Universal Suffrage - The Elitist Hoodwinkers


Attaining Independence on November 1st 1981, the nation of Antigua and Barbuda is now on the threshold of celebrating its “...32nd Anniversary of Independence.”

Interestingly, if not coincidentally, this year’s Independence theme speaks, somewhat, strangely to “...Antigua and Barbuda; ...One Family Celebrating with Pride Vision and Integrity.”Expediently, there were those calling for “...national healing, peace and unity,” yet advocating turmoil and war. Then there were those who have created environments conducive only to strife; while others seek to provoke and promote enmity.”




There was no doubt that many curious citizens, have been placed in a position to take issue with “...Reform of the Electoral System” that seemed mired in controversy. This was particularly so, as it affects “...Voters Re-Registration” that appeared to have provoked “...serious misgivings in both nationals and Commonwealth -CARICOM/OECS citizens.” Then for all intents and purposes, there were others preaching divisiveness, while inciting animosity among the people. Still there were those practicing discrimination, while the wrath of victimization and acrimony were brought to bear on those seen as adversaries. These attitudes and behaviors speak only to that which might be described by one word “...Hypocrisy.”




Founded upon, and to be administered on the “...Principles of Democracy,” administrators appeared to have given the citizenry reasons to be circumspect with deviations that appeared to be running counter to those principles. In a democracy, such principles allow for “...Free and Fair elections and “...Universal Adult Suffrage” for eligible voters. Thus, when people speak to the concept “...Universal Adult Suffrage,” they are in fact speaking to the “...Right to vote in constitutionally due elections.” Invariably, citizens circumspection was viewed from the perspective of “...Integrity in Public Life; ...Transparency and ...Accountability” in government’s internal and external “...Business Transactions and Expenditure.” These were now seen to be compounded by “...an Electoral System” and actions of a Commission and controversial Chairmanship.”




This concept speaks to two necessary components; (i) “...The right to vote; and (ii) ...Opportunities to vote.” In the former, the “...Right to vote ignores the frequency that an incumbent government consults with the people.” The latter might be based on discriminatory practices. For instance, research showed that in “...1918 British policy-makers” provided for “...Males-Only Voters.” The historical sources appeared to have omitted facts necessitating and/or prompted the change, however, in 1928, Women were allowed the Opportunity to vote.” Then after the United Nations declared protocols in 1948 guaranteeing “...Fundamental Rights of the Individual,” Britain enacted the “...Representation of the People Act 1948. Three years later-1951 “...Universal Suffrage was introduced in Antigua and Barbuda” [Wikipedia]. On the attainment of full sovereignty, the nation and people of Antigua and Barbuda had not only inherited a “...Jurisprudential Legacy, but also an Electoral System that allows for Adult Suffrage.”




Research showed that “...New Zealand was the first country in the world that had recognized “...Universal Adult Suffrage” [1893]. Thus, in 1948, Britain was in fact catching up to France that had recognized the right to vote [1945]; (ii) ...Italy [1946] and Belgium [1948]. Interestingly, people within the twin-island nation went to the polls for the first time in 1951.The European nations were followed by Switzerland [1971]. It was the principle that where “...Universal Adult Suffrage” existed, the right to vote was NOT to be restricted by “...Race; ...Sex; ...Belief; ...Wealth or Social status” [Wikipedia]. The nation, then under Colonial rule, first recognized this concept in elections held under British supervision in 1951” [Wikipedia].




An important tenet in the nation’s democracy has been the “...Right to Vote-Enfranchisement.” Such right was articulated in Article 21 of the UN Declaration. This has formed the basis for a” ...well-formed citizen’s belief” in the principles that allow for the eligibility of people to be registered as electors. While the right to exercise an electoral franchise is universally recognized, research showed that several nations have made two exceptions for “...Disenfranchisement.” These include (i) ...People on penal servitude and (ii) Electors not ...Residing in constituency.” In other words, persons incarcerated for “...crimes and people “...not residing in the particular constituency.”




