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A Fresh Look at Voting Divisions

24 May

A future PDC Government shall make sure that all CONSTITUENCIES and electoral (polling) districts are renamed in this country.

Thus, that there shall no longer be the St Michael South CONSTITUENCY, the St. George North CONSTITUENCY, the St. John CONSTITUENCY, the St. Lucy CONSTITUENCY, Christ Church East CONSTITUENCY, the St. James Central CONSTITUENCY, the St. Philip West CONSTITUENCY, etc.

Thus, there shall no longer be electoral ( polling ) districts DA 1, DA 2, DA 3, and all the others within the national CONSTITUENCY ( the total number of CONSTITUENCIES in the country).

Such a policy shall also apply to any future CONSTITUENCIES and future electoral ( polling) districts that ( in regard of CONSTITUENCIES ) are created and that are so named on the basis of the parishes in which they fall ( exclusively or substantially ), and that (in regard of electoral ( polling ) districts) are created in any of the CONSTITUENCIES and that carry such nondescript meaningless titles, in between the time now and whenever we become at the helm of government in this country

These CONSTITUENCIES and districts shall be so named after prominent Barbadians who either in the past or in the present ( at the same time ) would have done great and extraordinary service to the particular CONSTITUENCIES, or would have been outstanding in whatever fields in life and would have arisen from or resided in those particular CONSTITUENCIES and electoral districts or would have been for whatever reasons established for a good deal of time in them.

Hence, we strongly believe in the following and more –

1) that CONSTITUENCIES must as much as possible be seen by many Barbadians as being different from the entire colonial names and other colonial and post colonial human made things that are politically governmentally characteristic of the parishes in this country;

2) that CONSTITUENCIES for purely electoral political purposes must as much as possible have their own identities;

3) that such identities must center around paying homage and respect to the personalities that would have rendered – that would have been rendering outstanding meritorious service in whatever regards in those CONSTITUENCIES;

4) that those present and past personalities by being granted such recognition would bring a greater sense of local history and culture to many others of the real meaning and importance of CONSTITUENTS/CONSTITUENCIES;

5) that by granting such recognition would also entail the beginning of a substantial redefinition in the political language and behaviour associated with the theoretical CONSTITUENCY away from the primary operating variables – voting – party – Representation of the People’s Act – House of Assembly seats – to where it ( definitional language ) rightfully “modernistically” belong – CONSTITUENCY BUILDING – the CONSTITUENT – a CONSTITUENTS Bill of Rights – CONSTITUENCY ASSEMBLIES – WHERE CONSTITUENTS will initiate and debate and pass the laws of this country

6) that with the establishment of such features ( in 5 ), and other relevant features, the further development of the nation building process shall be guaranteed away from, and as a partial substitute for – the excessive party based governmental politics that is too much corrupting and dividing our country.

and

7) that electoral ( polling) districts – being themselves constituent parts of CONSTITUENCIES – must actually reflect all the above and more considerations – (1 to 6 ).

So, there you go.

VOTE PDC for real and substantial change for the better in Barbados.

PDC

Any lessons in the UK Elections

7 May

The Fortunes of the Third Party in the Race
Well the expectation that Liberal Democrats under Nick Clegg might have done better in this election did not materialise. In fact they ended up losing seats. There was one woman who said that she usually votes Liberal but did not want to see Labour return to office. There might have also been some Liberal sympathisers who voted Labour. Certainly the fact that the Conservatives did not win by a land slide must say something about a lack of confidence in David Cameron. Labour therefore did better than expected. It certainly does not look as though the people wanted to get rid of Labour entirely.

The Hung Parliament
The United Kingdom therefore ended up with no party having a clear majority. This is one of the outcomes of a three party race. Many argue that it is not a bad outcome and that there are countries that do quite well in such circumstances.

Election Reform
One of the clear issues which the Liberal Democrats have placed on the table is election reform and this might be the right time to exercise some leverage in this area. One of the interesting questions is whether election reform would signal a move to proportional representation and not a “first past the post” system. This would be interesting for all the former British colonies that have adopted the latter system and every now and again flirt with the idea of proportional representation.

