REFERENDUM

REFERENDUM

It might be common knowledge of the challenges faced with the attempts at Constitutional reform here in Grenada. The dates for the actual voting has been moved on more than one occasion and one is frightful that even if a date is finally settled on, the turn will be very disappointing, since the majority of eligible voters are not familiar with the issues at hand.

The proposed changes to the Constitution are legitimate; however there remains the expected political wrangling with each opposing side seeking to establish its position, seemingly, without much regard for what would be in the best interest of The People.

To give the people more of a voice, to make the democratic process completely all-inclusive, one would like to suggest an extension of sorts, an additional component to the once-every-five-years general elections.

During every general elections there should be between 5-10 referendum items on which the voting public would be given the opportunity to make very clear and concise decisions.

Apart from giving the general elections more meaning (not spending hours in line just to elect another Parliamentary Representative) the people will be empowered to have a say in how the country is run presently and decide on some very serious issues with long-term implications.

The Parliamentary Representatives cannot be entrusted to make all the decisions for a population with varying views and opinions and some of the issues that have to be dealt with should be done so with direct input from the general adult population.

So if a politician is against gambling it is well within his right to express those sentiments, but he cannot hold an adult population to those same ideals. A referendum vote will best determine Grenada’s direction on gambling.

Likewise issues related to marijuana use (medicinal, recreational, and religious) can and should be based on the views of Grenadians, views that can be encapsulated in a referendum vote. Same-sex marriage, the naming of the new athletic stadium, the sale/relocation of Camerhogne Park  are all issues that should have national input, where the voice (or vote as it were) would and can be the only and final determining factor.

The selection of the issues to be voted on during any particular election cycle will be determined by an Electoral College – a group of eminently qualified Residents of Grenada who can, without political bias, present a dozen or so issues that the general public is sufficiently aware of and concerned enough about to want to have a say on – to vote on given the chance.  One critical aspect of the referendum initiative will have to be the avoidance of campaigning or any other form of influencing the general public by any particular interest group. The decision making should be based on the values and opinions of the voting public.

Too many issues that affect the lives of Grenadians are presented in a manner where there cannot be a public and informed discourse and even when there is a proper debate the voices of the majority are still not heeded. A referendum, as part of the general election cycle, will provide unequivocal access to the opinions of the majority to determine the direction of Grenada on some very critical issues.

Nothing says freedom and democracy as ‘One Man, One Vote’ and when all those votes are added up there can be no disputing the wishes of The People.

 

Dexter Mitchell

 

 

 

 

 

 

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