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AS I SEE THINGS: Exercising our democratic rights


Brian M. Francis, [email protected]

AS I SEE THINGS: Exercising our democratic rights

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IT IS OFTEN SAID that a government is supposed to be by the people and for the people. What that means in a practical sense is that the government should act in the interest of the people of the country since it was elected to office by those very same people. But the truth is that no one really knows for sure exactly how that thinking is supposed to be reflected in all of the things a government does in the name of the people or even how such a guiding principle can be implemented in the real world.

Whatever the situation in any country, the reality is that when one examines very closely the behaviour of governments, there is only one conclusion that can be reached: change is indispensable! Consequently, whether it is the Government promising not to do certain things in order to win a general election and then immediately does what it said it would not have done once re-elected to offfice, or a government minister proclaiming success in policies when all of the available statistical evidence suggests something quite the opposite, it is pretty clear that if left to its own device a government would do precisely what it wants unless we the people demand differently.

Irrespective, therefore, of the nature of the issue at hand, all voices in support of as well as those in opposition to should be raised to ensure that “democracy” remains well and alive in our small piece of the rock. After all, exercising our democratic rights to bring about desired changes in our society must be the order of the day, period. At the broader level, we the people of Barbados and the Caribbean must always remember that we do have democratic rights to challenge issues deemed to be of national importance and can express those rights through peaceful and purposeful demonstrations in the public view. Once the dust settles and there appears to be a resolution of the crisis, good sense ought to prevail and individuals should then act accordingly.

To take our countries to the next levels of socio-economic developments, our respective governments have to exhibit in no uncertain terms that they are all about accountability, transparency and good governance. Why? There is a direct correlation between the quality of government (as reflected in accountability, transparency and good governance) and a country’s economic performance. Improvement in economic performance can be the result of, say, greater innovation on the part of economic agents.

To the people of Barbados and other Caribbean countries: are you going to give up your fundamental rights to challenge your governments whenever they need arises only because you feel a sense of loyalty to one political party or the next? Or are you willing to accept that the countries’ economic development cannot proceed with abortive governments? If you choose the latter, then, logically, it is now your responsibility to ensure that quality governments are the order of the day now and going forward!

You see, as the electorate, you are well within your democratic rights to elect the parties and by extension the governments of your choice. Likewise, each citizen is well within his or her right to criticise the government over any matter of national bearing without fear or favour, By so doing, the government is forced to clean up its act and behave in a manner that is consistent with high quality because it would know full well that if it does not its reign will more than likely end after the stipulated five years in office.

Since no serious government would wish to demit office after one term, you the people should and always have the last say. Your humble servant urges you to let the people’s voices be heard by unremittingly exercising your democratic rights to support or oppose any issues that affects you!

Email: [email protected]

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