In just two years, maybe sooner, Saint Lucians will confront another general election that lacks the quality control and screening many other electorates take for granted—including transparency and a useful mechanism for choosing candidates.
Few of us know the backgrounds of the men and women we are required to place in parliament as our representatives—until they’ve been elected and in a position to scare media and other late-in-the-day complainants. Hopefully, experience and the present economic hardships will have created a less gullible electorate by the time we enter the silly season.
As naive as it may sound, the local politician’s greatest asset is his ability to sway voters with liquor and false promises. Con men also share these gifts. Our gullibility gets in the way of important questions about the candidate’s character, his or her background, their demonstrated interest in the people’s welfare, their work record. We swallow whatever is served from their political pulpits. Even the most educated among us fall victim to the same old election tricks.
Getting on the cards of national elections requires only that the candidate is a citizen of Saint Lucia and can afford the entrance fee of $250. It matters not if the candidate has a criminal past or unresolved allegations attached to his name. The press has seldom seen the need to poke behind the scenes on behalf of the ignorant voter.
Given the high cost paid by Saint Lucians for electing dubious characters over the years, new election laws should be enacted in the nation’s interest. The prime minister recently alluded to that, but talk, quite obviously, is cheap. Saint Lucians must learn, before the next elections, that God helps only those who help themselves. If we refuse to demand adjustments, how can we not be deserving of the disaster that passes for elections here every five years—and also parliamentary intercourse, whether or not lubricated by cocktails at breakfast time?
We owe it to our children to have in the House true representatives of the good people of this country. So far, mainly the worst among us have been elected to office. Such recklessness, like the corruption about which we talk incessantly, must end. And the sooner the better!