Dr. Una Clarke: Jamaicans should exercise their democratic right

CUNY Board Member, Dr. Una Clarke, a Jamaican-American, called on Jamaican nationals to harness the country’s natural resources by returning to the soil to make their produce marketable, while feeding themselves.

“Our farmers must go back to the soil and produce, this is the only way we would be able to feed our nation,” adding that Jamaicans must not see farming as a profession that is beneath them, but instead be educated about the important of the soil that should be used to produce.”

Clarke was at the time responding to an invited comment from this newspaper, recently, to address the just concluded election to vote-in a Prime Minister for Jamaica.

Despite the outcome that she never predicted — the unseating Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller of the PNP — Clarke, one of Jamaica’s most influential citizens in New York, said that Jamaica is the first in the region to become an independent nation, and as such, citizens must understand the role they have to play in the democratic process.

The first Caribbean national to hold a position in the NYC Council as representative for the 40th District in Brooklyn, Clarke, who, was attentive to the election poll returns during a Feb. 25, African-American History month celebration at Medger Evers College, said every Jamaican who is eligible to vote, must at all times do so.

“Voting is the only way we will grow, and be respected by the world. We are a small nation with good food, and we are great in many ways, but in order to speak of Jamaica as a great Caribbean country we must be able to say we are leaders when it comes to voting. This process works well as a democracy,” said Clarke.

“Whether you are a member of the People’s National Party, or the Labor Party, everyone must become engaged so that our country work for everybody, from the smallest to the greatest,” she added.

She noted that Jamaicans expressed the desire to vote in the Diaspora but said the legitimacy of the process would be in question, and added that Jamaicans instead influence the vote. She called on citizens back home to hold steadfast, in choosing a leader who will work with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to move the agreement forward to boost the economy.

In 2013 under PM Simpson Miller, the country agreed to a four-year International Monetary Fund loan package in exchange for swapping its debt.

“The new prime minister must move the process forward, and find a way to help poor Jamaicans like formers who have a steak in the country,” she said.

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