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Statistical Report for the Governance Assessments and Measurements Project for Barbados and the Eastern Carribean
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The UWI/UNDP DGA Assessment project emerged out of a longstanding problematique within the Eastern Caribbean, that is, the limitation and often lack of comprehensive statistical indicators of key facets of democratic governance. Such indicators are needed to guide dialogue within civil society with a view towards redesigning democratic systems to be more inclusive and sustainable for all citizens. Although an important exercise, determining the nature and quality of democratic governance more closely so that all actors can understand the challenge it presents is complex. What should one measure? How should one measure? These are important questions. It is equally important to consider the interpretation of such measurements, which can be contentious. We believe however, that it is only through the ventilation of contending perceptions, ideas and issues with reasoned and enlightened debate that the renovation of democracy is enhanced.
Participants in the wide-ranging focus-group discussions conducted in Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados signalled that democratic governance is under threat of erosion in myriad ways and is perceived by as inadequate. This report will show varying facets of governance responsible for these worrying trends by drawing on survey data collected in Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados. In almost every disaggregated category surveyed on the critical values essential for effective democratic governance, less than 40 percent of respondents viewed these markers of flourishing democracy as “good”, or “very good”. Less than 50 per cent of those surveyed generally considered the prevailing structures and systemic features in place for good governance as “average” (or were “neutral”). On a positive note, generally, outright dissatisfaction with democratic features was noted as “poor” or “very poor” by less than 30 percent of survey respondents. The general sentiment towards the functioning of democracy in the two countries under study can be encapsulated by the following comment from a respondent in Antigua and Barbuda: “we just dey (there), we just going ‘long.”
The following sections of this report present the data collected in surveys conducted in Antigua and Barbuda and in Barbados by the UWI/UNDP Democratic Governance Assessment team in efforts to assess good governance in the two countries.