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shadiasimpson, shadiasimpson@nationnews.com

Added 16 October 2012


THOSE WHO ATTENDED Sunday night’s political meeting of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) expecting to hear serious discussion  on burning national issues would have been sorely disappointed. On the other hand, the most rabid breed of political supporter would have been cock-a-hoop with the night’s generous buffet of personal attacks and well orchestrated, below-the-belt potshots, including an absolutely senseless declaration of war on Barbados’ leading newspaper. Unfortunately for the DLP “political strategists”,  it is not the latter group who will determine the result of the upcoming general election. It really comes down now to the “undecided”. Thus, while Sunday’s meeting may have succeeded in rallying the party base, having signalled to them that the “sleeping giant” is at last awake, sadly it has also lent credence to the view that once the political season starts, reason and veracity are the first casualties. But really, does it have to be this way?    We make no apologies for organizing last week’s NATION Talkback, albeit Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has dismissed the meet-the-people session as “foolishness”. We also make no apologies for inviting him in particular – and the DLP by extension. We will not be intimidated, or stoop to any level set by the political players. We will not be deterred from our mandate of creating avenues for mature public engagement that give ordinary Barbadians the opportunity to be heard. Such is the quintessence of our democracy! Such is the level of our responsibility to the public. So respectfully, Prime Minister, you need to get accustomed to this. We would have preferred if, instead of attacking THE NATION’S credibility or the integrity of the scores of voters who supported the recent Talkback, you or any other member of your Government had addressed the numerous issues that came up for discussion. Like how does your administration intend to go forward on health care and education? What has it achieved by adding the layer that is known as Constituency Councils? And as they asked of the Barbados Labour Party, citizens also have a right to know whether there is lasting union in the DLP – in light of the Eager Eleven. It should be noted that Wednesday night’s issues were all raised by ordinary Barbadians seeking straight responses from the political directorate. We therefore hope that on sober reflection the Prime Minister will remain open to future Talkback engagements. After all, vox populi – the voice of the people – is that of God!


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