Democracy and the diaspora vote

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Dear Sir:

BASSETERRE, St Kitts – Permit me to reiterate briefly on the undoing conversation if we can call it such, as it pertains to democracy and the diaspora vote.

A democracy is a government-run by the people with a say (or vote) in how the government is run. This is different from a monarchy or dictatorship where one person (the king or dictator) has all the power.

Our Caribbean democracy is representative democracy whereby the people elect representatives to run the government. Free elections in true democracies conduct free and fair elections where all citizens are allowed to vote how they want.

The majority rule with individual rights in a democracy, but the rights of the individual are protected. While the majority may make the decisions, each individual has certain rights such as free speech, freedom of religion, and protection under the law.

And so, the citizens of a democracy must participate for it to work. They must understand the issues and there should be no restrictions on race, gender, wealth or geographical hindrances as is being discussed in Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis.

In the interest of clarity or purpose, NextGen St Kitts and Nevis Labour Party opposition leader Dr Denzil Douglas explained previously.

“Our constitution gives right of voting to the diaspora and disenfranchising them from doing so will be a step backward. For us, our overseas nationals are not just voters; they are an essential part of the citizenry and body politic of St Kitts and Nevis.

“We need our diaspora. We need their resources, their talent, their contacts, their ideas, their creativity, and their technology to contribute to making our vision a success and to make our communities and our nation forward.  In the new NextGen economy, they are a critical market including networkers, investors, co-creators, and promoters.

“They are essential to the very viability of our nation to survive and thrive in the present competitive global environment. This is why we are saying that any decision aimed at rationalizing the ability of our overseas nationals to participate in the political process and vote here in St Kitts and Nevis should be left to a referendum.

“This is the way it should be if we say that we are committed to the principles of democracy and fairness and if we are serious about engaging our diaspora.”

So, despite the issues of democracy, it has proven to be one of the fairest and most efficient forms of modern government enjoying freedoms, protections, and a higher standard of living. Let’s not confine our democracy, freedoms and liberty to volcanic rocks that daily, are constrained by the elements of nature.

Arianna Phillips

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