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Saturday, April 4, 2020
Home Features A noh deh wid no republican system

A noh deh wid no republican system

KREM Radio’s JC Arzu, and Ms. Sandra Coye, I’ve heard them trumpet the virtues of the republican system over the Queen’s parliamentary democracy one time too many, so I have to put a few stones in their path, to slow them down before dehn tek dehn head like big king fish an we can’t reel them in on regular fishing line.

I would love the republican system, if I da mi di president. Parliamentary democracy is like a ship – you can mutiny and take it over. You can stop a ship any time. The republican system is like a plane – the pilot has total control over you. When you’re in a plane, you hold on to your seat until the pilot decides to put down his wheels and land. I don’t want anyone to have so much control over my life.

I think the PUP is talking fixed election date if they win the next one, and I’m with that. Fixed elections will mean we can’t stop the ship, but we’ll still be able to change the captain. A fixed election date will take a small bite out of the power of the trade/labor unions, but they have never used their power to force a government to call elections.

The big positive with a fixed election date is that it will one, take away the obvious advantage that call-it-at-anytime-yu-want gives to the incumbent party, and it will cut out the nonsense of the incumbents playing games with the electorate.

I don’t want to get too deep into American business, but if Donald Trump is what the Democrats say he is, look how powerless they are to do anything about it. The republican system produces dictators.

Parliamentary democracy has failed us so far because we have yet to produce a statesman as Prime Minister. All our Maximum Leaders have been consumed with staying in power. To my mind the closest we’ve had to a statesman is Rt. Hon. Said Musa, but he loved his friend Ralph too much. Of course we had a statesman in politics, Hero Philip Goldson, but he never got a chance to show how truly great he was.

What third parties NEED to do now

I will start off by saying what the third parties DON’T need to do now, and that is contest the next general election. It’s a frustration trip, and good leaders don’t take their followers down that krik. Contesting general elections in a First Past The Post (FPTP) system is an exercise in futility for third parties. How many times do you have to bok your head against a wall before you realize that it ain’t going to come tumbling down?

The third parties need to push for a more level playing field, and they won’t accomplish that by wasting their and their followers’ energies mobilizing and contesting the next general election. They must use their energies to decide on a system that is more democratic, and if they can’t use their voice to get one or both of the big parties to adopt that system, then they must give their all to getting it on the ballot, in a referendum.

Belizeans will choose the lesser of two evils rather than take a Boledo-type gamble on a third party. Third parties should fight for a change because the FPTP means they don’t stand a chance in hell of coming out on top. You need money, tons of money, to finance a campaign in the FPTP. The British and the Americans are content with it because they are big money people.

I don’t understand why the third parties insist that Proportional Representation (PR) is better for Belize than the Alternative Vote (AV). Even if PR is better than the AV, it is such a whole new ball game it would be a difficult swallow at one go. The AV is a simple system, and to implement it, all we would have to do is change a line, I think in the Representation of the People Act, and change the face of the ballot.

A lot of people say it is the system, not the person, but that is clearly wrong. How come the UK runs a good parliamentary democracy and we don’t? The answer is that the persons who are representatives over there understand the meaning of “honorable,” and our representatives don’t. It is as simple as that. Too many of our representatives are only out to get theirs. It’s as simple as that.

The AV will force aspirants for the House to fix their game, because the AV, unlike the FPTP, is a positive vote. It is for sure that Belizeans would like to vote, all the time, for the person/party on the ballot who they feel will do best for Belize.

Do you know that a few of these countries around us are doing their utmost to get the best people into office, and that that is why some of them are running a system similar to the AV to elect their presidents? It’s not because they are republics that they are becoming more democratic.

They are using an AV to elect their presidents that is called¯well, I think it is called —”runoff.” Costa Rica has the runoff, and they are way ahead of us. El Salvador has a runoff and they are making strides after a horrible civil war. Guatemala has the runoff too, and if not for a truly ugly past and entrenched racism, they would have run by us already.
I counted 19 candidates in the first round of the presidential election in Guatemala last year. Ms. Sandra Torres, of National Unity of Hope, got in excess of 500,000 votes over Alejandro Giammattei of Vamos in the first round, but in a runoff, Giammattei easily defeated Torres.

The 160 members in Guatemala’s Congress are elected through a form of proportional representation. National Unity of Hope has the most seats, 54; Vamos is second with 16 seats, and more than 10 parties have seats. That looks like democracy to me. Belize’s leaders, like greedy puppy, are choking up our system.

Very simply, the AV allows you to vote for more than one candidate on the ballot. You make a first choice, and you can also make a vote for the candidate/party you think second best, and make a vote for the candidate/party you think third best. If when the votes are tallied, no one gets more than 50% of the “first choice” votes, instead of a runoff you add the “second choice” votes to everyone’s tally. That will surely take one of the candidates over 50%, and there you’ve got your representative.

70% of voters in a 2011 referendum in the UK rejected the switch from FPTP to the AV. The AV supporters were defeated by the big money of the major parties. We can wait until the people in the UK get enough of being controlled by big money and make the switch, or we can do the sensible thing and make the move now. Get it—30% of the British chose AV about ten years ago, and the number is increasing.

The ball is in the court of the third parties. They can choose to squander it and go wild goose after the big prize again, or they can do right by their followers and go after the change that has to come if they are to get their much deserved place(s) in the House of Representatives.

Hey, I know I could have been more tactful in this piece. Sure, I should be more respectful when talking to the parties that cannot win, because they have been at it a long time so they are owed for their time and efforts.

Bah, I don’t care about the egos of big people. You bet I know that these bohgaz in the third parties are every bit as arrogant as the philistines in red and blue shirts who are ruining Belize. They can talk about how much they have sacrificed, how rich they could have been. Well, thanks, but they have food on their tables. I’m not a politician; that’s why I bring the case full frontal. The third parties could achieve a lot more for Belize if they concentrated their energies on defeating the FPTP.

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