The evolution of our democracy
If there were any doubts that the result of the recent Chaguanas West by-election was a watershed in our evolution as a democracy, after Tuesday’s statements by the Prime Minister (PM) those doubts should evaporate—at least for now.
Not only did the PM, probably fearing a more severe political backlash if she did otherwise, announce that local government elections would not be postponed, she went on to state unambiguously, that the Chaguanas West by-election had taught her and her colleagues a lesson.
The PM is quoted as saying “all the MPs (Members of Parliament) got a lesson, and all MPs are back out on the ground. They became very concerned, dealing with governance and forgot the ground. And they are back out on the ground”.
And, according to the PM, going back out on the ground “was not campaigning but what we should do as MPs”. Hallelujah!
Now, Madam Prime Minister, take one additional small step to further our political evolution. Get Parliament to provide the regional corporations with the power to collect and spend revenues in their jurisdictions!
Please do this now—while you still have the votes. Not only will this step stimulate interest among the electorate in representative local government but, all things being equal, the quality of life as represented by proper roads, drainage and other amenities should improve under the direct control of local government bodies.
Of course there will be more opportunities for corruption, but this prospect should not prevent the implementation of what would be a major contribution to our continuing evolution as a truly representative democracy.
Then all that will be left to be done is to find productive work for all the MPs and ministers in their black Prados.
Ashton S Brereton