Thursday, August 26, 2010


15 or 17 seats?

On November 25th, the national referendum on Constitutional reform was defeated. That defeat was a body blow to the ruling United Labour Party who anticipated a much better showing than the 43+% it received. On the other hand, the Opposition New Democratic Party buoyed by the results and sensing blood have been relentless in their attacks on the ruling party. Although the referendum was supposedly non political I believe many used it to vent against what they perceived as shortcomings by the ULP. With elections due by March 2011,the atmosphere in little st Vincent is highly charged.

Very recently a damning report( leaked to the Opposition) by the Audit office on the mishandling of funds at the Ministry of Health has been all over the media. It's publicity the ruling party could do with out as they have been forced to do damage control on a civil service matter. Then on Tuesday, the High court upheld an opposition injunction to prevent the publication of the Constituencies Boundaries report. This after parliament had approved an amendment to increase the parliamentary seats from 15 to 17. However, the NDP felt that the increase in seats amounted to gerrymandering especially as the Opposition Leader stood to lose a portion of his constituency that is a stronghold. While I am not certain what this ruling means I believe that 17 seats are too many for this small country. If I had my way, for sure the Grenadines seat would be one instead of two as we have a situation where subject to correction the Southern Grenadines has a voting population of less 3000. But then again politicians usually act in a manner that is expedient to them with little or no thought to what is best for the country. Can we really afford two more ministers and more senators? I think not, to borrow a phrase from the Republicans we need smaller government. If people have to tighten their belts in harsh economic times then government can't be getting bigger.

Most times, I just wish the Prime Minister would call elections and let the country get back some normalcy as I'm convinced this limbo state does nothing for us. Ring the bell PM,ring it,

I would be very surprised if ULP were to win. Anyway politics getting back to the gutter days of yesterday judging from the nonsense I've been hearing on the airwaves.
My view is that its not so much the NUMBER of constituencies as the EQUALITY of the constituencies that's important. Dominica has 21 constituencies, but we have 40,000 more people than they do. Big deal, as long as all constituencies have roughly the same number of people. That way, a vote in constituency x has the same weight as a vote in constituency y. That's a fundamental principle of democracy.

The fact is that the population of SVG hasn't changed much in the last 20 years, but the DISTRIBUTION has changed hugely. More people have moved from teh country into the suburbs of Kingstown and the constituencies right next to kingstown. Because of that, the St. georges (on teh windward side) and South Leeward (on the other side) have more people/voters than the other constituencies.

How to fix it? Well, you could either (a) make two new constituencies or (b) adjust all the lines of the existing constituencies to make sure they all have roughly the same number of ppl. Like I said, I don't care either way. Just fix it.

You are absolutely right about the Grenadines too, btw. Making two constituencies out of 3000 voters is a joke. 1,000 votes can win you a seat in the southern grenadines, but those same thousand votes couldn't get you close to parliament in any seat on the mainland. (so maybe we should just increase SVG to 29 seats or so -- divide all the mainland seats in half to make them equal to the grenadines!)
Was thinking about dominica but wasn't sure how many seats they had. South leeward is where I'm registered and that constituency is way hige given that over the years Pembroke and Twenty hill have become residential areas. The same South Leeward had Campden park (from above the bridge) and Lowmans placed on West Kingstown but still the constituency remains the largest. I would not have divided it in 2 as they are proposing but probably explore shifing Pembroke/Cane Grove etc to Central. I like making them equal as much as possible.
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