Votes Have Been Bought And Sold On Barbados Since Forever
Even if we haven’t personally participated in selling our vote, most of us on this island have heard the election-time stories.
– Meet the man with the blue truck behind the certain shop or just off the roundabout. Give your name, go to vote and then say hello to a certain man sitting outside. Shake hands around back with another man. Be careful you don’t drop anything after you shake hands!
– A group of fisherfolk go together to vote, only to run into another group of their friends meeting the same fellow outside. Embarrassed smiles and winks all around.
– Vote and give a nod to certain gentleman = nice Christmas basket delivered that year. No nod = no Christmas basket. Meet another gentleman and be seen… maybe somebody comes and has a little chat with you in a few days.
… and on and on and on.
Such things have been a tradition going back I don’t know how long. Everyone has a story or two about election time.
How Do We Stop This, Folks?
They bribe us legally with our own money during the term and especially just before the election is announced. A nice project for this village. A new community center for that parish. A grant of some paint for a church, a road leveled out…
That’s politics. But what we are talking about is something else… Something that undermines democracy, and makes a citizen less than a citizen. Something that makes a man less than a man.
Such happenings have not been restricted to the governing party.
How do we stop it this time?
Any ideas? Shout Them Out!
Future article: Looking At The Voting Process.
Send us your experiences and your ideas. We must take back the democratic process. Even if we trap only a few the next time around, we will start to safeguard the future.
Now where did I put that video camera and hidden tape recorder?