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An unprecedented low

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As I write the country is still in an unfortunate climate of political confrontation, brought about by persons insisting on challenging the results of the December 9 elections.

We have had many highs and some lows in our 64-year experience of voting since the introduction of Adult Suffrage in 1951. The highs are such that we can take pride, but never have we sunk this low.{{more}}

As we would say in local parlance, “wey causing dis”? Why all the fuss after the people have expressed their will at the polls? To what end are those seemingly hell-bent on causing chaos and confusion in our midst pursuing those actions? What is the point of having courts of law, of inviting respected international observers when, even before a final count, in the face of results which demonstrate no peculiar deviation from those of 2010, persons take the law into their own hands and make pronouncements on the validity of the elections?

Since 1998, we have had post-election grouses, each one quelled in the light of reality. Each time we all talk about how sacred the vote is, but it appears that the talk is just that – talk, if we do not get things in our favour. This is no longer the sixties when the four-vote Slater/Ferdinand controversy in North Leeward led to all kinds of confusion. This is an era of modern communication and technology, not hearsay when rumour-mongering was hard to verify; we live in a modern age and must conduct ourselves as such.

Imagine to this day, people are still misleading others about supposedly “missing ballot boxes” and similar nonsense. The sad thing is that the gullible believe, repeat the allegations and are sometimes goaded into taking actions, which border on illegality, on that basis. Those who knowingly so deceive and mislead are doing a gross disservice to our country and to those whom they so mislead.

It is my contention that the root of all of this political confusion is rooted in the old wounds over the so-called “Road Block” of 2000 and the bitterness that it left in the mouths of some. There are some who have never been able to overcome that, some who feel that they must “repay” those responsible for shortening the life of the government elected in 1998. When are we going to go beyond those peculiar circumstances of 2000, circumstances brought about not by any political conspiracy, but by intractable industrial relations, a government which had gone adrift, and seized upon by the then political opposition for their own benefit?

But, all of this aside, it is time for us to demonstrate maturity, our willingness to accept the will of the people, and above all, to national reconciliation. We are in danger of allowing our country to slip further down the slope of political confrontation. Those of us who can see the danger ahead must speak out, call for those bent on confrontation to use peaceful and lawful methods to settle differences.

At the same time, we must reject the resort to lies and deception to incite persons to violent acts. We have an electoral process, time-tested and well-proven, we have courts of repute, if we have electoral challenges, there are legal recourses to redress. Those who refuse to abide by these principles must be prepared to feel the full weight of the law and the wrath of the people whose will is so disrespected.

This is a time for those who would lead to demonstrate that they have the interests of the people and country at heart. It is no time for desperation and personal ambition above all else. Show us your mettle and spare our country such dangerous confrontation.

Renwick Rose is a community activist and social commentator.

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