Those elections had cleared the way for both males and females to exercise a franchise and the right as individuals, and collectively, (i) ...as Representatives of the people and (ii) ...to be part of the government. This may be seen from the enactment called “...The Representation of the People Act.” If it were not so, Education Minister Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro, may not have enjoyed (i) “...the right to vote; and (ii) ...the right to contest elections” [2004/2009]. Undoubtedly, likened to the other “...Members of the House of Representatives,” it was the “...popular votes of electors” that had been the deciding factor, allowing them to have “...realized their dreams; ...hopes and ...aspirations.” In support of these irrefutable truths, one needs only to look at the “...United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, that speaks to two fundamental rights. Article 21 (i) states “...Everyone has the right to take part in the government (i) ...either directly or (ii) ...through freely chosen representatives” [UNDHR]. 




Further extending the right, Article 21 (3) states “...The Will of the People” shall be the basis of the authority of government; ...This will, shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be “...Universal and equal Suffrage” and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedure” [UNDHR: Article 21]. In short, the Declaration seeks to ensure that the people of a nation be afforded opportunities, either to “...run directly for electoral office” or through a “...selection process, elect representatives through the electoral system that shall be seen or manifestly appear to be “...Free and Fair.” These elections are constitutionally due, and shall be conducted through “...Electoral Polls every five years.” Based upon the “...five-year duration for governance,” the electoral exercises may be held before the current term ends, and before the end of the month of March of the ensuing year. That WILL dictate that those elected to public office, through foresight and creativity, sound economic planning, shall administer “...Public Affairs” in ensuring the well-being of the people and nation.”




After a brief period of colonization by Spain, following the adventures of Christopher Columbus in 1493, Antigua and Barbuda had been under “...British Dominion” for over four hundred years.” Firstly it was granted” ...Associated Statehood in 1967, and secondly, attaining Independence on November 1, 1981.” The nation, with an area of 108 and 62 square miles respectively, has a population of an estimated 80, 000 peace-loving, law abiding and well-informed people. Even with minority groups, the people live together in peace and unity. The predominantly black population of African descent, has resulted from the notorious “...Atlantic Slave Trade.” Forced to toil under dreadful and/or sub-human conditions, through the “...spilling of blood, sweat and tears,” the SLAVES were manipulated in the production of, inter alia, “...crops of sugar and cotton for Britain.”




Irrespective of economic woes, on November 1st 2013, there will be national celebrations; ...the people who “...Pride” themselves of their origin; ...VISUALIZING” and appreciating from whence they came; ...the progress they have made, may still feel within themselves that their “...Independence as a nation in determining its destiny, has not been fully appreciated by people internationally recognized as the “...Rich and Famous.” More importantly, the population may feel dissatisfied that their ‘RIGHT’ to EXPLOIT and/or CAPITALIZED on their “...Marine Resources” and to enjoy derivative benefits,” have been affected by “...International Lobbyists” adverse to the nation’s economic interest. Thus, while the nation struggles with huge “...Balance of Payment Deficit,” Special interest groups were advancing their causes and seeking to get into “...Halls for Famous People.” Thus, they were lobbying to grace those Halls with their presence for prestigious awards at the expense of the nation and its indigent people. Careful reading of the contents in the following paragraphs, may explain, beyond a shadow of doubt, where special interest lies.




Now offspring of the colonizers and/or Slave masters, were dictating “...Governmental Policies.” For instance, internet blogging revealed “...The Antigua Barbuda Independent Tourism Promotion Corp (ABITPC) launched an online petition on October 10, 2013 to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda calling for a ‘LAW’ to be ‘PASSED’ to ban captivity of ‘Marine Mammals’ in Antigua and Barbuda in the future” [Antigua Nice]. Most intriguing, however, was the medium the group had used in launching their petition-clearly for “...worldwide participation.” Hence, knowing that a sizeable number of the populace enjoys no such luxury and can raise no objections to its “...brazen and dictatorial call,” it went to social media. If this year’s Independence theme that speaks to “ ...VISION” has any meaning, then surely, “ ...LEGISLATORS SHALL SEE” that “ ...response to such call creates a golden opportunity, not necessarily for members of the wider community, but for members of “...ABITPC” to be inducted into the “...Women Divers’ Hall of Fame (WDHF).” It begs the question “...How many indigenous nationals currently enjoy membership in the ‘WDHF’ for the ELITISTS?”