Irregularities at the Polls
One of the attributes of people is that they should try to learn from the mistakes of others. As we know the elections in the UK were conducted on May 6, 2010, and one of the outcomes was that thousands of people were turned away without being able to cast their vote. There were a number of issues that came out of this, firstly that they did not anticipate the number of people who would turn out to vote. Even when they realised that they would be under pressure to get through the voting process they did not put on enough staff. Then there was some confusion about the interpretation of the rules as to what amounted to closing the polls.

Usually in societies when things go well for a period of time people become careless. We note the issues that arose in Dominica and Antigua & Barbuda. Let us hope that they do not arise in Trinidad & Tobago or in Barbados.

The UK Election Debate – hear about immigration

21 Apr

All three parties agreed that there was need for political reform. The one aspect that they seemed to agree on was the right of the people to recall MPs that are corrupt. In addition Labour emphasised the reform of the House of Lords where there would be an elected House and there would be no more hereditary peers. The Conservatives seemed to be more concerned with cutting MP’s salaries as well as the number of MPs. The Lib Dems seemed to be particularly concerned with party funding and cutting the cost of politics. These are all issues that are real to the Barbados electorate as well.

Manning removes MPs

19 Apr

Some people are asking what Patrick Manning has against Penny Beckles, the incumbent from Arima. He offered her a diplomatic posting in order to withdraw from the race in the upcoming election. She refused and the PNM is not running her. But this is not the first time that Manning had asked this particular candidate to stand down. Also this is not the first time that Manning has removed incumbents. He did this in the run up to the last election and arguably he was successful. Can he do it again?

Apparently one of Ms. Beckles’ sins is that she made positive comments about Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s elevation to Leader of the Opposition. The two are women, colleagues as lawyers and are contemporaries. How could Ms. Beckles’ have said anything else.

These are the issues that parties try to sort out in time for elections without too much fall out. In Barbados it would be difficult for anyone to try to remove an incumbent, unless there is pretty much a consensus that the individual has lost the support of the members of the Constituency.

In Barbados it will be interesting to see how the alleged gun incident involving Dale Marshall and David Estwick plays out. Is it possible that Dr. Estwick might be asked not to run in the next election?

New Party in TT Elections

18 Apr

Election Day is Monday, May 24, 2010, in Trinidad and Tobago. Nomination Day is Monday, May 3. (See Barbados Today, Saturday, April 17, 2010).

It has become clearer that the United National Congress (UNC) and the Congress of the People (COP) are finalizing an election accord of theirs in time for this general election.

We have also got word that Mr. Yasin Abu Bakr and the Jamaat Al-Muslimeen group of Trinidad and Tobago are forming a party to contest this election.

Well, so, let the campaign begin.

PDC

What’s the Manning Plan?

11 Apr

Trinidad & Tobago Parliament

UNC, COP TO WRAP UP UNITY TALKS

The respective leaderships of the Opposition UNC and minority COP party are expected to buckle down to the final leg of unity talks in 72 hours, COP Chairman Roy Augustus said Friday. COP acting leader Wendy Lee Yuen said that the final segment of talks between both parties was expected no earlier than Monday. Lee Yuen spoke as COP leader Winston Dookeran and COP Deputy Leader Prakash Ramadhar were scheduled to arrive home on Friday night from India and the US, respectively.

UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar also gave the assurance that she would arrange a meeting convenient to both parties regarding the unity issue after the COP leaders returned from overseas. “I will do every thing to ensure we have a one-on-one fight with the PNM for this upcoming election,” she said.

A number of people are already being tipped from both sides as “unity candidates” for various reasons. Lee Yuen said: “We are committed to this and there is no doubt this (unity arrangement) is going to happen.. There’s is a multi-pronged approach and talks are underway.” Augustus said he was more concerned about the foundations of the system than seats at this point. COP’s screening process begins next week. UNC begins screening next Tuesday. (Trinidad Guardian) Taken from the Barbados Advocate, Sunday, April 11, 2010.

Against the backdrop of the above news story, we would like to say a few things about the decision of Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister to advise the President “to dissolve” the country’s Parliament – a mere two and a half years after the last General Election.

