Making sport at Bajans
A DLP administration will be accountable for its actions and policies and take the public into its confidence. – DLP Manifesto 2008. These are “strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after”. The DLP team has capitulated to the dog days of summer. They mirror the weather – sultry, languid, stagnant and dull. They are like a rudderless ship on a boiling sea and nothing illustrates their crisis of confidence better than their abandonment of the lofty platform of transparency and accountability from which they shouted so lustily a mere two and a half years ago.
First, Acting Prime Minister Stuart, may be uncomfortable in his new role as Minister of Finance, or perhaps wishing to distance himself from his Government’s failed financial policies put Darcy Boyce in the spotlight to address the country on the state of the economy. It was a junior performance by a junior minister and did nothing to allay the fears of Bajans about the DLP’s white-knuckle approach to the financial and economic management of our affairs. For honesty about the true state of the economy it failed – big time. Next, Minister of Housing and Lands Michael Lashley, caught up in organising a fete for the Bag at Skeete’s Bay, apparently could not be bothered to respond to the charges laid by his former National Housing Corporation chairman Marilyn Rice-Bowen of overstepping his authority, bypassing the board, not securing a contract with CLICO and not buying into the DLP’s manifesto pledge of giving work to the small man. Apparently he has not bought into the DLP Manifesto to be accountable to the public either.
Not to be outdone, with the threat of strike action looming at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Sanitation Service Authority, minister of Health Donville Inniss joined his brethren in the order of silence and adopted a “not me and that” approach. Is this Government really serious about the way it interfaces with the public at such a critical time? Are they really serious about their manifesto promise to take the public into their confidence? The evidence points to the contrary and Barbadians are not pleased. They feel disrespected, let down and ignored by the Dems self-imposed gag order.
The arrogance of several members of the Cabinet is now palpable. Those who are not struck dumb by the fear of where their fiscal policies are taking the country seem out of tune with the mood of the people. There is a growing admission even from those who voted for the DLP in 2008 that things have gone horribly wrong since then. Our national debt is the highest it has been in our history. The fiscal current account deficit is like a cane fire on a windy day in February – out of control and threatening to consume all in its path if it is not brought under control. Revenue from every productive sector is down. Unemployment and under-employment are increasing. Leadership has taken an extended leave of absence.
A one-term Government is more and more becoming an appealing option. With the bravado of victory stripped away, the wheat is being separated from the chaff. Our leader Mia Mottley has been consistent and correct in her analysis of the errors made by this Government. Her early warning of the dangers posed by the troubles at CLICO and her incisive grasp of the true state of the economy has won her even more admirers than she had before. And there is something else, a growing comfort and maturity in the leadership role, coupled with a new vision for our country that augurs well for the future of Barbadians and Barbados. Hope has a new address! •Beresford Leon Padmore is a pseudonym for the Barbados Labour Party.