ll try to per­suade her friends to fol­low her lead!

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