If the voice of the people is the voice of God then the Electoral and Boundaries Commission owes an apology to the people of Barbados, in particular, of Christ Church South. Furthermore, the time has come for educated people of Barbados to stop manipulating vulnerable people and demand that politicians take immediate action to correct a traditional wrong associated with elections in Barbados.
The unprecedented results in independent Barbados’ history of 16-14 in favour of the Democratic Labour Party during the 2013 general elections must be the wake-up call for those in authority to stop the manipulation of ordinary Barbadians. It is estimated that some 60 percent of eligible Barbadians voted in the February 21 elections. The question I am asking is how many of them can recall what was written on the ballot paper? I have asked a number of persons this question and only one answered correctly.
Then there are some 40 percent of people who declined to vote, why? I believe the manipulation process that has taken place over the years might be a cause, as people usually call to mind only what they desire to see, but your subconscious mind records all that your eyes see, and at times for different reasons brings it to you conscious mind.
Barbadians have been socially indoctrinated and manipulated subtlety for hundreds of years without understanding the subliminal messages in the manipulation process. This is partly what happened at independence when Barbados was given a second class electoral process. It is nothing short of scandalous that after 46 years of independence that some Barbadians still are unclear who to vote for because of what is on or not on the ballot paper, as was explained to me by a first time voter in this election.
In 1991, this was exactly my experience when I first had the opportunity to vote in Barbados. I declined because I observed the manipulation in the process. However, unlike like other persons who simply complain, I started a campaign by lobbying for change for what obtained in England, where I was accustomed to voting. In England, the ballot paper carries the candidate’s name, address and the party he/she represents. In Barbados, with a British parliamentary system, the ballot paper carried only the candidate’s name and profession. In the 1994 elections I stood as a candidate to find out firsthand how the discrimination and manipulation process works.
For the past 22 years I have been lobbying the Electoral and Boundaries Commission and all political parties for them to take action and correct this major flaw in our parliamentary election system. Now that the prime minister is his victory statement has assured us that he is going to “look at all the laws relating to elections and bring about the necessary changes to correct flaws” and the opposition leader has also condemned politicians bribing potential voters, I am appealing to both that they go to the root cause of the problem.
Another interesting statement resulting from these elections was made by Mr David Ellis, a very influential talk show host and moderator, who also expressed concerns of the parliamentary election system when he publicly stated that he did not exercise his “civic duty” to vote because he has no confidence in the process or in the two-party system. Such statements from senior representatives in our society could have far reaching consequences.
My 22 years of lobbying for change to the Barbados electoral process has brought some improvement, as the candidate’s address has been added on the ballot paper in 2013. However, the authorities have gone from the simple to the ridiculous as ‘Government Minister’ on the ballot paper was given as a description of a candidate. My understanding is that there were no ministers of government taking part in this election, as all seats were vacant. Persons were either representing a political party or as independent candidates. Surely this practice of not having the party’s name or acronym on the ballot cannot be morally right. It allows the elected person to abandon the commitment given to the constituents and cross the floor without recall.
Therefore, the debate on integrity legislation and corruption in politics is good for Barbados. If we, the adults, are to lead by example and pass the baton on to the youth that truth, justice and equality are virtues to pursue, then we must take this opportunity presented by the 2013 elections and fix the bias and second rate election process given to us by our slave masters. The time has come for change; stop manipulating the minds of our people.