Friday, April 25, 2008

Installing the System in a Nutshell

In the Non-Party System, the main thrust or objective is the removal of 'party' in the politics of our country! I cannot stress this more than I already have. Achieving this goal does NOT diminish the democratic process as outlined below:

  1. prospective independent candidates offering themselves for service through campaigning,
  2. the electorate voting for the candidates of their choice in free elections,
  3. the elected cadidates forming the House of Representatives as Independents,
  4. Choosing a Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers from among the elected Representatives,
  5. the Ministers sit as the Cabinet to fashion national policies and set planning goals,
  6. Representatives meet as a unified body instead of a divided House and vote according to their consciences,
  7. Representatives reporting back to their constituencies to give account of their stewardship,
  8. Constituencies having the Right to Recall Representatives for not responding to the will of the people.

Is there any thing here that is undemocratic or unconstitutional for that matter? The only fundamental difference with what obtains now is the eradication of formal 'party politics'.

Installing the new system, however, cannot be done immediately. The two-party system has been in operation for decades and is entrenched in the lives of the population and the socio-economic fabric of Dominica. It is the only political model of parliamentary democracy with which we are familiar. One can imagine the resistance to change this will arouse.

  • Some will argue that it works for them and will interfere with established procedures
  • It will have serious consequencies for international relations
  • It may promote conditions for dictatorial rule
  • The Constitution will have to be revised in fundamental areas
  • It may produce conditions that encourage the breakdown of law and order

While all these are legitimate concerns, none of these will occur in fact. We tend, in Dominica, to leave well alone. What we call well is really the maintenance of the status quo, with all its faults. A political party provides a safe base from which to legitimise the actions of those in power regardless of the negative consequences for the people.

Installing the non-party system, therefore, must be approached in gradual stages. Change can proceed either from the top-down or from the bottom-up. We suggest the top-down as explained in the next blog post


© Raglan E. Riviere, B.Sc.(Soc), M.H.A.

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