The question of having an adequate supply of money to enable a candidate to contest an election has always been a problem for aspiring politicians. That is why political parties have always sought to provide the basic financing for candidates who fight under their banner.
A solution to the question has been the more pertinent, especially when citizens choose to fight under the banner of their own political convictions and declare that they are independent candidates.
The question of having an adequate supply of money is not an easy one to attempt to answer. Many people feel that having put forward the required deposit demanded by the system that financing begins and ends at this point. To mount a respectable challenge in an election calls for the possession of a loudspeaker system that can meet the demands of rough usage placed upon it during a political campaign. Then the question of the cost of bribing the electorate to vote for a candidate then arises.
T-shirts proclaiming a candidate’s virtues, hidden and apparent, have to be distributed – free of cost. Posters and flattering photographs (in the majority of cases, professionally touched up) have to be given away – free of cost. There is also the distribution of money.
For example, a certain comrade always filled his pockets with scores of five dollar bills and when he was asked “ Gimme subben dey!”, he boldly and fearlessly reached into his pocket and nonchalantly pulled out a bill and thrust it into his assailant’s hand, knowing full well that his largesse was limited to a measly five dollars.
However as the campaign progresses, in a house-to-house visit, a candidate encounters a family squabble and instead of taking off with speed the candidate naively tries to arbitrate and ends up being presented with the problem of arbitrating either between a water bill, an electricity bill or a telephone bill. And when the good candidate realises that there are eight votes in that house and there are numerous other family members scattered in many houses nearby, the candidate willingly agrees to pay all three bills.
The candidate might be fortunate that three very articulate girls from those closely-knit households offer voluntary service that is efficient and genuine. A few weeks after, the mother of one confides in the candidate that the girl is feeling sort of delicate and before the candidate know it she is recommending doctor so-and-so to assist in preventing that belly from showing.
This however is not the end of the candidate’s entrapment in the expenditure web. The candidate has been inextricably and magically drawn into a family and neighbourhood “arrangement.”
He has become so engrossed in the business of campaigning that he has become accustomed to empathising with constituents about the high cost of living and before long, the candidate has progressed from paying normal everyday things like electricity bills and he awakens one day to find that he has already been participating in paying several house-rent bills.
However he feels that, as a candidate, he is smart. He is about to learn that “studyation” beats “education.” It’s a truism that will eventually reach home to him after he has been seduced into empathising about school fees which he has enthusiastically paid, but soon moves to correct by easing the children into the “free education” system, which really ought to be reserved for Antiguan & Barbudan citizens but, what-the-hell, he needs the votes anyway and he squeezes the children quietly into the system.
But the candidate has just opened the floodgates into his money reserves and the hairdos that he had quietly paid for, for one, suddenly are increased by manifold similar demands and overnight the candidate has assumed the role of “Election Father Christmas”.
Dresses, shoes, manicures and even “driving lessons” have surreptitiously crept in. In the twinkling of an eye the candidate has been overwhelmed and because he is not a Mit Romney, with loads of money, he has to resort to one of the big-money-contributors and he is caught hook, line and sinker.
On the surface the candidate seems to belong to the people, but in reality he has been taken.