Political analyst objects to power consolidation

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Three years after it first took office, a political analyst is warning the public to be wary of power consolidation by the Gaston Browne administration.
The advice comes from Professor of African & Caribbean Studies at the Arizona State University Dr David Hinds who feels that Antigua & Barbuda’s ministers of government are favouring “efficiency over democracy” in the exercise of power.
“Our systems are based on legislative supremacy but what we have seen is executive supremacy. We have to go for a balance between efficiency and democracy,” Dr Hinds declared.
He was speaking on OBSERVER radio’s Big Issues programme yesterday.
The Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) administration led by Prime Minister Gaston Browne has introduced the need for ministerial approval to get a piece of land, to hire, fire and transfer senior staff in statutory corporations, and even to transfer police officers outside the police force.
“When we increase the powers of the minister we’re going down a dangerous path,” Dr Hinds said.
Hinds also argued that both main political parties have governed without the involvement of the other. He also contended that both parties have engaged in scrapping the development plans of the other political party that had been in office.
“When parties win elections, they should not see it as a mandate to run the country only as they see fit because they are continuing someone else’s work. The opposition has been totally taken out of the conversation of power.
“There has to be a role for the opposition. Constitutionally the opposition is a part of the government and we are holding back development in the Caribbean because we monopolise power in the executive, and the legislature becomes a rubber stamp,” Dr Hinds said.
He added, “This government goes, another comes and it starts all over again. There is no continuity.”

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