WRONG_WOEID WRONG_WOEID

LOW EARTH ORBIT – Behind the Boundaries III



Behind the Boundaries As Yours Truly continues this astral safari across the strange political landscape that lies behind the report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission, new players have come on the scene.

Our beleaguered prime minister has moved (relatively) swiftly to plug the gap in the Senate created by the abrupt termination of two of the rebellious appointees who sent the CIP Bill back to the Lower House. Two warm bodies have been hustled into the Senate – just in the nick of time to vote the CIP Bill into law. Rest assured: the CIP Bill will pass, as it has always been destined to pass – by any means necessary.



There will be some who will ask what the PM’s problems with the CIP Bill have to do with electoral boundaries, but consider: both items fall under the portfolio of the prime minister; both are critical to the United Progressive Party continuing in office; all matters relating to the management of elections fall under the prime minister; the UPP is convinced that its only path to survival is through astute management of the electoral process; general elections are exactly a year away; in this year we shall see complete re-registration of voters.

It is heartrending to watch through my double-bubble telescope as the tragic scene unfolds before my eyes. And I wonder, as I watch, how the eager politicians who were swept into power on a wave of electoral reform forced on a reluctant government, could now be so committed to a rush of electoral reform forced on a reluctant people.

Yet, that is exactly what the report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission represents: a decision by a cornered government to force a “reform” of its own determination onto a body politic that has never been brought on board with the process.

The UPP government has pledged as a basic tenet to put “people first” and has been careful to hold public consultations on practically every issue of major public concern. It is fair to say that the ruling party has held public consultations on every issue of major public concern throughout its time in office thus far. In fact, the government’s readiness to hold “public consultations” at the drop of a hat has become such a feature of life in our twin-island state that people by and large do not bother to attend the tightly-controlled events any more.

In this regard, I call to witness the pathetic turnout for the recent consultations on the revised Antigua Labour Code. I understand from National Labour Board chair Pedro Corbin that not even the unions turned up … but that part is another story. Social Security Board chair Everett Christian has called further consultations on the stalled reform process for Wednesday March 20 at 2:00pm. Yours Truly will make every effort to on the scene: I want to see this one for myself.

The point, dearly beloved, is that the United Progressive Party: that committed, patriotic band of heroes who set out to rescue our tortured twin-island paradise from decades of misgovernment by a secretive, manipulative bunch of political miscreants, has been careful throughout its time in office to hold public consultations on all manner of matters, small as well as large.
The UPP government has indeed been ever ready to consult with the people – except when it came to the most complete, thoroughgoing, root-and-branch re-drawing of constituency boundaries in Antigua & Barbuda since the 17 constituencies were put on the map.
Why?

Why has the ruling party been so very careful to avoid any formal public consultation with the body politic in advance of determining the form and extent of changes to be made to the constituency map of Antigua & Barbuda?

At no time was the question formally put to the test of open discussion by a public convocation, as have so many other crucial issues. Instead, a slick public relations shuffle was deployed to enable the government to claim that the public generally supported the idea of “reform”. As well they might: the voters of this country originally elected the UPP in 2004 to pursue electoral reform … among other forgotten things, like “justice”.

Why was the extent of public education on so crucial an issue limited to comments by a pet political scientist?

Linley Winter, renowned head of the CASURO polling organization, made frequent forays into the media to extol the benefits of having roughly equal numbers of voters in constituencies (a no-brainer: makes basic sense). That was it: all of it.

Once Linley Winter had delivered his irrefutable opinion, the way was clear for the ruling party to charge into parliament and ram through legislation instructing the Electoral Boundaries Commission to re-draw the nation’s constituency map to create constituencies with a roughly equal number of voters, since suggested to be around 3000 or so apiece.
After that, Clarence Crump, Clovis Ralph, James Sebastian, James Fuller, and the Devil got into the details.



