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Representative democracy

EDITOR, The Tribune.

When we say that we have a representative democracy here in The Bahamas, are we simply flamming again, like that tale about the Governor General being the Head Of State? We all know that the Prime Minister runs things - even the selection (and de facto appointment) of the Governor General. This brings to mind that saying: The wrongest thing one could ever do is know a lie and think it true!

Compared to the apparent insoluble traffic problem conjesting our streets in New Providence during “rush hours” daily, our violent crime epidemic can be said to be clogging the arteries of our minds and sense of well-being. That feeling of comfort and safety which should accompany our representative democracy is absolutely absent these days. In reality, it would appear that that relatively small minority of criminal hooligans hold sway over the majority of decent, law-abiding Bahamians today.

So, the problem is clear. What then is the solution?

Firstly, let’s just agree that there could be no one perfect solution to our (violent) crime problem here in The Bahamas today. Much like a good pot of peas ‘n rice, bowl of conch salad, some boil fish and potato bread, various ingredients have to come together in just the right way. So too, all hands on deck (except, of course, the criminals) would be much more effective in navigating our ship of state around those wide and treacherous shoals of wanton criminality we now face.

Many of us look to the government to hand down solutions for everything. True, we hire our representatives to represent us in this representative democracy. They ought to earn their keep in coming up with legislation, policies and programmes to improve our way of life, promote prosperity, and maintain good law and order for all Bahamians. So, how has that been working in these 57 years of Majority Rule, or essentially 51 years of Independence? We may continue for another 49 years or on and on ad infinitum, to do the same things and look for different outcomes. Or, we can change our mindsets, as well as our directions. Is it so hard to see that the wrongest thing one could ever do is know a lie and think it true?

Based upon the history of referendum in our life time, should we not have learnt a good lesson by now? Since good guidance doesn’t appear to be coming from the top (representatives) down to the people (represented), how about sending some directives to them? Petitions are at least worth a try. How about each community (whether block association or constituency) selecting a liaison to gather the stance of that demographic population on various issues of importance? Political partisanism should be strictly prohibited. Paper or electronic polling should be collated, and then forwarded to the respective MPs. Once the voice of the people has been sounded, the representatives in this representative democracy must present those positions to government for consideration and/or action.

Today, crime might be the pressing issue. However, any and everything which affects the well-being of Bahamians ought to be made to go through that seive of responsible representative governance; from the people to the politicians/administrators of government. A system of petitions, like anything else, could be corrupted and steered off course from its fundamental intent. However, it’s being offered here as but one bullet in the chamber of our gun to fight the crimes we face today. Those hoodlums have their (metal) bullets. Should we not have our (mental) bullets, too?

MB

New Providence

January 23, 2024

Comments

BONEFISH 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The seeds of the violent crime problem and traffic congestion were planted in the seventies. These situations have gotten progressively worse over the years.The transhipment of illegal drugs through the Bahamas is a major contributor to the current state of affairs.The traffickers also had their arsenal of weapons to protect their cargoes.

As for representative democracy,the Bahamas is way less democratic than the United States. Canada,the UK and most of western Europe. All of those countries have layers of highly effective state and local governments. Bahamians only vote based on hate and emotions.They have no real understanding of how governments should work.The average Bahamian has no say how this country is governed after they vote.Both major political parties,The PLP and FNM oppose a real system of local government.They fear that it's introduction will reduce their power.

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