Rise of the Professional Politician

Westminster system

Westminster system

In a popular democracy, citizens, collectively, are the ultimate principal; elected representatives are their agents. These agents are also principals who, through the legislature, delegate authority to a host of departments and agencies that make up the sprawling executive branch of government – Fraser Institute

It has become obvious to many several built in checks and balances of the Westminster system of government Barbados has adopted from its colonial past are failing.  It is a system of governance which requires exhaustive participation by citizens to work effectively. Nearly 40% of eligible voters  did not vote in the last general election, an obvious symptom of a democracy in decay if we sample just one indicator.

Auditor General reports (2004 to 2013) of successive governments record a consistent performance of fiscal indiscipline. A flouting of the financial rules. An easy translation of the Auditor General’s comments can be described as  a system of graft and corruption. A scary observation is that the private sector is the entity which sells goods and services to government therefore citizens who should be holding ‘government’ accountable are complicit. In the case of Barbados we may not compare with Nigeria and other more openly corrupt countries but there is a view the covert nature of how we do business places us in the ballpark.

What the Fraser Institute publication concedes is that the “Westminster model is not designed to provide for the accountability of individual elected representatives to individual voters”. To expand: in order to adequately evaluate the performance of government – comprised of several organs – is too complex and costly. The publication makes the obvious point a democracy must delegate authority to function, it logically follows that a robust system of accountability must be adhered to mindful of the maxim “absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.”  If Barbadians continue to allow themselves to become polarized by partisan political positions the obvious will eventually occur; a compromising of our democracy.

A recent example of how our so called Westminster style of government has failed is the public condemnation of the Cabinet of Barbados by a senior minister that has gone unpunished (to date) by the Prime Minister.  Ministers are expected to honour the convention of collective responsibility because  all ministers are collectively responsible for government operations.

What is interesting about the Westminster system according to Fraser is the culture of secrecy which it encourages – the shielding of information from citizens. It seems an oxymoron to discuss Westminster style democracy and the secrecy it promotes.

One approach to wrestle back control from the establishment is to impose term limits on those who serve. The problem is that the the incumbents see no motivation to change the status quo. Only in Opposition when spouting propaganda (lies) are the views of politicians aligned with concerned citizens. Mia Mottley tried to change the constitution of the Barbados Labour Party when she was on the outside; a periphery point to establish sincerity. Since assuming the leadership of the party has she restarted the conversation with the party? Why should we allow a cadre of politician to view being member of parliament as a job rather than performing a stint of public service?

The time has come for a national discussion about the need to hold our government accountable. The Auditor General, The Public Accounts Committee …

117 thoughts on “Rise of the Professional Politician

  1. @ Hal Austin
    I will use the word so frequently used by Ross above ; when you refer to the courts in Baebados as you have, the term line manager is PEJORATIVE . Why cant you see that ?

  2. We obviously, have to attribute blame to the blog administrators because their have allowed those persons who are exterme in their racist, xenophobic and political views, to acted without impunity for far too long. While on the other hand, their are quick to censor those persons who do not agree with their conservative worldview. Let it be known however, that I am not here to pontificate on the mechanics of the directionality of the blog.

  3. Man David [BU] you only gots to get sick and whuplax a whole lotta cussing going on pun de blog en ting….

    Whu even Alternating Current my Nemesis getting call a female rabbit as if it is a knighthood or de female equivalent.

    Whu happening man?

    Effing i did not know better i wud say dat it is a conspiracy by Fumble and Stinkliar to let the normal language of the erudite commentators reach a low, equivalent to the level of deception and lies that them politicians does practice every day in the HoA, let the cussing swell to such proportions and den whaplax……. wordpress gine pull de plug pun BU for obscene language en ting

    Man during all dese weeks dat pass i ent even get a chance to pontificate and rise in defense uh dem bajan white boys, de arsonists who de 95% uh de Bajans is trying to get incarcerate at dat place in St Philup

    There is a song a-brewing, a new interpretation to the old calypso song ‘you nevah had a white meat yet” sung by the Prison Gang Bang Crew.

    I feel that that fellow “we Jonesing” dat is at the heart of all de cussing, dat going on heah pun de site David [BU], insurrectionist that he is.

    I browse thru de site pun udder blogs and see talk bout de hoes at de Garrison and how many uh dem is Guyanese (like the Director of Public Prosecutions Leacock mekking subtle links between de night hoares and de ones pun Coleridge Street)

    I feel dat we Jonesing “BEHIND” it all, and let me tell you why.

    All dis talk bout illegal guyanese hoares is really a plot to oust de female ladies of de night at Bush Hill and replace dem all wid his “peeples” from Prescod Bottom, or any udder (man) bottom, so dat bush hill get rename Bull Hill.

    Now dere is a ting dat gine really get a “rise uh de Professional politician” if you get my drift….

Leave a comment, join the discussion.