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Everald Warmington, the Member of Parliament for the constituency South West St. Catherine is not budging from his "no vote ... no benefits" statement, despite calls from civil society groups to withdraw it or apologize.
Warmington, has been facing criticism since declaring on the weekend, that his constituents do not count if they did not vote in the last general election. He also added that only those who voted should approach him for help.
On Tuesday, the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) MP told RJR News that he had no intention of withdrawing his controversial statement, saying it was not an issue of voting for the JLP for the People’s National Party (PNP), but about persons exercising their franchise.
“And it's a position that I have taken all my life, you can’t have a country (in which) you have a general election and 52 percent of the population turned out to vote while 48% sat home and didn’t do it. And you expect the 52% to carry the burden ? 48% sat home and didn’t vote and they have the loudest squeal and the loudest talk and everything is bad for them in government and they don’t participate in anything and those people are going to say that I must apologize?
Asked whether he would support compulsory voting in Jamaica, Warmington answered in the affirmative.
“If it was left to me you would have that , they are obligated to do it , just as how you lock them up if they don’t pay their taxes, you should lock them up if they don’t vote,” he said.
There are provisions for compulsory voting in more than 20 countries, worldwide, including Australia, a Commonwealth state, like Jamaica.
Approximately 22 countries were recorded as having compulsory voting regulations in 2013, but only ten of those actually enforce this requirement.