Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
by Andrew C Greaves
Elections have been called in the newly minted Republic of Barbados approximately one and a half years before they are constitutionally due. The election date is January 19, 2022.
As the various political parties, politicians and political aspirants scramble to get ready for this snap poll, I make one simple appeal to Barbadians many of whom have traditionally voted along “Party” lines. Forget that approach. It has not worked for us as a collective electorate.
When a politician knows that you are a Party voter, he or she is not incentivised to offer you the type of representation you deserve or show the kind of care and compassion that they ought to particularly for the most vulnerable and underprivileged in their constituency. Why should they, if all that they have to do is fly the right coloured flag and your vote is secure?
My suggestion Barbadians in this 2022 election, is to give your valuable vote to the candidate running in your constituency who has demonstrated by past conduct and action, a genuine commitment to your constituency. These actions may have been done by the individual while outside parliament. A person need not be in the House of Assembly to show that they care about a constituency or an area.
If each and every voter in each and every constituency acts in this way, we the populace of this country would be reasonably assured that we will end up with a political representative that has the best interest of the constituency at heart regardless of the candidate’s Party affiliation. I am tired of seeing politicians turn up in the constituencies they represent only to beg for a vote at election time.
When poor constituents need somewhere to rest their head, a bottle of gas, some food stuff, or land for a playing field, some politicians cannot be found. I am not suggesting that a politician’s benevolence or kindness to constituents need be necessarily publicised, but we voters are not idiots, we know intuitively whether a representative cares about us as constituents or not.
Simple gestures like passing in the constituency and shouting ordinary folk just to see how they are doing; listening and actioning constituents’ concerns; the routine opening of constituency offices; the establishment of programmes coordinated from the constituency office to ensure that the vulnerable in the constituency are not left by the wayside. All these things demonstrate a person’s commitment to the people of an area or constituency.
Why is it that average “Joe Citizen” in many constituencies can outshine an elected representative as it relates to demonstrating care for constituents? After all, the elected official not only has the financial resources and command of the constituency office apparatus, but more importantly, a formal mandate from these very constituents to represent their best interest.
The time has come for us the electorate to forget Party voting. Vote person. If we all do this, we will ultimately end up with the best candidates offering themselves in each of the 30 constituencies being sent to Parliament. Forget who eventually forms the Government, that should not be our primary concern at the point of casting our vote.
Our principal concern should be ensuring that the person most likely to represent the unique needs of each constituency and that has the best welfare of constituents at heart gets sent to Parliament. Stop voting for goats determined to get rich overnight simply because they are clad in either a red or blue shirt. Let the chips fall where they may.
If every Barbadian acts as I have suggested, each constituency ends up electing the best candidate to represenwt their interest and some of these useless politicians who do little to nothing for the communities they are supposed to represent and who we see only when elections are announced, would be forced to dust off their CVs and actually work for a living.