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December 06, 2005



The first past the post system is better. Look at the countries where proportional representation is in play for the answer.

The Bahamian Nationalist

The problem with the first past the post system is that in situations where there is political tribalism [all of the Westminster Export model derived Constitutions of the Caribbean and the Bahamas], it inevitably limits political dialogue to two parties. This is a sure formula for limiting the full range of effective expression of political opinions in the important forum for law making, The House of Assembly.
Look at the development of the Subculture of Rastafarianism in Jamaica. This group has no parliamentary voice, yet what they think is of great significance to daily life in Jamaica. Their antiauthority attitude has been contributed to by their lack of any effective political voice!
The first past the post, encouraging the two party system is one factor in the development of subcultures, urban guerillas, and various discontented groups who feel that there is no effective voice for them in the system. This inevitably encourages dissidents to go underground, with often disastrous results. One has only to look at the last century to see evidence of this in the form of violent groups whose genesis has been in the feeling of being marginalized, being without an effective voice.
My simple point is that proportional representation ensures that the input of groups not big enough to be a major party would be heard in Parliament, and this would reduce the tendency for these minorities to be marginalized, forgotten, treated like third class citizens.
Democracy is deepened by proportional representation.

Dr. Dexter Johnson is a Lecturer in Law of the College of the Bahamas.

The Bahamian Nationalist

To the extent that our societies become multi-cultural as opposed to the past where one culture was the rule, proportional representation is the only way to become inclusive. One has only to look at the success of this model in Europe to recognize that without it, there would be no possibility of the European Union as a political entity. That Union is made possible by proportional representation in its Parliament. If we are destined to continue as a multicultural, multiethnic society, then proportional representation is in our best interest. If not, then we must remove all aliens!
P.S. My Article was not to lament the return of Dr. Nottage to the PLP. Did any doctors at all support him? Certainly I did not! Indeed, the less he seeks to represent Bahamians and their values the better! Fundamental religious problems will attend any attempt to install him as this country's leader! The Nationalist is sure that the Pro-life lobby in this Christian country , though silent now, will have a lot to say before that is allowed to happen!

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