Who is there to vote for?’

The nation’s youth yesterday joined scores of Jamaicans frowning at embattled Prime Minister Bruce Golding and his beleaguered administration in the aftermath of the latest development in what is now being termed the Manatt scandal.

Furious youth have emerged, just as vociferous in their disappointment with Golding, as the scores of strident adults who lashed out vehemently yesterday.

The prime minister’s defiant admission that initially, he had been less than truthful to Parliament about his action in the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips saga, has cast an infectious pall over Jamaica, with young students who had cast their ballots for him in the past declaring, “Never again!”

“When I heard Bruce Golding three years ago, I would jump for him. After hearing him this week, I would not vote for him,” asserted Ewan, a student at the University of Technology (UTech).

Other students of the University of the West Indies and UTech spewed contempt on the battered administration, even as Jamaica Labour Party supporters hit the airwaves in a show of support.

“What is there to vote for?” spat Latoya, a student of UTech. “Who is there to vote for?”

The cynical voices of the youth, frequently described as the nation’s hope for the future, joined the cacophony of criticisms of the Government.

Unlike Latoya, who flatly declared that she did not see either of the two parties managing the country well, her friend, Sheldon, declared that he had been in a mad rush to vote – for change.  “I wanted a change, but the change has turned out to be a massive disappointment,” he declared.

Empty promises

Sheldon lashed out at Golding, who, he said, had reeled off empty promises during his election campaign.  “Instead, he is selling us out and selling out the companies … . After successfully completing my studies, I was forced to return to school because I can’t find a job,” he lamented.  Latoya forcefully endorsed Sheldon’s sentiment.

“The PNP (People’s National Party) was in power and there was no improvement in employment and crime. It is worse under the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party).”  Latoya said she had left Jamaica to reside overseas but had returned home.  “I thought things would be better. I love Jamaica, but I am really thinking of returning (overseas),” she said.  Ewan revealed that he had voted in the past but vowed that he would not ink his finger again.

“Not again. The politics is so messed up. This is what we got for change,” he declared.  Unlike Ewan, Conroy said he had never voted, but now would rush to do so – for change. “My perspective is that politics is synonymous with confusion. From what I see of Mr Golding’s confession, things will not get better. He cannot be trusted,” Conroy said.

Steven, an outspoken medical student at the UWI, said he had never voted and had no desire to do so in the future. Politicians have shown time and time again that they only cater to the middle class while they patronise the poor,” he said. “All their decisions are made to support the person at the top, to the disadvantage of the man at the bottom.”

Steven argued that Golding had messed up by removing tuition and user fees in public schools and hospitals, and contended that the initiative was unsustainable. He, too, pointed to the empty promises delivered in election campaigns. “They make cheap promises instead of discussing issues of relevance to the nation. I am all for Jamaica, but I am thinking of leaving to work in another Caribbean state when I complete my studies.”

Another medical student, Sherayne English, was dismissive of politics. “I have never voted and will never vote. I am basically watching what is going to happen in this, my country,” she said.

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