Letters to the Editor

The problems with Diaspora voting

Monday, June 17, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Lisa Hanna and others have, over the years, been calling for Diaspora voting. They should be asked some tough questions on this issue. I strongly believe because they aren't questioned thoroughly so they get to talk without being challenged.

It is estimated that we have 3.8 million people of Jamaican descent living overseas, 1.3 million of whom are Jamaican-born.

Our voter's lists is estimated to have over 1.9 million voters. So do we really want people who have never travelled to Jamaica or or who've not even been to Jamaica for over 10 years voting in our elections or referendums?

Jamaica is a very conservative country, but what I've noticed is that the ones who travel overseas, or have never been to Jamaica, believe that we are shallow-minded individuals.

Imagine Diaspora folks voting on same-sex marriage, abortion, our final appellate court, and selecting our prime minister?

The diaspora is not here to feel the consequences of their voting and it won't impact them directly if the vote is not in the best interest of the ones living in Jamaica.

I can understand a big country letting their Diaspora the right to vote, because the countries like those have more resident natives available as voters, and so will number more than those living abroad.

If our politicians can't have dual citizenship to certain countries, why should the Diaspora of certain countries vote?

I am willing to change my stance if I hear good arguments like putting some kind of a cap on the limit of who can vote.

For example, the United Kingdom and some countries say once you as a native out of the country from 15-25 years you can't vote. I believe maybe those countries' reasoning is that you may get indoctrinated by another country's culture within 15-25 years.

As of 2006, only 92 countries allow their Diaspora to vote.

I know many of my friends and relatives living in the Diaspora may be upset with my stance, but I have the right to an opinion.

Not because remittances is one of our major revenue earners it automatically give you the right to vote. The Jewish Diaspora doesn't argue like that.

Teddylee Gray

Ocho Rios, St Ann

teddylee.gray@gmail.com


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