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Between These Lines ….“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” ― Winston S. Churchill

Posted: Sunday, January 22, 2017. 6:48 p.m. CST.
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By Glenn Tillett:  Although I publicly advocated and voted for an “elected Senate” in the February 2008 referendum, I do not support Belize having a fully elected upper chamber in our bi-cameral legislature.For the record I supported the Musa administration expansion of the Senate to include social partner representatives, and the Barrow administration proposed, and still pending further enlargement to include a “13th Senator”.

I would prefer that the political parties be accorded seats based on proportional representation as determined by the results of the general election, but also as determined by the overall number of votes, rather than by the number of constituencies won.

Perhaps I lean that way because I have more faith in raw democracy than in “electoral college-styled” systems.

Instinctually I think the political parties should have seven seats, perhaps loosely representing the districts and the cayes but I’m open to suggestions. I do think though, that the majority party in the House of Representatives, the government, should have the majority of the seats.

I would also prefer that the President retains a casting vote, in the event there is ever a tie.

The continued grousing from the UDP at the election of Senator Osmany Salas and their slow-walking of his seating is in a word shameful. They need to stop. It is not so much silly as downright dangerous.

The “churches” need to meet in conclave and re-examine their senatorial selection process. Religion and politics is a potentially volatile mix but I do not agree, barring a profound change to the system of representation, that the religious community should not be in the Senate.

We, and they, should be able to learn the lessons from the contretemps that engendered the selection of Senator Ashley Rocke who clearly, manifestly and demonstrably lacks the support of the overwhelming majority of the religious denomination population.

The politicians now need to further institutionalize the process and procedure for the selection of civil society nomination of candidates for senatorial representatives and ensure that the selection process is fair, if not transparently democratic.

Despite my misgivings about Godwin Hulse’s performance as a minister in cabinet, I think he was an excellent senator. I also think that Mark Lizarraga has been exemplary, and I further think their performance which is guided by a system that demands they MUST consult and be guided by the community they were chosen from to represent, is the critical ingredient there.

Somehow consultation MUST be enshrined in the process for all representatives at all levels of the legislature.

It may seem whimsical to you at first glance and I beg of your indulgence. Way back in 1998 I suggested that it be mandatory that legislators must take public transportation when attending meetings.

In fact I had also suggested that all representatives HAD to meet with any and all interested members of their constituencies in public before attending House meetings, and solicit their views and opinions on the issues to be discussed and debated.

I still wish they had to do just that. Meaningful participation, my fellow citizens, the true watchword of democracy ….

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

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