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The manifestos are out

The manifestos are out

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When we vote, we are delivering both a judgment of the past and a statement of what we would like our future to be.

The political parties use various tools to affirm that they have delivered on their past promises (if in Government) and to convince the populace that the future will be brighter if their party is given the nod on Election Day. And one of the most important, though often undervalued tools that political parties have in their toolbox is the election manifesto.

Over the past few days, three different manifestoes have been presented to the general public. The two main political parties, each of which is fielding a full slate of 15 candidates, launched theirs this past weekend at grand events before thousands of supporters, while the Green Party, with just two candidates, did so without fanfare.

Far too few of our electors pay enough attention to the party manifestos, and the number of people who pay any attention at all is fast declining, inversely proportional to the rise and popularity of social media. This is a pity as this important document gives important insights into the philosophy, programmes and priorities of the different parties.

There is quite a bit of emotion wrapped up in why people vote for or against one party or the other. Some in our tiny society vote for personal reasons that have to do with the feelings about a particular party candidate or those high in the party hierarchy, while there are die-hard supporters who will stick with their party no matter what.

For those people who do make their decisions based on objective criteria, the manifesto is an invaluable tool as it allows them to compare side by side, how the prospective government administrations say they will tackle the issues that are important to us.

Different political parties have different approaches to their manifestos. Some consider them to merely give a broad overview of what is desirable, but the manifesto should be more than this; it should be a contract between the political party and the people. An important clue as to the seriousness with which the manifesto is viewed by a political party and its candidates can be seen in how closely what is contained in the document coincides with what is said on the political platform; significant divergence should raise alarm bells.

The ULP is seeking to “Lift SVG Higher”, while the NDP has a plan to “Get SVG Working”. It is in our best interest to pay some attention to what the political parties have put in writing for our consideration. We have a very serious decision to make on November 5.

Today is our 41st anniversary of Independence. We wish everyone an enjoyable day.

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