Thu | Mar 30, 2023

Reduce seats, improve representation

Published:Monday | March 15, 2010 | 12:00 AM


I ENDORSE your editorial of March 14, 'Democracy was offended'. It not only supports Everald Warming-ton's rights in Parliament, but also upholds the view that there should be fewer, not more seats in the House of Representatives. When services to the public are being reduced and we are aiming to cut the number of government workers, it seems so unreasonable that taxpayers should be asked to employ more politicians to make laws and apportion scarce resources.

The formula used to determine the ratio of members of parliament (MP) to voters does not in fact make any difference in the amount of influence wielded by the individual MP. Nor does it affect the quality of performance by the Government as a whole. For instance, Mr Warmington represents more people in South West St Catherine than those in North East and North Central St Andrew combined. Yet, his opinion counts for less.

In our system of governance, when it comes to decision making, the party position is what prevails, not the number of electors being represented. So, it is just as well simply to divide the population as equitably as possible between the 60 constituencies. If the even number presents a problem, then go to 59 or 57. Fewer seats will mean an immediate reduction in the cost of the bureaucracy and a commensurate increase of funds available for public works.

It is interesting to note that in England the number of representatives in the House of Commons is 646 - not only an even number, but an average of over 50,000 electors per constituency. In this day and age of swift communication and ready contact, it cannot be all that difficult for Jamaican members of parliament to keep in touch with their constituents.

I am, etc.,


Kingston 8