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“Do set terms of office serve the electorate?”
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“Do set terms of office serve the electorate?”

Elections give citizens a voice, but Lyn-Marie Blackman, a Commonwealth Correspondent alumni from Barbados, argues for methods to hold politicians accountable to citizens during the term of office.

An election is a process that many of us all over this globe have gotten familiar with over time. Many of us go to the polls seeking an elected group of individuals who represent our interest in parliament. In the English-speaking Caribbean we have a system where the elected official get a five-year term, and there they sit until their tenure is up.  However, has this been working for us as a people?

The media shows us every day that many of the electorate have difficulties with the government before the five years is up, but is made to bear the ramifications of that government. As a youth who lives in a country that will be undergoing an election process in 2018, this was cause for concern.

If these are our representatives that we have elected and they are a reflection of who we are as a country, then we the people should have the right to recall any elected official who does not live up to the office they hold in parliament.

Legislation should be enacted that we, the people who elect, should be able to recall an official before the five years is up. Why should we have to sit idly by and grumble on our local talk show programmes, be featured in our newspapers highlighting the discrepancies of the government, but can’t do anything about it until their tenure is up?

As we elect our governments, their feet should be held squarely to the fire, letting them know we the people have the power to exact change in the country we live. We the people highlight the neglect of our constituencies by the politicians, but it appears these cries do not seem to be relevant anymore until that politician is seeking re-election.

Governments are placed in position for five years, and in those years their integrity to uphold what they say they are going to do for the electorate must become evident. We the people need to get familiar with the intentions of our politicians: is it about us as a country or is it about becoming a wealthy official? We the people need to know and see a declaration of their assets and full disclosure of who they are, for when we go to the polls and elect we are signing on to everything that politician stands for – known and unknown. Transparency for the people erases any form of doubt we may have about those who represent us.

The power of the vote appears meaningless; for we just switch between government and opposition, but is that really voting for change? They appear to be different when campaigning for the vote but when they are in office they mirror each other. Many see their politicians getting wealthy while they themselves remain poor, jobs being given out based on nepotism instead of being based on merit, and have to sit and watch it because legislation says “five years”.

A change of this legislation must come. Full power means when the elected fail us, we get the opportunity to recall them before the five years.  We get to put someone else in their post who understands that it is we the people who have the say on how we want to be govern – and that is with full transparency and integrity of character. If you say this is what you will do for the people, then let your word be your bond.

Photo credit: wuestenigel Calendar Closeup with Pencil and Tab via photopin (license)
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About me:  Adjust the energy, mind, and focus; this moral stance governs my life. It speaks to a character that is always positioned to be upright, fair and live in harmony with myself first, and then let that frequency vibrate out to the connections I make on the planet. Aim to do no harm and always be enshrouded with light and surrounded by intellectually gifted individuals. Leave a positive aura in the Universe and always reach for the Sun.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/
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