A bit of reflection before the results

By the time you read this, the outcome of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) referendum should be known to all; however, at the time of writing, it remained a mystery. Regardless of the outcome, we must all move on after the decision is made and do all we can to ensure that it does not turn into a mess like the Brexit.

Before we move on, there are a few observations that we made on Referendum Day 2018. The first was how smooth the process was. For that, we need to thank the Electoral Commission and their staff.  Yes, lines were short but all seemed to be in order and well organised. It may be their job, but it is always nice to say “well done” when it is deserved.

The short lines and seeming low turnout are based on our observations and reports from other observers during the day. The final numbers may indicate something different, but it is going to be interesting to see if referendums follow the general ‘rules’ associated with elections. In a political election, the thought is that a low turnout is good for the incumbent and a large turnout is indicative of change. The bit of deductive reasoning is founded in the belief that people are energised when they are unhappy with the status quo. They rush to the polls to ensure that change happens, and they encourage others to do the same. On the other hand, when people are generally happy with the way things are going, and there is no desire for change, they are less motivated to vote.

This is a broad generalisation of how people think on the topic, and we are sure that there have been exceptions to this election ‘rule’ so don’t get twisted if you disagree. Our interest, as we wait for the referendum results, is to see if the referendum results mimic the results of a political election based on turnout. Are people content with the Privy Council and therefore the desire for change did not spur voter turnout? Or, will it be a case where those who want the change to the CCJ used the opportunity to leverage their numbers against a small turnout. Time will tell, and no amount of second-guessing will change the outcome.  

Before the results of any vote is announced, experts of all types try to predict the outcome based upon a host of factors they believe are the “tell.” Aside from analysing the turnout, they will scrutinise the demographics of voters, the time of day they voted, etc. Anything and everything will be thrown into the forecasting pot and the election soothsayers will make their predictions known. Get it right and the mojo-value of that particular political fortune teller goes up; until, of course, they make a bad prediction.  

If, at this point, you are hoping we reveal our pick so that you can make an instant comparison, you are going to be disappointed. The referendum is a first time experience for all of us and it touches on an emotional topic, so polling and soothsaying have little influence, in our minds. All that matters is the outcome, and regardless of what happens, we hope that the ‘other’ side accepts it. Let us not turn this into a Brexit where the dejected party calls for a ‘do-over,’ or do like Grenada and make CCJ referendums a biennial event. Let’s just accept and move on.

We are making this call in advance of the results because, regardless of the outcome, our feelings remain the same. The lead up to this event has been a dirty, name calling affair that has caused unnecessary divisiveness in our country. We need to heal and re-acquaint ourselves with our more civilised personas. We need to return to an environment where we can have a robust discussion on any matter, political or otherwise, and still be willing to share a drink socially. We need to get back to a time when we respected each other’s opinions, even when we disagreed. There should be no reason to belittle someone simply because they see life a bit differently than you do.

Some will say that time has never existed in our bit of paradise, but we disagree. Sure there are some that can never get over the effects of their morning kool-aid but for the most part, we have been a society that can differ in harmony. Our politics are hot but our drinks are cold and regardless of political persuasions, we all fete to the same beat, in the same party (pun intended!). So, while we are blind to the outcome at this point, we are conscious of where we need to be as a nation and we hope that in this instance, we can all agree that unity is our strength and those who sow the seeds of divisiveness need to be rejected.

We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.