When people speak to the concept “...ELITIST,” they are in fact speaking to a “...Belief in control by a small group.” The Encarta Dictionary defines it as “...The belief that government or control should be in the hands of a small group of ...Privileged; ...Wealthy; or ...Intelligent people or the active promotion of such system” [Encarta].  In a lecture to Law enforcement Middle Managers, Political Scientists and Pollster, Professor Carl Stone (deceased) of the Mona Campus Jamaica, posited that such group was known to have “...manipulated public officials, thereby influencing social and economic policies and enactment of Laws to suit the groups collective interest. He had cautioned Law enforcement administrators not to succumb to their influences of power and money” [Staff College: Jamaica: 1987]. These were known to have impacted negatively on the lives of the common man”




These groups, “...self-elected,” were seeking to impress upon the international community that they represent (i) “...Voices of the Antigua and Barbuda Electorate; (ii) ...the Unemployed and/or under-employed and (iii) ... the collective voices of the populace.” In fact, they represent not the nationals, but their own interests. Interestingly, research revealed information that may allow for “...reasonable inferences to be drawn” of Environmentalists interest. In a Press Release, publicizing Martha Watkins Gilkes presidency, it states “...When the Women Divers’ Hall of Fame (WDHF) met for its plenary session in ‘NEW YORK,’ they selected longtime Antigua resident Martha Watkins Gilkes as their President; ...The Women Divers’ Hall of Fame is an ‘International Not-for-Profit organization,’ established to recognize the ‘ELITE’ and outstanding women divers whose achievements have ‘ENRICHED’ the worldwide Scuba Diving Community [January 7, 2011].




While a predominantly” ...black government and people” were struggling to survive the economic morass, “...Environmentalist Hoodwinkers” have been singing tunes” to the ears of Tourism Minister Honourable John Maginley. They have been advocating “...Legislative Measures” to prohibit the establishment of possible “...viable Marine Parks” that may attract tourists to the nation, with spill off effects to its economy [Observer Media: October 8, 2013]. Then while environmentalists “...Sing for Law”, Japanese Fishing Trawlers have been mercilessly plundering and depleting the nation’s marine resources.” Ironically, while objectionists seek to block establishment of “...Dolphin Parks,” the Japanese have boasted of granting aid, estimated to be US$320M to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), including ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA; ...Morocco; ...Panama and ...Solomon Islands for “...VOTES” at the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC)meetings” [Wikipedia]. Evidence of the nation’s reciprocal benefits for its WHALE VOTES, may be seen through Fishing Complexes at “...Urlings Village; ...Parham Town; ...Point Area and ...Codrington Barbuda.”




Thus, while under the guise of acting as “...conservationists and/or protectionists for the nation’s marine resources, environmentalists seek to have their names etched in the “...Hall of Fame.” While they cunningly used their superior intellect and lobbyist exploits, “... ELITISTS” were seeking to ‘Brainwash Public officials,” elected by the people in providing for their economic prosperity and financial well-being.” Against the backdrop of financial hardship, when babies cried for formula, ELITISTS speak to “...Dolphin Protection;” ...when the pressures of life seemed overwhelming, poverty-stricken mothers cried despairingly for financial help.” Then when property owners could not make remittances on their mortgage loans, Banks embarked upon massive foreclosure of property.




While they “...Lobby Tourism Minister Honourable John Maginley to introduce Laws to “...Ban Captivity of Marine mammals TOURISTS like to see,” Car Dealers and business of household furniture could not see their customers, Bailiffs were hastily dispatched to repossess hire-purchase vehicles and their merchandise; Then Bus Drivers and Taxi operators struggle for a living; ...while vagrants compete with stray dogs in scavenging for refuse. The situations are made worse when young adult females prostitute their bodies and young teens look for unwanted pregnancies. When there were no earnings or disposable income to meet financial obligations, the Antigua and Barbuda Public Utilities Authority (APUA) had been forced to suppress its utilities services to defaulting customers. Then the old, infirm and sick, died for want of medical care. Except one was so naïve as to be in denial, these irrefutably, reflects the “...Harsh Realities of Life.”