There are a number of issues that Prime Minister Patrick Manning must have examined in dissolving Parliament (i) Mrs. Persad-Bissessar has now made the UNC far more electable and is now basking in her new position as Opposition Leader; (ii) there is the UNC no-confidence motion against the government and (iii) the heightening of the perception amongst more and more Trinidad and Tobagonians that
Government’s management is worsening with violent crimes still high and corruption is still pervasive.

The convenient marriage between the UNC and the COP, and all that it brings with it, probably can attract more votes than the PNM. Remember that in the last General Election the UNC and COP combined got more votes than the PNM and Panday blasted Dookeran over that particular result!!!

Manning’s perception of the great threat posed to his party’s reelection bid by a unified UNC and COP partially explains the dissolution of Parliament. The question still remains as to why an election date has not been set as yet. The PDC however expects this to be announced within the next week or so.

Manning’s bid to deal directly with this threat – in one way – through the holding of general elections, will fail mainly because of the fact that the politics of Trinidad and Tobago has long been largely played out on the basis of race. The PNM is largely supported by the Afro-Trinidad and Tobagonians, and the UNC and COP are largely supported by the Indo-Trinidad and Tobagonians. The populations of these two major races are roughly the same. So, any cracks in either of these support bases would be caused by non-racial factors and also will have to be filled by resort to the race factor.

Thus, with Panday’s style of leadership of the UNC (abrasive and dictatorial), and which helped to cause Dookeran and others to form the COP, out of the way – it is felt by many UNC and COP supporters that it is in the best interests of the Indian race for both those parties and supporters to come together for Indians to regain their relative political dominance in the parliament and government of the country.

Manning does not seem to have a strategy for dealing with the UNC /COP amalgamation and hence has not set a date. He is adopting a “wait and see” approach to determine the reaction of Trinidad & Tobagonians to the unified party. The response of the media is especially important. It seems too that Manning is not ready for elections himself. The PNM’s candidate selection process is NOT complete.

However, it is non-sensical and outrageous that Prime Ministers within our English Speaking Caribbean still have this power to say when General Elections and by-Elections are to be held.

The PNM leader is NOT as confident as he was when he called the last General Election. His political mood and spirit is different. He seems more introverted and more subdued than then, and the tone of political language used by him at this stage is different – less inspiring, less up beat than then, and his tactics more determined by the UNC/COP and public sectoral pressure, NOT based on PNM political electoral strategy – it is like the General in an army taking learning lessons from the enemy. Not good signs for Manning and the PNM.

However, this delay in actually setting the date will cause greater political pressure on Manning as to the real or mock reasons why Parliament was dissolved.

A mere No-Confidence motion CANNOT cause a general election ( The Barbados Advocate, Saturday, April 10, 2010).
This Prime Minister would be rallying his troops, so to speak, and would be in a good position to defeat such a motion. Indeed, a No-Confidence Motion is a parliamentary political device sought and best used by the Opposition to offset or off balance a government The history of No-Confidence motions in parliaments in the English Commonwealth shows that they hardly succeed against governments or government ministers.

The decision of Manning to advise the President “to dissolve” Parliament, seems to have caught the UNC and the COP off guard though. This commitment of theirs to have a marriage in time for the General Election, has NOT gone very far beyond that commitment itself. In the above news story, just check what Bissessar is reported to have said and what Augustus and Lee Yuen are reported to have said too. Do they not seem confusing out of harmony out of step some what?

But it does seem that their being caught off guard is inconsequential since it will have little bearing on the next general election outcome in Trinidad and Tobago.

So, there you have it!!

PDC

Eyes fixed on elections, not on fixing Barbados

9 Apr

PM David Thompson

Yet another economic quarter ( January to March 2010) has passed, and there is NO sign whatsoever that this wretched wayward DLP Government has been providing the dynamic intellectual, political and organizational leadership necessary to help get the country out of this gigantic mess that primarily itself and the last BLP Government put the country in.

In fact, nothing significant at all is happening at this time, except that the so-called economy is further and further collapsing – with more and more workers being laid off, with more and more businesses, if NOT being closed down, being terribly downsized, with many more businesses reporting greatly reduced profits, and hardly any new major investments being made through out the country.

