Very shortly, on 29th of this month, Kuwait will have its Parliamentary election. I wish Kuwait’s democratic experiment and democratic system all the best. This being the first time that Kuwaiti females are participating in the Parliamentary election process by voting and contesting, the entire attention will be focused on this election, of course deservingly. Every contestant is highlighting the issue that he/she will fight once he/she is in the Parliament and almost every Kuwaiti is trying to impress upon others to elect good candidates. The major issue for all the candidates is 'FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION" which it looks reached to its peak. Incidentally according to the available reports the very people who are going to fight against corruption once they are elected are themseves corrupting the voting system by purchasing the votes with high value as nowhere seen in the world, approximately 4 lakhs of rupees a vote.

While every issue related to this country and its citizens will be raised during the electioneering process by the contestants, no candidate is seen reserving an inch of his attention for the issues of expatriates who are totally gone unnoticed in the election manifestoes of the contesting candidates. Since expatriates are powerless in the absence of voting rights for them due to which they are unable to change the course of action in the election, they are treated as non-entities in Kuwait during and for the election purpose. But are there no issues related to the grievances of expatriates that can be made the subject of debates during the electioneering? Why not a single contestant thinking of the helpless expatriates who are neglected and treated shabbily in this society? It is wrong on the part of the contestants to ignore the rights and grievances of the expatriates who are so devotedly serving their land.

The expatriates may not be having voting rights to change the direction of the parliament but the expatriates can surely create a goodwill of immense value for this land from where they earn their sustenance. This goodwill can generate greater force than the power of voting and that it is so was proved during the invasion of Kuwait when overwhelming majority of the countries of the expatriates working in Kuwait stood by Kuwait against Iraqi invasion of Saddam Hussein. I am extremely sad that not a single Kuwaiti candidate is thinking of the plight and missery of some the expatriates are facing in Kuwait. It is a pity that none of the candidates wants to raise this issue in the Parliament once he is elected because it appears that none of the Kuwaitis is interested in the well being of the expatriates. Many of them love to ill treat the maids, many of them want to sell visa for a price, many of them want to deport innocent visa purchasers by hurling false accusation on them saying they are absconding when at the time of selling visas they were clearly given freedom to work outside during the residence validity period, many of them love to deny innumerable xpatriates of their salaries in time and for months, many of them love to deny the expatriates of their human rights by creating discrimination everywhere between locals and expatriates thereby creating a semblance of apartheid policy. I cannot imagine how such a great number of expatriates is just ignored in this election. I cannot understand how up to now there is no separate ministry only for Expatriates when expatriate labour force is very dominantly run the mighty economy of Kuwait. As an expatriate though I am not entitled for voting right but surely I am entitled to have my own opinion that will deffinetely generate goodwill or ill will for Kuwait. Still I Wish Kuwaitis a very successful democratic experiment in the coming election and wisdom to all the voters to elect good candidates who will patriotically and devotedly serve Kuwait, Kuwaitis and expatriates alike.

It is not a small matter to have a parliamentary democracy in Kuwait in the midst of non parliamentary Governments in this area. It is a very bold decision of Kuwait to opt for parliamentary democrary where over 200 candidates will compete for 50 Seats of 25 constituencies. Though due to tradition female candidates may not fare very well yet they are creating strong ripples in their campaign. In Kuwait females are having fairly well freedom as compared to many of the Ismalic countires in this part of the world. Many of the Kuwaiti women have already proved their worth during the invasion of Kuwait by resisting Iraqis. Kuwaiti women are smart, educated, socially advanced, very clever and very humane, of course few exceptions are very vissible.

As a member of Goan community - the community that always aspires good of Kuwait - and as a leading man who was instrumental in organising a big movement in Goa in support of Kuwait during the invasion of Kuwait under Goa-Kuwait Solidarity Center for the cause of the liberation of Kuwait and for the love of Kuwait from where we earn our sustenance, I wish Kuwait's parliamentary democracy all the best. May God Bless Kuwait.

A. Veronica Fernandes,
Safat, Kuwait.

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