Last week I told my editor that I was not going to be writing any more political articles but I have to write this last one. By the way thanks to the people who e-mailed me and were in agreement that more needs to be said about this system of Government and who were in agreement that there needs to be a change.
I was caught up in the confusion of traffic in the City this week and wondering what was going on when I suddenly realised that Parliament was officially being opened and the police was regulating the flow of traffic. So as we begin the new term of government I was pleased to hear that Miss Mottley say that her party would not be a hindrance or obstacle to the development of Barbados, which I take to mean that if the government proposes legislation or initiatives that would benefit the country, the Opposition will give their support as long as it benefits the country.
Now let me talk about this concept of democracy. I deliberately use that word because a concept is also described as a notion which has the implication (to my mind) of being subject to opinion or point of view. One of the definitions of Democracy is “a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives”.
With all due respect to Dr. Suckoo-Byer and others who have been in this position, I do not understand how it is that the electorate of a constituency by the power of their vote say that they do not want a candidate to represent them in Parliament and by extension, to be part of the government, and yet a Prime Minister (and this one is not the first to do it) can overrule that decision and appoint a candidate who has been rejected by the people to be a Minister in his cabinet. That to me defies the above definition of democracy and it’s actually an autocracy which is democrazy.
Let me qualify that by saying I agree that the best people should be in positions of authority to run the country and as I said last week we should consider moving towards voting to fill positions rather than to represent constituencies. If that was the case already, I would have no problem with Dr. Byer and of course Senator Maxine McClean holding positions of authority, if they have proven to be the best representatives.
However we seem to be operating under somewhat of a mixture of governance models because on the one hand we have a system of election which provides for the members of a constituency to chose which candidate they prefer to represent them in Parliament but then that choice can be overridden by a Prime Minister and he can still select that candidate, who he must consider to be the best, to occupy a position in his Cabinet. Granted this Prime Minister was rather limited in the numbers available to fill Ministerial positions so he may possibly be excused.
I won’t even go into the other issues such as allegations of vote buying that just makes me sick to my stomach, to think what a mockery has been made of the democracy in this country. I have to say allegations because I don’t know anyone personally who got paid to vote by either party and received cash or an iPad or anything else for their vote. I believe that most of the people I know would consider this to be as democrazy as I do.
As I said this is my last political article unless I see something that I can’t help comment on. I do know that there are others who are just as tired of this governance model so let’s come together to come up with alternatives so that Barbados can move forward unrestricted by political agendas which limit the development of the nation as a whole.
* Donna Every is a Chartered Accountant and an MBA who worked with Ernst & Young for 10 years before starting her own Business Advisory practice, Arise Consulting Inc. She has written four books including What Do You Have in Your House? Surviving in Times of Financial Crisis and the newly released novel The Merger Mogul.