Post the 2023 elections, intelligent voters understand that the next Virgin Islands government must completely adopt the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations for governance reform. That will mean working in partnership with the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the governor. Any VI government that decides to govern at odds with this reality will sail into stormy waters, and the vessel will eventually sink. This observer believes voters and residents understand that reality implicitly.
Therefore, any constitutional change or critical matter of governance that involves self-determination and such must have the widest buy-in from the public to be effective and sustainable. There is no point pursuing these matters without the public fully engaged, and that means both the voting and non-voting public.
Residents who do not vote pay taxes and contribute equally to the sustainability and survivability of this territory. Understand that reality, and you open the lid to a jar of wisdom many fail to possess.
‘Not rocket science’
Okay. Getting your vote right is not rocket science. Decide what you want for yourself and your family, and then vote. That politics is a contract between voter and politician is putting matters into the most basic terms.
Politics is about power. Ideally, politics is a relationship based on whom to trust with power. I vote for you in return for what you will deliver for me and mine using the power conferred by my vote. The voter decides on who to vote for to deliver the goods, through the power granted after an election.
Observation will reveal that trust in today’s political world is as far from the shore as east is from west, especially in the game of thrones called power. Trust and honesty in politics, however remote, are essential if voters are to get it right.
Why? Because all parties and politicians enter the ring of power with baggage — a paper trail. This is the very human side of politics. Politicians are human beings, much like voters. Candidates carry baggage about based upon their own needs, life experiences and dreams. In that, the politician is no different from the voter. This baggage is who they really are.
Consequently, voters must look at that baggage clearly and without prejudice to decide who is the most trustworthy character to deliver for them. Look at the baggage, and that is likely to reveal a lot more about what the voter will get than the fine speeches and campaign jig. Most politicians leave a proverbial paper trail to read and assess by the voter.
Ultimately, politics is about who will deliver the social and economic resources — the goodies — to the widest number of residents of a country or territory. Politics should be bottom-up and not top-down.
Social democrats assert that trickle-down is poor politics. The reason is that history reveals that when politics is top-down society becomes unequal and elitist. Resources move to the one percent and away from the masses who are most in need. That is one reason for all the social turmoil in the western world these 2020s. Politics has delivered tremendous dividends, for the one percent. It is no different in the Virgin Islands. However, strong economies and societies are bottom-up.
In the UK
Elitism is never a good thing for good governance. Today the United Kingdom is the most unequal society in Europe. That is the result of war and revolution on the European continent. Britain evolved without too much turmoil from the time of the Roman Empire. Europe, on the other hand, saw volatility, war and revolution among ruler and ruled. The other reason is a culture of privilege inherited from yore when the landed gentry ruled with the kings and queens.
Wise politics is the politics of the grassroots: It is bottom-up. Politics is who will deliver the physical and social infrastructure at street level — the proverbial bread and butter or schools, hospitals, roads, water, food, shelter, sanitation, power, safety and security.
Making a life choice is ultimately why we amble over to the voting booth on Election Day. That choice is a crucial one, but not a difficult one. Look at the demographic of leaders and their personal baggage: the paper trail. Look at their vision. Are they the type of politician who will deliver at this time? That is for the voter to decide. So, vote wisely.
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