COMMENTARY: Bribery In Voting – Can We Ever Solve it?  


Bribery In Voting – Can We Ever Solve it?  

……………by   Audley Phillip

Now that the much anticipated by-election in St.  Marys South is behind us and the victorious candidate and party known, I am sure that all parties would likely do a post-mortem of all the events leading up to the by-election.

There was much talk about political inducements or bribes and the role it  could play, if any, in the by-election..

Sadly, inducements or bribes have long been a part of our political landscape   and it is something that has all been made normal and almost  acceptable in every election cycle.  The only reason why the spotlight was placed on the by-election, is because  we were concentrating  on a single constituency poll as opposed to a  broader general elections poll.  All focus and attention had shifted to St. Mary’s South and it was clear that the stakes were  enormously high.

So what exactly is an inducement or bribe?  An indictment or bribe is an object , situation or an action that is used as a means to influence another person’s behaviour.  Inducements or bribes can range from minor acts, to acts that result in infringement of election laws and regulations.  Inducements or bribes can take many different forms, for example, gifts, hospitality entertainment, political or charitable donations, appeals to friendship and loyalty, employment or other commercial opportunity or preferential treatment, and so much more.

Whenever voting is involved, one question is ubiquitous.  How can one tell if the results have been skewed due to bribing  of the voters?   Democracy is a system where people vote for solving issues or to make governance decisions.  In the simplest cases, the majority wins, which has its own problem.

Money is power, freedom,  a cushion, the root of  all evil and the sum of blessings.  Money is power and king in voting schemes. The problem is that in most cases, and with most voting, the actors are not all honest.  When bribers target the right people,  especially those who are willing  to sell their votes, the party with the most money wins.  Regardless of what is being decided by a vote, there should be no room for any type of bribery.  But that is in the real world.

Instead of platforms, merit and credibility, cash has become a determining factor for who wins in most elections these days.  The influx of cash from all kinds of nefarious sources  and groups sways leaders regardless of what is in the public best interest.  The introduction of money into politics has allowed politicians to buy leverage that alters the fabric of our economy and country.

There is no easy or quick fix to this but if we do not do something about these political inducements and bribes as well as the overall influence of money in our politics, all our elected representatives would be tarnished now and into the foreseeable future.

Until we have meaningful electoral reform where handing out these inducement are made wrong  and punishable, money will continue to be a big factor and could influence all future elections.


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  1. As long as there’s desperation there will be bribes…. Antiguans are very low lifted and easily used they dnt stand on principle JUS HOW CAN I GET A HANDOUT mostly accepted is CASH STOVES FRIDGES CHAIR SETS I EVEN KNOW OF SCHOOL FEES

    Antiguans need to vote on issues not color or most likable personality….

    We look to politicians to solve our social& financial problems we lack proper rational reasoning making poor decisions thathurt us and our children for the long term eventually….we live for the moment and politicians know this very well short attention span

    We need to get away from being bought bcos whether you get $500 or$1000or materialism ( duty free cars …. water tanks … ) how long does that last in today’s economy?

    Too much poverty is in Antigua mothers can’t even give the children BASIC NEEDS but won’t stop breeding

    We need to elevate our minds … thinking and vote on issues that affect us the most

  2. What make this bribery situation extremely bad is when the government is using the resources of the state as inducement, when the treasury is denied the due taxes by way of illegal concessions. Antiguans and Barbudans make no mistake, they are not using their own money…it is your money that they are bribing you with. We the people need to stand up and reject this corrupt wicked immoral hellish way of doing things.

    • I hope your comment was made in context that Government is continuous and Applys to any party in power….and not SOLEY directed to the ABLP !
      On another note Bribery is not only financial inducement… but unrealistic promises is also Bribery and is much more widely tactically used than money…
      What is more disgusting…is the converting of wrong to right with change Government … how do we sleep at nights….allowing ourselves to be used as pawn on the political battlefield. .

  3. The laws are in place for bribery and corrupt practices, so simple put honest people in place and power that will enforce the laws.
    Antigua has people in power that subvert the laws instead of uphold the laws. Put a committee of watch dogs in place for these things, people that are good ordinary people of the communities. These people should not be beholding to any political party, but choose the constitution over everything. The same way you go out and pick Jurors, it is the same way this committee should be established.

    So where is the so-called AG on this? This should be where he make his mark if he wants to be honored or knighted.

  4. The masses have to be educated first. It all sounds good; but how many males in Antigua and Barbuda have a library card, or has ever visited the archives?

  5. Unfortunately it will take a long time to get this out of our politics. Both sides of the divide have different perceptions of what it actually is and all our politicians use it to get votes that will ultimately determine the winners and lovers of elections in our country. The Prime Minister’s view is that he will always assist his fellow Antiguans and as our leader he is in a position to utilise resources to help. The United Progressive Party’s public stance is that when they are in power they will root out out bribery and corruption. Sadly I have watched illustrious members of the UPP engage in what the UPP consider to be corrupt practices by leaders of the UPP. So unless we as a nation are very clear on what is and our parliament pass and approve the appropriate legislation, we will be holding our collective breadth and it could result in asphyxiation.

    • You are correct both parties uses gifts/handouts to attract votes . The UPP can not be pointing fingers when it’s a fact that they too indulge in the same act. All politicians are in politics for gains. Some build their pockets and at the same time build the country , while some only build their pockets and the pockets of a chosen few while the rest of the country suffers.

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