And so here we are on the day after the High Court hearing on the injunction brought by two opposition MPs: one whose constituency has been dismembered, and another whose seat has been wiped off the map. Political analysts suggest that ABLP leader emeritus Lester Bird has actually been made stronger in a truncated constituency. The ABLP is in a state of advanced tizzick over the whole affair.

The ruling party has managed to give reasonable observers the clear impression that it is attempting to manipulate the electoral boundaries in its own interest. It has done so by publicly admitting that in the absence of up-to-date census figures, the EBC was forced to rely for its decisions on voting patterns in previous elections. That admission alone should deal a deathblow to a flawed process.

So what lies behind the boundaries? What lies behind the boundaries affair is a UPP power grab, pure and simple. Unable to secure its own future on a basis of public trust, the ruling party is now attempting to found its own thousand-year Reich by re-drawing the parliamentary map in its own favour … all in the name of “democracy” as defined by an anti-democratic mentality. After all, the despised ALP used to do that sort of thing, so …

In Antigua & Barbuda’s parliament the “ayes” may have it … but the debate both inside and outside the chamber promises to be very long and very hot indeed.


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15 Comments In This Article   

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Linley

#15 Colin » 2013-03-20 10:57

Just in case you check back on this

Sorry If I implied the reference to voting patterns came in the report - Clarence Crump in his public utterances made the connection.
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Colin

behind the boundaries III

#14 linley winter » 2013-03-20 01:36

I downloaded the injunction and accompanying report from the Constituencies Boundaries Commission. Paragraphs 18 to 20 speak of using registers of electors not voting patterns. I never saw the term voting patterns or even voter turn out in the downloaded report.

More public consultations were needed despite what the law states. People who are more enlightened and understand the value of public education and confidence in these exercises should have been appointed. I am also guided by the constitution. It says that the CBC must function independently. So it should take the lead in consultations. This is where the quality of the CBC's personnel becomes key to the public having confidence in its work.

The number of constituencies and their boundaries lie are solely for the CBC to propose to the legislature. The statute added other for the CBC to consider. But the statute can be even tighter in its guidance. The Census Act must be amended for enumerations to be done specifically within constituencies as well. This will make it easier to use total resident population as the basis to determine constituencies' demographic sizes given the guidance Act.
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linley winter

Lord Have Mercy

#13 Colin » 2013-03-19 20:25

Bah! Humbug!
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Colin

Lord Have Mercy

#12 tenman » 2013-03-19 19:40

Lord Have Mercy, you are a real character. Needed your humor today, thanks

..
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tenman

amen

#11 Cool Ruler » 2013-03-19 19:03

Lord Have Mercy, to that I say amen!
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Cool Ruler

@ colin: Elementary Logic 101

#10 Lord Have Mercy » 2013-03-19 18:25

In case you did not realize, let me show you what you are saying to the readers and bloggers on Caribarena.

Quote:
Writing insightful, well-researched articles is hard work and time consuming - if you want indepth analysis on this matter from me you need to raise the ante.
The implication of your statement is that until you are adequately remunerated all we can expect from you as a professional journalist, are these articles off the top of your head that read like protracted text messages.

I think John French II put it best, when he said in a post that sampson continues to write about things of which he knows not.

The readers and bloggers demend that you:
Raise the standard! Raise it boldly!
Answer now to duty's call
To the service of thy country,
Sparing nothing, giving all;
Gird your loins and join the battle
'Gainst fear, hate and poverty,
Each endeavouring, all achieving,
Live in peace where man is free.
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Lord Have Mercy

RE: LOW EARTH ORBIT – Behind the Boundaries III



#9 tenman » 2013-03-19 17:41

Sampson you and Jimmy hit the nail on its proverbial head: How can you demand registration, claim the voters list is flawed, and then use it to redraw boundaries? The commission will have to prove why the census was not used and the red-herring about it not using constituencies, needs to be treated for the ignorance it is. They could have also used the aerial maps of houses, in doing their job. Their reasoning shows either laziness or a willingness to gerrymander

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tenman

Opinions

#8 JD » 2013-03-19 14:28

I don't think you can argue with an 'opinion piece' really, as that's exactly what it is (in reference to earlier comments on this)...

