SOUTH FLORIDA – Local government elections in both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago held on Monday, November 28th and had almost exactly the same outcome.
In both countries, independent of Britain, at least politically, since 1962, both major political parties can claim some variation of victory because the number of parish councils won was close in number.
What is most significant in both elections is the apparent lack of interest on the part of voters.
In the situation in Trinidad and Tobago the voter turnout was 17 percent and also under 20 percent in Jamaica.
Voter apathy is one possibility but there is another troubling development which needs to be thoroughly researched.
In the Jamaican political theatre, not just anecdotal, but researched data shows that a segment of the voter total say they would prefer to be paid for their vote.
I am suspecting that with so many similarities between the two countries, at least in some respects, this might also be part of the reason for the low turnout in Trinidad and Tobago.
What that suggests, as if that was the only reason, is that there needs to be a critical and microscopic examination of this aspect of governance in both countries.
After a half a century of independence in both countries, electoral reform is not only overdue but it might be essential to the political health of countries where one fifth of the population is essentially making decisions for the rest of the people.
Voice your opinion on the “Open Line” with Winston Barnes daily on WAVS 1170AM or listen on-line.