Caribbean people swing from one political party to the next with no real rhyme or reason.
Rampant waste of taxpayer monies? Stratospheric incompetence? Blatant corruption? Vote them out. Vote them all out. So one party sweeps the election, leaving no opposition — or a very weak one — in our imitation Westminster system.
But guess what? The new party — or the restored old party, as the case may be — is no better. All the ills identified with the ousted party remain present. New faces now feed at the trough, but the faces are all that changes.
So four or maybe eight years later, what do Caribbean people say? “Vote them out!” And the pendulum swings and another party — either the one from before or a totally new one — is swept in.
Meanwhile, we don’t really want to get involved in advocacy. We don’t want to put our heads above the parapet and call for the freedom of information law, the whistleblower act, the recall, the referendum, or the other measures that would help ensure good — or, at least, better — governance.
We don’t want to demand the strengthening and enforcement of existing legislation to promote honesty and integrity.
We don’t want to lose our friends or alienate our relatives and neighbours, so we don’t unite around forcing our governments to become transparent and accountable.
We keep hoping that the magic of simply voting will get us the results we desire. We are loath to bestir ourselves further.
Perhaps this is a reflection of political immaturity, perhaps an outcome of our small sizes. I really don’t know. All I do know is elections and new parties have proven time and again that they are not the answer.
They cannot assure us good governance without strong and robust mechanisms of transparency and accountability.
And if we can’t be bothered to advocate for those things, we simply won’t get them, no matter what promises are made on the campaign trail.