United Front – Unfinished Business. In a moment of boredom, and with nothing more interesting to do at the time, I was trolling through the 2000 campaign Manifesto of the United Front political party. The United Front is our governing party. A Manifesto is a political party's list of promises they make to encourage the public to vote them into power. The United Front won the elections on the basis of the promises they made in their 2000 Manifesto. Promises are meant to be kept. In the absence of a good excuse, we tend to think very poorly of persons who do not keep their promises. The United Front are now in their second term, having won re-election in 2005. I idly turned to examine the list of the promises they made in their 2000 Manifesto. I was struck by this list of unfinished business:
Excerpt from the United Front 2000 Manifesto:
“Development and refinement of Codes of Conduct for:
a) Ministers and other members of Executive Council;
b) Members of the House of Assembly; and
c) Politicians in election campaigns;
Creation of the office of Ombudsman;
Reintroduction and development of community councils and consideration of the decentralization of responsibility for some local community services;
Funding for local community based democratic agencies involved in governance;
Development of constituency offices for elected representatives paid for or subsidized by the Government;
Review the powers of Executive Council and of the regulations governing its operations;
Review the policy on appointments to statutory boards and committees to ensure that the selection is more participatory;
Establishment of a process of public hearings, referenda or other mechanisms to involve the public in making decisions on major political, economic or social issues inclusive of large-scale economic or social development proposals.”
Out of curiosity I then turned to their 2005 Manifesto. I was disappointed to see that there was no reference to most of these issues in the 2005 Manifesto. None of these promises has been kept. No one in government has even mentioned them again after the 2005 elections.
All of these were significant promises on which the governing party was elected. I wonder what caused them to lose their importance. Why do we not complain that the platform upon which we elected this government is not being carried out? Could it be true, as many cynics claim, that Manifestos are useless documents that no one reads after the election is over? Has the opposition been silent because they also want to make empty campaign promises that they do not expect anyone to hold them to? Is the press quiet because no one writes in to complain? I am complaining. I would like someone in government to tell us what they are going to do about these matters before the next Manifesto is published. There are only three more years left before elections are due!