POLITICIANS MUST NEVER FORGET THAT IN A DEMOCRACY IT IS THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE THE POWER AND NOT THEM
By: Wellington C. Ramos
In my study and teachings of political science it is always made clear that in a democracy, it is the people that have the power and not the politicians. This is very important for all aspiring politicians to keep in mind before they seek public office. I would also advise them not only to keep this basic fundamental principle in their minds but to use it as guide when thinking and formulating policies on behalf of their people. People who enter politics with this principle and practice, very seldom lose elections. On the other hand, people who enter politics without this philosophy, have a difficult time getting elected and if elected get voted out shortly thereafter.
Any person who is seeking political office without accepting and making this clear to the people, is coming to office with his or her own hidden agendas and if elected the people will suffer some consequences. In a democracy people elect politicians to office to promote and advocate for their best interest. Politicians must come to the people and ask them what are some of the issues, they would like him or her to address in parliament on their behalf if he or she was to be elected. Then, the politician will campaign with those issues and start planning strategies to get them passed through parliament so that his or her people can benefit from the programs that are generated.
Politicians must be aware of the fact at all times that if they get elected, they are only going to be there for a five year term if they live in a former British colony. Five years may sound like a lot of time but it is going to move faster than you think. The challenge for the politicians is to make all the efforts they can possibly make, to bring some programs back to the people in their electoral districts. The way our political system is setup in the former British colonies, it does not work for a political party and their people who are in the opposition and that has to change. Five years in office without any accomplishment, is unexplainable to the people and they should vote that politician out of office. It should not matter which party that politician belong to. If you vote him or her back in, you are rewarding him or her for neglecting their duty to serve you the citizen.
Under the British former colonies constitutional arrangements the party that wins the most seats in the House of Parliament, forms the government and the Cabinet and controls all the nation’s wealth. They then take the people’s money and spend it among their; relatives, friends and cronies. If you are in the opposition you have nothing to get and they would care the least if you and your family suffers. Then when you complain about the way you and your family is being treated, they respond by punishing you and your family even more. This type of politics is not democracy but more closer to vindictive politics. This is happening in almost all the former British colonies in the Caribbean and the rest of the world. The politicians can change this by amending their countries’ constitution, to allocate public funds to all the electoral districts by a certain percentage of the budget. The Representatives will then debate in parliament the fairness of the percent of allocations their districts received from the budget.
If I can think about this then why most politicians haven’t thought about this ideal democratic idea? Maybe, some have thought about it before but their political parties told them not to push this idea forward. Some politicians like to keep our people divided so that they can glorify themselves and make people believe that they are working in their best interest. No politician is working in their people’s best interest, when their country have an unemployment rate that is extremely high and is over 30%. For me 1% is too high much less 30% or more. A good government is one that makes it their top priority to have jobs for all of its citizens. Because if one person does not have the means to provide for his or herself, that individual and his family will become a burden to the state and may engage in crime, drugs, violence or some other form of antisocial activity.
This is what we are witnessing in most of our Caribbean countries today. Then, when the Prime Ministers of these countries give their Independence Day speeches, they paint a rosy picture of their countries economy. The people who have no jobs will turn off their radios and televisions because they know that what their Prime Minister is saying; is far from the truth and more closer to a lie. Not only are the citizens doing bad but the country in a whole as well because both are living in a state of dependency. Then the people will become angry and desperate for a change. They will be patiently waiting for the elections to be called. The longer the government take to call the election, the more angrier the people will become.
In 2008 my country of Belize was in a situation like what many countries in the Caribbean are experiencing today. I made it my duty to go home and see what was taken place with my people and country. On my arrival in Belize City, I sat down and started to talk with some people on the streets by the swing bridge. They said to me; I am just waiting for the elections to be called because they have had their fun and that day will be my time to have my fun too. I asked them what do you all mean and they said; We heard that they have a lot of money to try and buy our votes but we will take their money and still vote against them”. When I went back home to Dangriga that week, there was a meeting and somebody in the audience yelled;
”Tek Deh Money And Vote Them Out”.
That slogan became the rallying cry of the Belize general elections of 2008 throughout the entire country.
When all the votes were counted in Belize the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), defeated the ruling sitting People’s United Party by a total of 25 to 6 seats. After the elections it was being rumoured that the People’s United Party (PUP) spent about 20 million US Currency on that election and still lost it. This political party has not won a majority of seats in the; village, municipal, general or by-elections since 2003. Elections are due in 2017 but the Prime Minister could call it this year if he chooses to do so. I am certain that if he was to call the elections now, his party would win by a larger margin than he did in 2012. Belizeans are still angry with the PUP for the 2 Billion dollars debt they left behind for them to pay and their party is fragmented up to today.