Should Rihanna Vote in Barbados

Currently, there is some discussion on whether Barbadians who reside permanently outside of Barbados, should be allowed to vote in Barbados’ general elections.  Let me provide my view on this matter.

First, some statistics.  In the 2003 general election, the difference in votes cast for the two parties was 14,548 votes.  In the 2008 general election, it was even less; only a mere 8,819 votes determined the winner.  Currently, about 105,000 Barbadians permanently reside overseas.

If we are to assume that Barbadians who live overseas share a similar population demographic as Barbados residents, then it is likely that those Barbadians who reside overseas would be the deciding factor for Barbados elections.

Successful politicians attempt to communicate directly with those whom they wish to represent.  Door to door visits, mail out pamphlets, and mass meetings are deemed essential.  In previous elections, there was barely enough, or insufficient time during the formal campaign period to cover the local constituency.

If Barbadians overseas are allowed to vote in Barbados’ general elections, then politicians would be forced to fund costly campaigns, not only in Barbados, but also among all nations wherever Barbadians may be found in order to solicit their votes.

Currently, the technology exists where voters in various countries can be informed about candidates for elections, and view televised debates at very little cost.  In some international professional organisations, like the Institution of Structural Engineers who have approximately 23,000 members in 105 countries, the elections are managed so that all campaigning and voting is done over the Internet.

If Barbados chooses a similar fair election management system, where all voters are identified, informed about the candidates and their positions on issues, and allowed to vote regardless of their location (i.e. over the Internet), then non-resident Barbadians should be allowed to vote in Barbados’ general elections.  However, to introduce such a system before establishing the essential election management framework, is, in my opinion, ill advised.



Ps: I used Rihanna to embody all Barbadians who live overseas.

4 responses to “Should Rihanna Vote in Barbados

  1. There are some bajans who choose to live overseas but what about those who live overseas because they job has sent them. e.g persons who work for international business and have been sent to other offices. There are also the case of bajans working in overseas mission.. and the list goes on.
    In the case of Rihanna she is a bad example for one reason alone she is still an ambassador for her country and it is out of order to ask someone to represent her country (something she does exceedingly well)and then deny them the right to vote for the person that is effectively her will lead it.

  2. Hi Demmi:

    My article referred to Barbadians who chose to reside permanently in other countries. Therefore, Barbadians who work in other countries on assignment, but who otherwise reside in Barbados, should be allowed to vote as normal.

    As stated in the article, Rihanna was used to embody all Barbadians who choose to reside outside of Barbados. Please be advised that Rihanna was invited to be an ambassador after she chose to reside overseas.

    Let me clarify that I think that all Barbadians residing overseas should be allowed to vote in Barbados’ general elections. However, all such Barbadians must be accommodated, not just those residing near a Barbados embassy or consulate. Therefore, an Internet election management system needs to be established first so that no eligible voter is disenfranchised.


  3. My problem with this is that there are bajans who have lived overseas for so long they are not even aware of the issues that we face anymore and I question if these persons should be allowed to have a voice in issues that will never affect them.

    Lots of bajans have lived overseas for decades and see Barbados as they left it not knowing that they have a totally erroneous view of what it means to live here now.
    The difficulty that returning nationals have with re-entering our society bare proof to this.

    In light of that no they should not be allowed to decide who leads us.

    I do bare in mind the following:
    Then there are the ones that do take an active part in the Island life, who have financial and emotional ties to the island and who help to keep the wheels of goverment turning. But who for some reason can’t live on island.

  4. Simple Simon

    Only those Bajans who live in Barbados should be allowed to vote in Barbados’ elections. I base this on the principle that you should only vote in an election if you will have to live with the result of that vote. For example I have siblings who have lived outside of Barbados for more than 60 years. They have never worked in Barbados. They have never paid taxes in Barbados. They own no real or other property in Barbados. They are like most of our “tourists” (especially since our parents have died) occasional visitors only. I love my siblings very much, but “NO” they should not be permitted to vote in Barbados’ elections.

    My father who was a man of high moral principle refused to vote in the 2003 election because he knew that he was dying and when representatives of both the BLP and the DLP pressed him to vote, and indeed came to his home to drive him to the polling station he refused and gave both parties his very valid reason “I will soon die, and will therefore will not have to live with the result of my vote, therefore I have decided not to vote in this election”. Previous to this he had voted in every single election since universal adult suffrage in 1951.

    I wish that most Bajans were of such high moral principle.

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