Anything can happen Print E-mail
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Written by By Jamil Matar   
Thursday, 08 February 2018 00:00

Last time I related a story about a neighborhood acquaintance whom people in the Union Town Area dubbed with the name “Rogers”, because of his resemblance to the Country and Western singer. I made a joke about how he hustled the PUP campaigners for his rent money. In truth I sympathize with all politicians when elections come around since about 5% of voters see this as an opportunity to bleed the candidates for cash or kind. I remember my own stint in 2006 when I used to come home from work at 5 in the evening and meet a group of people waiting for me with all sorts of health maladies; needing medical attention or to fill out prescriptions. One particular man I personally knew to be an addict actually produced a paper from a doctor that he urgently needed medication.  On that occasion I phoned my colleague Phillip and asked him to kindly fill it out for the man at cost and he agreed.

However, something made me do an about turn and check my copy of the voters’ list. The guy was not even registered to vote. Saved me a couple of dollars on that one! Another time one of my other colleagues was celebrating a birthday party and several “invita-solos” (self-invites) appeared at her function, a few of them complete with families totally unrelated to the host. Next thing we saw some of the youths at the function taking out BBQ’s and selling these off to passers’ by.  The next day this same colleague told me that she got a visit from a distraught lady who said she needed USD $2,000 urgently because her husband had tried immigrating to the States “through the back” and was being held for ransom by coyotes who were demanding cash or the husband would be killed.  My colleague did not know how to handle this, so I suggested that the person should start doing fundraisers and the Councilor Candidates would all assist.

Two years after that very 2006 municipal elections, I saw a UDP constituency candidate take a licking pocket wise in his bid for OW Central. This gentleman, because he was somewhat affluent, was bled to the bone and still lost the election. The only consolation was that his loss has been the smallest on record to the PUP in OW Central since 1993. 28 votes difference I seem to recall. I was in the counting room for Central that year and could not help but notice the open jubilation by the PUP representatives in the room when it was announced that Ralph Fonseca had lost to Hutchie.

Apart from the blatant mendicancy practiced by some voters to cover “health” and “transportation” costs at election time, the youth of today feel uneasy to enter politics because of the slander that they and their families may have to endure.  In my day, we were deadly scared of a PUP publication that was named “SOMOS MAS”. For the older people in OW it was a PUP group called “Rip and Tear”.

It was with this in mind that when Ravell Gozalez and his team made an entrance into politics in 2006, the candidates all pledged that we would only attack the  ill- conceived and mismanaged policies and projects of the then PUP Town Council and not the character of the opponents or that of their families. This decision seems to have paid off since, even with the challenge of OW Central, the UDP returned all 7 candidates to Town Hall after ten years of PUP dominance and even under a PUP Central Government.   When one is respectful in politics anything can happen.