BLP’s better options
Fri, November 02, 2012 - 12:00 AM
The BLP has in 74 years of existence always been taunted, derided and criticised by opponents whenever it chose to pursue a different path of national growth and development.
It did so when Sir Grantley Adams fought to tear down the pillars of repressive and impoverishing mercantilism and plantocracy and gave ordinary people the right to vote; in 1976 when his son Tom Adams wrested power from a bloated and aimless DLP to further transform our social and economic landscape; and in 1994 when Owen Arthur refused to accept 25 per cent unemployment as normal and created more than 30 000 jobs, six per cent joblessness and 14 years of unmatched prosperity and progress.
In other words, BLP quality leadership has traditionally rejected junk in any form, shape and fashion and bluntly refuses to do so now that another rudderless DLP regime has once more brought to their knees the material and psychological well-being of Barbadians, because of a politically discredited David Thompson and a prime ministerial clueless Freundel Stuart.
For as Opposition Leader Arthur exhorted and energised a thronged Queen's Park for the BLP’s 2012 annual conference: “We may bow, we may bend, but we will never break,” instead dipping into the party’s reservoir of talented and decisive leadership to promise a nation that readily trusted him in the past. We seek office again to bring back a similar proactive, can do spirit to the management of our economic affairs.”
This national acclaim for the economic and political leadership of Owen Arthur is not shrouded in partisan myth and propaganda. Rather, it is rooted in the practical experience of Barbadians who longingly recall benefiting from the ability of him and his team to “put money in people’s pockets”, the popular political refrain that frequently falls nowadays from the lips of financially, socially and psychologically stressed citizens and business people.
And while a self-admitted just “awakened” Stuart-led DLP convincingly shows itself stuck in history with endless repetitions of its past achievements, wrapped in bombast, harangue and bravado, the BLP's Political Leader continues to impress with revelations of how under a new BLP government, “Barbados will be changed for the better forever.”
New measures include: a new middle income tax rate, land tax at 50 per cent of the improved value of homes valued higher than $150 000, urgent reversal of the DLP’s rapacious energy policy, a deliberately designed youth economy, a cyber park, a new Constitution focused on governance, a Freedom Of Information Act, divestment of CBC and the issuing of liberalising broadcast licences, revamped statutory corporations, redefined universal access to telecommunications, reformation and modernization of Parliament, greater scrutiny of government’s proposed budgets, reformation of the court system, a reformed procurement system including publication of details of awarded contracts, democratically elected Zonal Community Councils and establishment of a permanent Advisory Social Justice Commission.
Making it clear a new BLP administration would “not propose to simply return to the old policies, or even the old familiar way of doing things,” Arthur instead has an exciting vision of “a world rocking with change” where “new questions must be asked and new answers sought to old questions.” Never junk, then.
• Beresford Leon Padmore is a pseudonym for the Barbados Labour Party.
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