Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Group
Throughout the Caribbean there have been calls for good governance. Unfortunately we continue to look to the political management class for the answer. We are afraid that seldom do the perpetrators of any wrongdoing seek to effect change to curb their transgressions.
While we wait for the introduction of integrity legislation and other instruments, to deter improper behavior on the part of the political management class, we sink further into the cesspool that we are trying to escape.
We firmly believe that the real engines for proper governance must be those who are governed. In other words, the citizens are the best weapon against corruption and graft. They are also the best engines for social and economic change and must be in the forefront demanding change. However, we often find that while the citizens criticize the political class and are vehement that it changes its ways, the citizens themselves are also part and parcel of the same political class. We find that in many instances, they are more defending their political parties than having any real interest in the country itself.
Once this loyalty to their political parties continues to take precedence over the common or national good, the cries for good governance remain unheard. Hence throughout the region political parties are fully aware that elections every five years or so are the tools that are used to blow off steam and allow the citizens to change parties and governments, knowing full well that the replacements are the same with only change of faces.
Party paramountcy, promoted by the political class and encouraged by the citizens therefore essentially guarantees that poor governance will remain the norm. Of course from time to time there will be tinkering with the system to make it better but this tinkering is seldom enough to create any significant change.
Party allegiance and the financiers of parties will continue to get their way unless the citizens abandon blind party loyalty and put their countries first. We note that in most cases opposition parties on assuming office seldom remove bad precedents that were set by the governments they replace. They can do so because they know that the citizens will join them in the nefarious blame game while the status quo remains intact.
While we often accuse the political class of failing to look after our best interests; we continue to ignore the simple truth that we are supposed to be the guardians of our fate. In many instances we renege on our civic duty thereby giving the political class a free pass!