Beyond formal democracy: The discourse on democracy and governance in the Anglophone Caribbean

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Abstract

This paper examines the discourse on democracy and governance in the Anglophone Caribbean against the backdrop of the region's post-colonial experience. In particular it looks at the critique of formal democracy and the arguments for a modification of the Westminster model advanced by scholars and leading politicians. The paper aims to establish three interrelated claims. First, although formal democracy has been critical to the region's political stability, it has not led to broader participation in national decision making within formal institutions and in the wider society. Second, the critique of formal democracy has been due largely to the formal and informal marginalisation of opposition parties from meaningful participation in national decision making, ensuing non-cooperation by opposition parties and heightened ethnic conflicts in Guyana and to a lesser extent in Trinidad. Third, there is a growing consensus among scholars and politicians that a modification of the Westminster winner-takes-all system is a prerequisite for further democratisation and political and economic advance in the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-406
Number of pages19
JournalCommonwealth and Comparative Politics
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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