We have said it before and we say it again that this country would have been in a far better position in 1992/3, at this time (2 years into this depression – about 20 years ago) than it is at this time.

What this implies is that there are aspects of this present crisis that are far far worse than in the 1991/3 period of crisis, or that are being grossly mismanaged by this present DLP Government.

For instance, let us look at the fiscal deficit of the government. The 2009 Central Bank Economic Report on the performance of the so-called Barbados economy for the year 2009 shows that in the midst of this crisis the fiscal deficit increased by a sizable 2% to 8% from 6% in 2008, mainly through wild and reckless government expenditure increases.

However, in the midst of the 1991/3 political economic crisis the government’s fiscal deficit of BDS $ 254 million in 1990/1, instead of going up further had to be brought down – and was brought down to BDS $ 54 million in 1991/2, through a series of decisive but draconian measures instituted by the then government with the help of the IMF( Statistics taken from the 2007 Statistical Digest of Central Bank of Barbados).

That PARTICULAR phased reduction of the fiscal deficit was, yes, a mighty part of the 1991/3 structural adjustment and stabilization programs that the then DLP government had – along with the IMF and the World Bank/IADB – instituted. Indeed, these austerity programs – call them that – were themselves responsible for much of the great pain, suffering and misery that were visited upon the broad masses and middle classes in the country, but were also responsible for the significant restructuring and repositioning undertaken then in the government sector and by extension in the so-called Barbados economy, and which in the final analysis helped to lay the foundation for much of the material financial growth that was later seen during the first BLP term of office.

Hence, too, the management of the political economic crisis then was far better then than at this time. The Social Partnership, the Congress of Trade Union and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) being born at such a crucial time in the historical development of Barbados!!!

But, at the moment when there is an absolute need for the implementation of national and subnational restructuring and stabilization programs sufficient to help restructure and reorder the fiscal and operational affairs of the government (and by extension the material productive and distributive affairs of the country), we in the PDC see none coming forth from this joke DLP Government.

Neither are there any programs that are developmental and people centered and at the same time instrumental in helping to create and or develop excess material and financial capacity in the country. At this time we need to make sure that we use the country’s capacity in an expansionary way such as would ensure that the way is NOT ONLY paved for a strong recovery in BUT ALSO for the sustained long term growth and development in the material and financial affairs of this country. SO, NONE WHATSOEVER EITHER!! NONE!!

But, to think of it, this wretched wayward DLP government has failed and will continue to fail in putting such programs in place sufficient to restructure and reorder the fiscal and operational affairs of the government and by extension the wider so-called economy. They do not have the political will nor the intellectual capacity to do so on their own.

In the USA there has been a great amount of restructuring and stabilization – albeit with a great deal of incoherence uncertainty – in their economy. There has also been great amounts of economic financial information coming out of there via the internet, international news organizations, that suggests that the recession has ended for them, and that there is a recovery in their economy, albeit fragile because of certain fundamental negativing factors relative to how the political economic financial system of the West functions.

But what does this mean to this DLP Government and Hartley Henry, prone as they are to comparing the Obama Administration to the David Thompson Administration? What have they really learned about the credit crisis, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the recession, and the recovery from there in the USA?

For, the way how they have been attending to matters of the so-called Barbados economy shows that they have NOT been learning much from those situations in the USA . Moreover, they have NOT understood the necessity or the importance of a country’s material and financial affairs undergoing well thought out properly implemented restructuring rehabilitation programs in order to move forward.

Well, Mr. Thompson, like Mr. Sandiford would have then in 1992/3, has had his eyes fixed firmly on the election clock – meanwhile, the proper development of many of this country’s affairs takes a back seat.

Well, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur and the BLP paid the price, politically electorally, for not only not leading the way, but also for failing to properly restructure and reorganize the material and financial affairs of the country. It is time the broad mass of voters of this country do the honourable thing – send both the DLP and the BLP packing from out of the parliament of this country.

For sure something needs to be done in this country to ensure that some other well meaning political entity procures the sustained development of this country.

So, Down with the Damned DLP and the Blasted BLP!!

PDC