The US presidential election is less that 80 days away. The blogmaster has always been intrigued how Americans select political candidates through a system of primaries and caucuses. Compared to the process in Barbados where the Executive Council of the the two main political parties are known to have vetoed candidates nominated by constituency councils, it begs a question…
In recent years concerns have been expressed whether the current system operated by the two main political parties serve to produce the best governments. The idea a handful of political partisans can sit in a school on a Sunday evening to select a candidate based on questionable criteria is not ideal. The recent example of former Minister Denis Lowe in the Christ East Constituency and not so recent of the Barbados Labour Party widely publicized case of Maria Agard are classic examples.
The concern is that these political parties – some suggest cabals – make decisions that have far reaching consequences for the country. Has the time come to democratize the process in a real way is the rhetorical question. Should a more broad based approach to candidate selection be adopted. The present system has given rise to a political class comfortable with an arrangement of party recycling at acceptable intervals. If we do not find a way for the political system to ‘regenerate’ there will be the inevitable result. The poorakey debate in our parliament, refusal by the DLP and BLP to enact transparency legislation and the lack of political will to fix Auditor General’s concerns over the years are three performance measures a discerning Barbadian can use to evaluate the performance of the political directorate in the post Independence period.
We have a political system that convinces a prime minister during a pandemic to practice Machiavellian politics.
We have a political system that permitted a member of parliament to switch to the ‘opposition side’ in the twinkling of an eye. A lack of system integrity some say for a candidate who days earlier ran on a government ticket.
In the 2018 general election the BLP gained 72.83% of the vote, DLP 22.10%, Solutions 2.72%. Has the first past the post system outlived its relevance with alternatives to be considered, proportional representation; preferential voting?
A man made system is not perfect therefore the system of government we practice is not perfect.
In an imperfect system the citizenry – the collective – must be sufficiently educated to be aware of the importance of our responsibilities. The buck stops with us.
A country gets the government it deserves.
We must be the disrupting force.
The political class is a mirror image.
The question: How do we inculcate traits and behaviours in the citizenry required to be the disruptive force- the last check and balance- to ensure our government commits to an approach of continuous renewal?