With National Elections comes debates, and hopefully, those debates helps us choose sides. Who we prefer to lead the country for the next 5 years, who we vote for and who we hope will be in charge of important ministries, like Finance, Education, Health and National Security. No, not that other ones are not important, but these affect all the others more than the others affect them.I digress, on to the matter.

This year, we are having three debates: The Team Debate on Socioeconomic Issues & with a focus on Youth, The Finance? Debate and of course the Head to Head Battle of the Leaders.

Having semi-watched and semi-listened to the first debate, there are some thoughts / conclusions that I’d like to share. So in point form, here they are:

From the onset of the debate, it seemed to me that MP Lisa Hanna was the only representative aware that the debate was to be televised. As usual, she was so well put together that she was stunning amongst the less groomed Dr. Sapphire Longmore & the tightened Sen. Marlene Malahoo-Forte. The men, well, they looked like they had their game faces and suits on. I know it seems shallow but looks do matter, I for one care how my representatives look and how they carry themselves.

Team JLP: (l-r) Sen. Marlene Malahoo-Forte, Sen. Warren Newby, Dr. Sapphire Longmore

Throughout the debate it was obvious that there was debate training lacking, there needed to be concise targeted responses as opposed to the attack phrase before the response wasting precious seconds. This was time allotted to make your vision clear as it applies to the questions, and more so as it applies to the youth of Jamaica. It was with the responses that it occurred to me that Lisa was the only MP in the debate. She had the best comebacks, voice, projection, structure. It became obvious both in the debate and in the commentary on twitter that Lisa Hanna will be the first ELECTED female Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Team PNP: (l-r) Raymond Pryce, MP Lisa Hanna, Dr. Dayton Campbell

That being said, I am not sure if this was the best grouping of persons to speak to youth issues. That is, unless youth now stops at age 40 and I didn’t get the memo. Yes, they may be some of the youngest representatives of their respective parties, however the choice should have been those who have their finger on the pulse of the youth and not just those lacking in age.

It was clear to me that these representatives had no clue as to what is the heart of the youth of Jamaica, but they did know statistics so they dropped them throughout the debate. There was no discussion as to either party’s vision for Jamaica or role the young will play in bringing it to pass. There was no addressing the question of ability to establish oneself. There was no addressing the issue of access to education, or the role of the SLB, or the ever reducing subsidies. There was no addressing of the inability of the youth to becoming homeowners. In a nutshell, are we ever going to be established as adults or shall we forever remain youth?

It is important that the parties know some things moving forward:

  1. We are voting.
  2. We are not impressed with attack politics, it only hurts you in our eyes.
  3. We are not an intellectually challenged electorate, stop treating us like we are.
  4. Being young is not equivalent to having one thumb on the pulse of the youth.

Yes, on December 29th I will be voting. No, I am not undecided.

Let’s see what the other two debates have in store for us.

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