Democratization of the Bahamas Essay

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The democratization process of the Bahamas is somewhat convoluted. On the one hand, this tiny island recognizes the Queen of England as its monarch (The Commonwealth, 2016). On the other, it has a dual party parliament that enables a fair amount of democracy. A brief overview of the history of this country alludes to some of its political complexity in relation to its democratic process. Firstly, the Bahamas was the island the Christopher Columbus initially landed on in 1492. Ever since that initial landing, the island has been colonized by various colonists. Colonial power eventually transferred from the Spanish to the British -- as such, the island became part of the British Commonwealth at the end of the 20th century (The Commonwealth, 2016). It is interesting to note that its status as part of the commonwealth helped to issue this country the amount of democracy that it currently has due to its parliamentary system. Democracy is a pivotal way to involve people in their government and to ensure that the latter actually benefits the former. Thus, President Obama stated that "we've urged all parties to work together to sustain...democratic institutions" (Birnbaum, 2016).



The complexity of the democratization process in the Bahamas is underscored by the fact that it has a parliamentary monarch with a constitution for its citizens (The Commonwealth, 2016). Viewed from this perspective, this system of government is technically a monarchy. However, the fact that it does feature a parliament and some of the conventional components of democracy -- such as a constitution -- evince the fact that the democratic process is certainly thriving in this part of the world. The best way to describe this system of government, which might appear contradictory otherwise, is to see it as a replica of the same government that exists throughout the United Kingdom, and in England in particular. This region still recognizes a monarch in the form of Queen Elizabeth II. However, it has a robust parliamentary system that greatly reduces the authority and involvement of this personage so that many aspects of the democratic process actually exist within it.



From a macrocosm perspective, the democratic process in the Bahamas is facilitated at a number of different level. Although the country formally recognizes the queen of England, it has a prime minster that acts as the head of the government (The Commonwealth, 2016).
This prime minister is much more involved in the daily affairs of the country and its government than the Queen is. Parliament represents the legislative branch of the Bahamas. It is critical to note that these different entities within the government help to provide -- to a lesser extent -- a series of checks and balances of the authority of any individual much like that found within the three branches of the government of the United States. The prime minister is formally recognized as the leader of his or her cabinet, which itself represents the executive branch of government in the Bahamas. Furthermore, the parliament itself consists of a House of Assembly and of a Senate -- which is analogous to Congress in the U.S. Therefore, there are several different entities to the government and its branches in the Bahamas, which certainly helps to reinforce the democratic process which, in this instance, means that there are multiple avenues for the people to elect members of the government. Perhaps more so than any other facet of the democratic process, the direct input of the people through voting is emblematic of a true democracy.



Still, there are other aspects of the government in the Bahamas that reflect the fact that certain pivotal instances of the democratic process are at work. As previously mentioned, there is a constitution for this country which helps to enumerate certain rights for the people. In this respect the constitution acts as a means of preserving these basic rights, which is another means of circumscribing the autonomy of any of the individual facets of the government of the Bahamas. Limiting that individual power naturally extends it to the masses of the people, which is another key aspect of democratization: empowering the people and allowing them to exercise their sway in the governmental process. In fact, the correlation between the constitution of Bahamas and the democratic process is further underpinned by additional points of comparison between that document and the one existent in America. Both of these documents have strict provisions regarding civil liberties as they relate to the the media, speech, and religious freedom. In forms of government that are not democratic, these liberties do not exist or, if they do so, are extremely limited….....

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References


Birnbaum, M. (2016). Obama slammed Polish democracy on Friday. Here's how Polish TV proved him right. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/07/09/obama-slammed-polish-democracy-on-friday-heres-how-polish-tv-proved-him-right/

Fox, P. (2013). Off the tourist grid in the Bahamas. www.newyorktimes.com Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/travel/off-the-tourist-grid-in-the-bahamas.html?_r=0

Nixon, A. (2011). Imaginings in/of Paradise: Bahamian literature and the culture of a tourist economy. Anthurium: A Carribean Studies Journal. 8(1), 1-22.

The Commonwealth. (2016). Bahamas, the: Constitution and politics. http://thecommonwealth.org/ Retrieved from http://thecommonwealth.org/our-member-countries/bahamas/constitution-politics

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