A BAsic Idea (2)

In a Letter to the Editor, published June 12th 2003 in the Daily Herald, I presented “A Basic Idea”.
Here again is that Basic Idea, amended to our current Parliament.

My suggestion is that the members of Parliament should be elected based on preferential votes, but
not based on party affiliations. By that I mean, the top 15 vote-getters, across the board, should be
the ones elected to Parliament.
This, I base on the fact that there is no party ideology.
The main question is: do we want to be represented by someone who has no voter support but who
was lucky enough to be on a particular list or by someone who actually has voter support?
These piggy-back selected persons are more committed to the one(s) on whose back(s) they got
selected than to the country.
Giving an individual an amount of votes, valid for 3 seats, must never mean that he/she can bring
two ‘selected persons’ on board with him/her.

The highest vote-getter is then given the task to form a government with an 8 – 7 majority, but
preferably a 9 to 6 majority. This means that he/she can very well take persons from another party
or other parties to form a government. This would give us a broadbased government and that should
mean better representation.
If he/she cannot get a government formed in the allotted time, then the second highest vote-getter
would be assigned the task.

The possibility must exist for any other elected person to put a majority together to form a government
and present that information to the Governor to speed up the process.
There always will be a possibility that the highest vote-getters can be in the opposition benches.
One Parliamentary seat must never be more important than another.

I hear two parties demanding a clear cut victory of 8 seats or more.
While I am no big supporter of coalition governments, as we know them now, I must respect the choice
of the electorate. The electorate in its ‘infinite wisdom’ chooses 15 Members of Parliaments and they
have an obligation/responsibility to represent the country.
The problem is that our elected officials don’t seem to know what their responsibilities are and to whom.

The elected persons, who accept ministerial positions, will have to resign their seats in Parliament to the
next highest vote-getter in their respective parties. Provisions must be made for them to regain their seats
in Parliament, should they resign from their ministerial positions. Professionals could also become Ministers,
if they are presented by, at least, 3 Members of Parliament and approved by Parliamentary majority.
The Members who present these professionals must explain to Parliament why they make the presentation
and Parliament must be able to question the presenters and the candidates.

The Council of Ministers could present a plan of action and Parliament could approve/amend/disapprove
that plan. Parliament could also “order” the Council of Ministers to carry out a plan with specific guidelines
and timeframe.
The Council of Ministers must report to Parliament on a monthly basis and present a progress report on what
is being worked on.

I believe that each minister must go to Parliament to present his/her budget. That is where Parliament provides
guidance to each ministry. Ministers must be limited to what commitments they can make on behalf of the
country without approval by Parliament.

The role of the Finance Minister is only to control expenditures that have been approved by parliament.
If the Minister of Finance believes that a ministry is not performing within its budget, he has an obligation
to notify that ministry and Parliament.

Government owned companies must also present their budgets and business plans to Parliament for
perusal/approval. Parliament can make suggestions to the boards of these companies.

The possibility for a change of direction must always exist. If that means a shift in political vision/direction,
then it must be debated in Parliament in an open session In the case of a Minister being removed, this
too must be debated in Parliament. If Parliament no longer has confidence in a Minister, the reason(s) must
be brought to Parliament in an open session and the Minister must be given ample opportunity to defend
him/herself.

This is a basic idea. Now, the technocrats will have to formalize it.

Clifton R. Wilson