Mon | Jul 23, 2018

Westminster system not suited to Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | February 21, 2018 | 12:00 AM


I was recently listening to an interview on the radio and it has reinforced my opinion that we would do a lot better if we adopted the Republican governance model (like the USA) over the Westminster that we currently have.

Pros to Republican model:

1. President is directly elected by the people and not subject to the favour of the members of the majority party in House of Representatives.

2. Elected members are solely the people's representatives and legislators.

3. The Cabinet is recruited from the best of the best in the nation. Furthermore, they are can hold the bureaucrats and public servants accountable as they not politicians and do not depend on them to be reappointed, as that is a presidential privilege.

4. Fifty per cent of the House of Representatives is elected every two to three years, which keeps the population actively involved in the political process.

Cons of Republican model:

1. Requires a separate election for president, so there is that additional cost, but if elections were government-issued, it would not be an issue and accrued for in the national Budget over four to five years, depending on term.

The Westminster system is particularly inappropriate for a small country because it always results in a majority of the elected representatives of the ruling party being occupied with ministerial positions.

Furthermore, most good politicians are not effective administrators. Plus, being an MP and a minister will result in politics always winning over accountability within the ministry and public sector.

We could also take this opportunity to effect other electoral changes like:

• Fixed election dates.

• Government funding of elections.

• Mandatory reporting on private contributions.

• Caps on electoral spending.