BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AFTER contemplating for sometime on what next to write for public consumption and analysis, I have decided to share my views on Politicians and Politricksters, especially within the Caribbean region.
Politics, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “the practice or study of the art and science of forming, directing, and administrating states and other political units”. It defines Politician as “a person who is experienced or skilled in the art or science of politics, government, or administration”.
But what about Politrickster?
In local parlance, Politrickster is defined as “a devious or dishonest politician who does not keep his/her promises”.
The major role of politicians is to represent the people. When people vote to have a particular party in government, they expect good governance, which speaks to the proper utilisation of the country’s resources for its citizens that will ensures sustainable development.
It is Mohit Bhattacharya (2013) who posited that good governance needs to be discussed beyond the World Bank and other funding agencies have been representing this. He said: “A more creative approach would be to treat the issues as new opportunities to have a fresh look at state-civil society relationships in today’s complex world of governance.”
Listed below are eight characteristics of Good Governance posited by Bhattacharya:
The participation of citizens in the process of governance is the key characteristics of good governance. Participation as an important step for mobilizing people to participate in the decision-making process. It can be direct or indirect but Participation needs to be informed and organized. The aims and objectives of the political rights would be fulfilled by the greater participation of the people in the society. The legal framework represents the rule of law which ensures impartiality in terms of participation in the decision-making process of governance.
2. Rule of Law
Another important characteristic of good governance is rule of law. It needs a fair legal framework to establish rule of law in society. Rule of law ensures impartiality which helps to protect human rights, particularly who is most marginal in society. The Independent judiciary system, its impartial nature, and the incorruptible police force are the key element to ensure rule of law.
Governance needs transparency for the fair delivery of services to the citizens. It ensures a balance between policymaking and its enforcement following proper rules and regulations. It enables the citizen to access governmental information regarding various policies and their implementation freely. Proper media should be established for an easy understanding of this information.
Responsiveness has a basic necessity of the administration which can motivate the interrelationships between administration and people. It requires sufficient services to the people within a specific time.
5. Consensus Oriented
Governance depends on the consensus of people in society to make it good. It could fulfill the interest of the people as well as the community. It helped to achieve the long-term perspective of human development. And it originated from the social culture and institutional behaviors of the particular society.
6. Equity and Inclusiveness
An equitable just society must be established for ensuring good governance. Society’s well being depends on how its members feel about it. It requires all its members feel that they have a stake in it and they are not excluded from the mainstream in the governance.
7. Effectiveness and Efficiency
Effectiveness and efficiency ensure the outcomes of the institutions to meet the needs of society. Proper utilization of society’s resources for the establishment of sustainable development is the key to good governance. It also ensures the sustainable use of natural resources for the protection of the environment.
Accountability is one of the most important characteristics of good governance. Good governance depends on how accountable Governmental as well as private sectors and civil society organization to their people and its institutional stakeholders. Without transparency and rule of law, accountability cannot be established.
Ideally, these characteristics, if practiced by all sitting ministers of any given party, it will definitely be impossible for the opposition to get them out of office.
But, is this form of governance being practiced in every country within the Caribbean region? The answer is surely NO! NO, because we have seen many a government come and go because of failure in adhering to these characteristics.
On the one hand, during election seasons, many of them will visit your homes dressed in angelic garments and, with tongues laced with the slime from ochroes, promise you the moon and the stars if support is given to their party. Many of those promises will also be boldly written in their manifestos.
While driving, they would stop their vehicles and cajole you to vote for them. But when they get into office and see you while driving in their posh vehicles, they will accelerate and turn their heads in the opposite direction, pretending they did not see you, because those promises were already forgotten.
Also, after being victorious, self-aggrandizement is the order of the day. They intend to fill their pockets before the end of their first trm in office. They will be very selective in who to help! Family, close friends and associates will benefit as well as the wealthy who had financially supported the party. And not to forget that they will also be selective in awarding contracts that are oftentimes not advertised or went through the tender board process. If contracts went through the tender board process, their friends or associates would have been told how much to bid and something would be passed under the table.
They are also known for not providing advertisements to those media outlets that were either not in support of their party or were outspoken in their reportage.
Those are the politicians categorised as Politricksters.
On the other hand, there are politicians who work assidiously for the benefit of the people. But they are few in numbers. Though they may not practice all of the recommended characteristics of good governance, most would be adhered to.
However, many Politicians and all Politricksters see themselves as lords and masters and the people as serfs. They are the highest paid among those classified as Civil Servants and Public Servants. A lot of power is vested in them. They are privilaged individuals with numerous benefits. But it is the taxpayer who provides their salary and allowances.
Therefore, it is time for the people to let the Politicians and Politricksters know that they were elected to serve in the best interest of the nation, and that they are the people’s servant.
The people must also remind them, through protests and non-violent means, that it was their votes that put them into office and it is the same way they can get them out.
That is the only way a nation will see the Government adhering to the eight recommended Characteristics of Good Governance.
EDITOR'S NOTE: First published by SKN News Source