Letters & Opinion

Equality In The House

Image of Kensley Peter Charlemange
Image of Kensley Peter Charlemange
Independent Eye by Kensley Peter Charlemange

FOR the past few weeks, I have been expounding on the Independent Model. I hope by the time I would have finished writing my children’s book, “Country Bookie”, and the biographical book on a giant of a woman, my aunt Catty Osman, that I will get to write the long-overdue “Paradigm Shift”, deconstructing an alternative model of democratic governance that I think is better suited for progress, justice and equality in our Caribbean region.

The present system is nothing but a divided house and the fault line is growing bigger day by day. Often times when I pitch the Independent Model, people think I am mad until, of course, they sit down and listen.

The basic prong of the Independent Model is that all candidates run an election on an independent ticket and please do not tell me we need an opposition for good governance. I fully agree to one that makes sense. The opposition as presently constituted is like the wolf blowing at the pig’s brick house in the famous children’s tale.

In the Independent Model, where no Member of Parliament is a minister of government, they sit as equals. Get it? None more important than the other and whose voice and vote have equal weight. The opposition now can huff and puff but they sure can’t blow the government down. The only way they would make sense is if you have a government that listens and it [government] has so far demonstrated that it is as stubborn as a mule.

The Independent Model, or what is commonly (and I think, deceptively) referred to as consensus government, is not devoid of opposition. In fact, it is full of it and rightly and genuinely so. It is what I refer to as internal opposition. We have several examples where position and opposition are tainted. A fine example is the Helen Air affair. Support is expected of people appointed because an entity financially sponsored a party. The system is replete with examples and you can see them every day.

Internal opposition exists where members have no inclination or allegiance to an organisation such as a party to which they belong or the people who funded them. Each member of the House sits, speaks and votes on his own volition. These members can truly convey the sentiments of their constituents whom they represent in the House of Assembly.

In the Independent Model, at least the one I propose, the executive and the legislature are separate entities of government. I will stop here because while I have piqued some of my readers’ interest, some have become confounded. Look out for the book because deconstruction was not a loosely used word earlier on in my article. The one thing that I have found in Saint Lucia is that people, inclusive of media, do not like speaking of or on things sensible and that is the biggest threat to the Independent Model.

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