I will be leaving this site so that I can complete audio-book assignments and also my book about the unforgettable events of May 29th 1979. I am not leaving on a jet plane but it may be fitting to comment on the jet airport murmurs that have come up again because of an open report positioning Waitikubuli/Dominica as one of the 25 least visited places on earth. The problem I have with this abrasive airport talk is that in the 2005 elections the UWP promised to build one and the DLP promised not to build one and the majority voted for the DLP who kept their promise and did not build one. But then they did not promise to build a massively expensive presidential palace and they built one.
Further in the next elections 2009 an increased majority (18-3) endorsed the decision to just enhance the existing community airport so what does that tell you? People follow these election campaigns and even wave the manifesto magazines aloft just like flags to provoke non-supporters but do not bother to read them. I am sure there will be promises of an international airport next election campaign which I hear could be anytime. This soul of the will of we the people and our way of life is an anytime, any day sort of thing left to be decided solely by only one of us; the one we the people elected and made Prime Minister.
Prime Ministers can take a childish approach to announcing the election date and –yes- play ‘hoop sewe’ (hide and seek) with it. In addition the PM can use it as a weapon to keep the ministers in line “Just do what I say or I calling it today.” The Constitution gives unlimited power to a PM who has a horse in the race to call the race when he feels like running the race.
The Westminster system works well for Britain because of all the pressures that can be brought to bear on parliamentarians by its sophisticated institutions. Not so in our Caribbean islands where our institutions, which should stand forward for us have either sold out or are simply too intimidated by authority to make that difference. So PMs cannot believe their luck and abuse the bleeping thing. In St Lucia’s elections of April 16th 1987 the late PM John Compton was unhappy with the results of the poll which only gave him a one seat majority and 14 days later on April 30th simply declared another round of elections. The results were the same yet he had put the nation into tension, division, stress and expense just to try to satisfy his ego and he could have done it again and again if he wished until he got the results he wanted.
These musical political rallies are sandwiches of hastily cooked up lies and empty promises stuffed between over toasted slices of ‘mepwi.’ If the people are to understand the seriousness of elections it must not appear that everything about our elections is just a big game, starting with the manner of its declaration. I would have hoped that a new age PM would seek to work toward setting a constitutional amendment for a definite date for elections or that no less than 90 days notice must be given before nomination day with provisions made for emergencies. Under the present system snap elections could be completed in under one month, suddenly called on the 1st and completed by about the 21st and opposition parties would be left with no chance whatsoever to get ready for our nowadays massively expensive elections campaigns.
I would also wish to see an administration making moves to get rid of all these small constituencies introduced by Edward Leblanc who in 1974 moved the number up from 11 to 21 and left office before he could understand the huge expense and difficulties associated with such a move. In the case of the Vielle Case Constituency won by the PM Skerrit in 2009 receiving 87% of all the votes cast but less votes than nine members of his cabinet and even Ronnie Isidore with 1540 votes or 40% of the vote got a whole lot more votes than him in a losing bid for the Mahaut constituency. Danny Lugay In Roseau South with 1536 votes or 46% and Bobby Frederick Roseau North with 1130 votes or 33% all lost but got more votes than the PM Skerrit’s 1045 votes. Ambrose George received 61% of votes cast which amounted to more than 2000 votes nearly twice times more than his boss and meanwhile the representative of Morne Jaune/Riviere Cyrique sits in the cabinet and House of Assembly with a mere 524 votes or 48.8%. There is massive imbalance in the division of our constituencies and we should fix this now.
In this age of easy road communication smaller constituencies should be merged with others to make them 17 like St Lucia, which has a larger population. In any case 21 is a problematic number with the potential for tribulation if three parties become powerful enough to win 7 seats each, and then the perhaps prolonged wheeling, dealing and chicanery takes the spotlight and God help Waitikubuli. Thanks for your reading and commenting. Blessings!