Go out and vote!!
OVER THE PAST month, the electorate in St Vincent and the Grenadines has been the focus of powerful entreaties by the governing Unity Labour Party (ULP) and the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) to support their candidates who are seeking to win political office.
Some of the candidates are new and hence have been relatively unknown to the wider electorate. These political neophytes are exceedingly dependent on the overall popularity of their parties to help them win their first political office. Others are older hands in the game and are doing their best to persuade the voters to entrust them once again with the sacred responsibility of being their representatives in our parliament.
But whether they are at the beginning, the middle, or end of their political career, all of the candidates come as supplicants seeking the blessings of the electorate. What this actually means is that the election constitutes the single most powerful moment in the relationship between the candidates and the electorate.
Without an election, the situation is completely reversed as the governing party simply takes the full authority and powers of government to make a multitude of decisions, which could have a huge impact on the nation’s wellbeing.
In this sense, the election not only reaffirms the power of the electorate over the politicians, it also sets the direction of the nation by giving its stamp of approval to the policy platform put forward by the winning party.
For all of its weaknesses, a democratic political culture still remains the most powerful means for checking autocracy. Without the capacity to vote, the electorate would have no say in deciding its own destiny. In essence, we would have lost that which is most precious to us: our freedom.
SEARCHLIGHT therefore calls on all Vincentians to go out and vote. Every vote counts. In the United States, whose election is taking place today, a popular slogan reads, “Go out and vote as if your life depends on it.” We endorse these sentiments. After all, the choices we make at the polls impact every aspect of our lives and livelihood.