Sat | Jan 25, 2020

Direct election of prime minister

Published:Saturday | December 14, 2019 | 12:24 AM
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson

THE EDITOR, Madam:

As Boris Johnson won the election in the United Kingdom, it made me think of the need for Jamaica to elect its prime minister directly. I expected him to win because the narrative he told was optimistic and urgent.

The election showed me how the Westminster system encourages people to vote for party rather than the best suited candidate. The leader of government in this system is chosen by the party, not the people in general. It is no wonder that prime ministers in this system make decisions that is best for the party.

The prime minister in the Westminster system can decide who becomes a minister of government, not the people. Remember he was elected as an area representative but the support of the majority of area representative made him prime minister. The most powerful person in ­government was not chosen by the people but chosen by his political party. Does this means he answers to his party not the people? So long as he serves his area and not the nation, he can remain prime minister since he was elected by a small portion of the populace.

There are other changes, like an elected Senate, that will enhance Jamaica’s democracy but I believe that gradual change will be wise. Let’s start by the people electing the prime minister, leader of the country, not his political party.

BRIAN ELLIS PLUMMER