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I hate ‘party politics’ !!!

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EDITOR: We claim to have been independent for 26 years and are still encumbered by the millstone of colonialism in the form of the westminster parliamentary system which continues to divide our beautiful people into two warring clans, each claiming to have the better program to run the show called government … and what confusion they are causing!

Political ‘picong’ as one parliamentarian referred it to, is rife among those vying for a second term with character assassination being the weapon of choice, while those on the opposition seem not to be too serious about replacing the incumbent, in not having called the party together to find out why they lost the last elections and to re-strategise before seeking office again. That unscientific approach will not get the support of intelligent/grassroots people.{{more}}

These days I can’t even wear my maroon coloured “old navy” T shirt sent by a sibling as a birthday gift, without being insulted as a rodent, or biting insect, coloured red, or my yellow vest without being looked at with scorn. Such is the party hype! Important promises made in party manifestos last time around have not materialised which brings me around to the next issue.

Local government which should have been a reality by now is still in the discussion phase, the amendments to the present constitution which should have had more national debate after the first round of discussions have not truly made it a document that reflects the wishes of the majority of Vincentians. Had those national debates been conducted in a more transparent way to allow for wider input, we could have been voting simultaneously in a referendum to adopt the revised constitution and so avoid having to go back to the polls for a separate referendum (which must be conducted in order to have our constitution changed and which would also be a costly exercise). So in these upcoming elections we could have been voting to choose a new government as well as for a more meaningful constitution through the referendum, and if Local Government issues had been worked out properly, we could also have been voting for a local government representative, killing three birds with one stone. An efficiently run local government will give central government representatives more time to deal with the bigger issues and capital projects, including finding markets for our agricultural produce, mutually agreeable arrangements in trade, educational opportunities at the tertiary level for our children and so on.

If proper planning had gone into the second-round discussions for the constitutional review, the venues for those meetings would have been secured before the schedules were announced in the media/press. Then, wider participation could have been obtained, because if the constitution is to undergo changes, then the process has to be thorough to ensure that it reflects the wishes of the majority of Vincentians and that can only be achieved in a meaningful way if as many persons as possible have an input and are aware of and agree to those changes.

Some people love the party system because election time is a time for free rum, nice time, traveling up and down the country on free rides to keep the numbers impressive. Most poor people love it because they do not have another chance to do so until another five years, and these outings bring them a sense of stress relief, which is IRONIC, because it is the same system for which they are voting, that is keeping them stressed out daily.

We need a change of system, which is what the national consultations on the Constitution are seeking to do, but nothing conclusive seems to be in the making. Please don’t give the silly excuse that you did not have enough time to discuss it. Daily, you hear the diatribe and ‘comess’ on the radio talk shows, why wasn’t that medium used to discuss the Constitution at least ONE day every week. Using that method, much could have been accomplished over the last four years.

Both parties have the ability to rouse and get crowds to rally around the banner of yellow or red; the time is now ripe to get Vincentians into a serious debate about an alternative to the outdated British Parliamentary (Party) system that is ‘cramping and paralysing’ progress in little SVG and which is tearing us apart !!! SVG, we need to UNITE!!! Hold ONE head …and serve ONE GOD Almighty !

Donald De Riggs

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