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Rethinking of the State

Sunday, January 14, 2018

“The question is: How to create a political environment that will sift out the unwanted?”—Tony Rakhal-Fraser, January 7, 2018.

The first and perhaps most critical action to ensure that electoral candidates with the appropriate objectives and attitudes are selected to contest for the job/honour to represent people in their constituencies is to have constituents make the selection.

• Potential candidates must be short-listed, selectees must be subjected to clinical research and scrutiny by constituents; eliminated must be the existing practice/model in which an all-knowing political leader and his/her obedient executive foist candidates on constituents to further party and personal objectives.

• The constituency executives and members must do research for full information on the potential candidates and engage in penetrative examination of those who want to represent them and why.

• Constituents have to be prepared to make choices based not on the traditional race and party fanaticism, populist appeals, fatigue-giving and mauvais langue ability of potential candidates, but on proven ability, qualifications and experience for the job at hand—the job requiring that candidates have the capacity for representation, and the ability to present and deliver policies and programmes for the enhancement of community and national living.

• Constituency executives and ordinary constituents must equip themselves over time with the capacity to search out those whose objectives of getting in office are in their self and party interests; and for those who represent not the interests of the constituents, but corporate objectives.

• To achieve the above, there must be major changes to party organisation and functioning, away from a small political oligarchy, led by a “Messiah”, making decisions for tens of thousands of party members and possibly, the population.

The experience is clear, our system of electing governments lands significant numbers of people and their parties into government and ministerial office for which they have no real capacity.

To compound such a reality, the often hidden agendas of candidates become apparent in government, inclusive of corruption, nepotism and the mismanagement of tens of billions.

And that is a charge that is liberally made by the politicians themselves; only thing is, it is always the other side that is guilty.

Transformation at the party and personnel levels requires a fundamental overhaul of the Republican Constitution; hardly a novel idea.

The need for such change has been articulated and voted for over the last 30 years of party and government failures.

Election results since 1986 have sent the messages of dissatisfaction and the need for change to party and government functioning. However, when the electorate votes out an incumbent party and government, it feels its task fulfilled and so it withdraws and then engages in futile shouting from the sidelines; there are no constitutional provisions and no culture to initiate meaningful participation in government.

I support the system of a House of Representatives elected by constituencies to serve their interests.

An organised system of local government can best develop and implement policies and programmes to meet the needs of people in their constituencies, with appropriate funding mechanisms to be worked out.

To constitute a government, I advocate a quasi public service cabinet that will develop policies and programmes in conjunction with a Parliament made up of political and special interest groups.

In addition to being part of the policymaking body, the Parliament will function as one element of an institutional and people-based system to scrutinise the implementation of policies and programmes.

Inclusion in that cabinet will be based on competence, specialist skills and experience.

The integrity of the members shall be subjected to close scrutiny by the Parliament and a participating democracy of the people. This sketch of possible measures and systems may or may not be viable; that is not the issue.

The imperative is the need for a rethinking and reorganisation of the State by all; I am advocating a people-based democracy.

Are we up to the challenge?


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