It's The System, Stupid: Proportional Representation
By: Paco Smith | Chairman | Belize Progressive Party
Although I like what most of what I've seen from the PM of Antigua & Barbuda, I must summarily disagree with him, as it relates to his comment regarding the good that accompanies the "overwhelimg mandate" that has been given to those administrations in the Caribbean (e.g. Grenada and Barbados) who have recently swept all the seats in their respective houses. As a student of Governance and Public Policy, I view such occasions as critical proof of the antiquated and disastrous reality of the "First-Past-the-Post" system that is used by most English-Speeaking Caribbean nations. In effect, given the deficiencies in this electoral approach, it keeps the electorate locked in the notion that they have only one of two viable choices from which to choose. Therein lies the crux of the issue, in that it limits the scope and range of our political and governance perspectives.
PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION EXPLAINED
The prescription my colleagues and I at the Belize Progressive Party - BPP put forth is to introduce the "Proportional Representation" model, akin to that which is utilised in Guyana's electoral process. In effect, compared to "First-Past-the-Post", it provides greater asurances that no-one political entity can gain an outright monopoly on power, as is the case in the two, aforementioned territories of Grenada and Barbados. Couple this with the endemic nature of corruption within the political realm, that has been demonstrated far more often than not and I believe it lends credence to the BPP's mantra that the system must be changed, for if not, it will continue a perpetual cycle of inequality and the lack of representativeness throughout the region.
Addendum by Patrick Rogers:
If there are 30 seats being contested, a Proportional Representation Electoral System would have the BLP winning 22 seats, the DLP winning 7 seats, and maybe the SB with 1.