Always interesting and insightful to read, Mr Sampson.
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JD

Lord Have Mercy Pon Me ...

#7 Colin » 2013-03-19 12:46

Your comment 10:55 neatly misse**, as did your first.
First of all you make no reference to the real burden of my article,but offer up a series of irrelevant demands.
Writing insightful, well-researched articles is hard work and time consuming - if you want indepth analysis on this matter from me you need to raise the ante.
I am angered by your transparent attempt to deflect telling truths by casting aspersions on the writer.
Typical anti-democratic ploy - shoot the messenger ... quick!
And as I said: when you do that ... you come off like a total lunatic.
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Colin

@ Colin: Sticks and Stones

#6 Lord have mercy » 2013-03-19 10:55

My skin is very thick, so I am going to transcend the "low blow" (total lunatic comment) and move on to the real issue. Your response indicates that because the questions I proffered are issues for a court to decide you, as a professional journalist are somehow precluded from presenting a well reasoned opinion with respect to those issues.

For your informations, as a matter of protocol, police officers do not generally make comments on details of an ongoing investigation. Similarly, as a matter of legal ethics, the lawyers directly involved in a case do not comment on the legal issues of a pending case. But the same does not hold true for journalists. For example, legal journalists like Nancy Grace and law professors like Alan Dershowitz routinely provide commentary and analysis on ongoing legal disputes in US media.

What is "unreal" are your trifling justifications for what basically amounts to "lazy journalism".
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Lord have mercy

RE: LOW EARTH ORBIT – Behind the Boundaries III



#5 Just saying » 2013-03-19 10:40

Thanks for addressing Lord Have Mercy as he seems to have a huge axe to grind...... I am careful how I label people though.....
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Just saying

Lord Have Mercy indeed

#4 Colin » 2013-03-19 08:52

You come off like a total lunatic - sorry to say.
Those questions you pose are for the court to decide - wait for it.
If you are looking for an in-depth research piece with supporting materials - in essence a scholarly paper - ante up & quote me an acceptable figure.
In the meantime do not attempt to obfuscate the issue by making unreasonable demands - this is more politics than law - OK?
Since when does the peoples business follow logical rules?
This is Antigua & Barbuda ... Get unreal!
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Colin

Water Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink

#3 Lord Have Mercy » 2013-03-19 08:26

More that one thousand words about a court matter that has been temporarily injoined pending a hearing on the merits, but not one word about the legal merits of the case.

The readers would like to know what are the constitutional considerations involved?

What is the legal standards that must be addressed?

How are these kinds of cases usually dealt with?

In statements that carefully avoid legal analisis, GB is basically saying that this is an easy win for his dream team of lawyers who can claim two distinct preliminary victories thus far on the road towards final victory on the merits.

Notwithstanding ABLPs pronuouncements of future victory, this article makes no attempt to comment on the legal likelihood that ABLP will in fact prevail. Please contact Mr Rawlston Pompey to help you to provide readers with legal context to this court matter of extreme social and political importance.
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Lord Have Mercy

@ Sampson

#2 Jackie Spence » 2013-03-19 08:04

Looking at your cartoon, it looks like Fuller has put on some weight!
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Jackie Spence

@ Sampson

#1 Jimmy » 2013-03-19 08:03

Very well presented! Using past voter's lists to redraw the constituencies is flawed, since there will be a new re-registration, which - because of the new requirements - could take thousands of non-citizens off the existing list. This in turn will not be equal for all constituencies. In other words, even if the boundaries are drawn now to 3000 voters each (using the old list). The re-registration could see 1000 come off in one constituency and 50 come off in another.
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Jimmy

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Mr. Colin Sampson

 Mr. Colin Sampson is a Journalist and the host of "The Colin Sampson Show" on Caribantigua TV 

 

 

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