EDITORIAL: The right and duty to vote
THIS IS THE DAY and now is the moment.
Barbadians will cast their vote today to elect an administration to govern the island for the next five years.
As a people, we need to appreciate the importance of the vote and not pass on the opportunity, only to complain at a later date, whether in whispers or anonymously on one of the radio talk shows, when things do not go the way we expected.
The importance of the vote has been best highlighted by Roman Catholic Bishop of Bridgetown, Jason Gordon who spoke recently of the need to understand the power, responsibility and the purpose of marking that “X”.
“It was not given to us; our forefathers had to struggle for every adult citizen to have a right to one vote.” He also made the very important point that: “It is not only your right, it is your duty to vote.”
After three weeks of hectic and indeed intense campaigning by the major parties, Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party, as well as a handful of independent candidates, hopefully the electorate has been well informed on the issues and the possible solutions presented. Fortunately, despite the rivalry, sometimes heated exchanges where no quarter was asked or given, there was little of which to complain about this campaign.
In a small state such as ours, we cannot afford a divisive partisan political situation based on tribalism, garrisons and race. The negative outcome of such behaviour is very evident in some Caribbean nations. We do not want that here.
Our poll today is simply a continuation of the election process so far this year in the region. Last month, Tobagonians went to the polls as did Grenadians on Tuesday, and in both instances, they were without any major incident. Over the next 24 hours, let us maintain that Barbadian tradition for law and order and doing the decent and right thing.
And not withstanding what social and political scientists may say and report while making suggestions on the poll, all we know for certain is that today is the real poll, the occasion in which all eligible to cast their vote can have their say and make their choice thereby determining the outcome.
At the end of today when the results are known, yes, let there be merriment and jubilation all across the island. However, let us be measured in the celebrations and also congratulate all those who would have had the heart to participate in the process to make this island a better place.
Yes, it is now left to all the voters to decide those individuals, and indeed, the party best suited to promote the common good of this country and all its people.