Instructively, after four hundred years of colonialism, with a constitutionally provided “...Electoral System” that allows for citizens to elect a government to ensure their “...Economic well-being,” that they may enjoy the social benefits of the economic system, public officials were being “...Hoodwinked” by minority groups of offspring that had reportedly “...seized and enslaved African ancestors in building their nations.” They have made no significant “...economic investments capable of helping to provide impetus or stimulate economic growth in the nation. Now, under the disguise of “...Conservationist and/or environmentalists, they have taken on the role of “...Economic Obstructionists.” Since minority groups were exploiting the waters “...EARNING LUCRATIVE PROFITS FROM SCUBA DIVING COURSES” that indigent citizens could ill-afford. It therefore, behooves policy-makers to “...Recapture their Economic Senses” from those who have capitalized on the nation’s marine resources and waters, that have not served the national interest or the common good.




For these reasons, since conservationists/environmentalists Martha Watkins Gilkes; ...owner of Fantasea Island Divers; ...former President of the “ ...Women Divers’ Hall of Fame (WDHF) and Englishman Robin Leach [Aug.29, 1941-] continue to (i) ...Live luxurious lifestyles;” (iii) ...Since they may have read about their forefathers’ and nations atrocities to humanity; (iii) ...Since they appear to have more interest in Dolphins, than of the “ ...Economic interest of the people; ( iv) ...Since they have the capacity to use their “ ...power of influence and wealth” in helping to exert pressure upon the United States in settling the WTO’s Dispute with Antigua and Barbuda; ...BE IT RESOLVED, now, therefore, that they be allowed to obtain membership on the committees headed by Dorbrene O’Marde, “ ...Craving for Slave Money,” under the fanciful name “ ...REPARATION and the WTO, headed by Attorney General Honourable Justin L. Simon QC, in their bid to recover compensation from the countries and governments concerned.” Recoupment of which, might just allow for the procurement of equipment for the protection of the nation’s “...Economic Zone,” and more specifically, the limited Marine Resources from the “...Japanese Fishing Trawlers and its Whaling Fleets.” By then, they may have less to worry about “...Captive Marine Mammals.” By then they will be able to see that which were not seen, when “...Foreign Fishing Fleets scraped the beds of the Caribbean Sea.”


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4 Comments In This Article   


Mr Pompey

#4 Nemo » 2013-12-15 13:12

I have to say that I find this article insightful to why the national perception is so tragically victim, blind and only scratching at deep.

You are likely a man of God and in all you have spoken is a crime against the amazing "creation" that is Life in of itself, on this planet, in this Galaxy, within this Universe.

The recent passing of Nelson Mandela must remind us of how one must live, even considering our shared and collective histories, whatever side one emerges it is clear that we are all inextricably linked and must honour this.

And back to point. This issue that Martha Watkins - Gilkes is seeking to address is certainly being addressed in the US and Internationally is aa round up.....



#3 JD » 2013-10-24 14:12

Very oddly written article. That apart, I look forward to the day when we can all be equal regardless of our differences, whether male or female, rich or poor, young or old, black or white or any shade in between. It needn't be impossible but we have to start with ourselves first.



#2 Skyewill » 2013-10-24 06:06

I just copied and paste this article in a word document. If I were teaching school It would be the topic of the day. My students would analyze it.



#1 Skyewill » 2013-10-24 05:59

WOW, Mr. P you scare more than I scare myself. DIS YA TO DEEP FU DEM oh gosh Jack! Those that understand don't know what to say. You did how ever hit every nerve. I can't wait for the book. This is what I have been saying for 12 years Mr. P, Except one was so naïve as to be in denial, these irrefutably, reflects the “...Harsh Realities of Life.”


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Mr. Rawlston Pompey

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