PEP COLOUMN: The DLP is failing Barbados
EVEN with the country facing a monumental economic crisis, and with the Prime Minister gravely ill, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration and their sundry advisors, patrons and hangers-on still showed themselves incapable of rising up to even moderate standards of maturity and responsibility.
Why was it necessary for the DLP power brokers to engage in the farce and brinkmanship of publicly announcing a shift in ministerial portfolios without first informing the affected ministers and securing their consent? Clearly, somebody was engaging in a little tawdry game of trickery and the out-manoeuvring of sitting ministers of Government.
Way back in September 2008, in an article entitled Politics Of The Fatted Calf, our People’s Empowerment Party warned that the DLP administration was making a serious mistake by creating a new civil establishment post of “political advisor of the Prime Minister” and appointing Mr Hartley Henry to this new and unprecedented office.
Well, with the Prime Minister seriously ill and unable to function, the proverbial chickens have now come home to roost, with Hartley Henry effectively exercising the power of political life and death over even senior Cabinet members. The late Errol Walton Barrow must be turning over in anguish in his watery grave.
But the folly and immaturity did not begin and end with Hartley Henry. How does one assess the actions of Dr David Estwick, who succeeded in suggesting to the Barbadian public that to be given a Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development was to be insulted.
How could any mature and right thinking politician consider the portfolios of Agriculture, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business to be of little significance or to be beneath his or her dignity?
Surely, Dr Estwick must be cognisant of the tremendously important goals that are waiting to be addressed and accomplished in his new ministry – the tackling of the massive annual food import bill; the establishment of a modern fishing industry equipped with fish canning facilities; the development of new sectors based on black belly sheep, Bajan cherries, sea island cotton, Barbados hot pepper sauce; the attainment of the full potential of the rum, beer and other food and beverage exports; and the elevation of black Barbadian entrepreneurs who are currently regarded as small businessmen and women.
But how can the officers and constituents of Dr Estwick’s new ministry now have confidence in his leadership when he has already signalled to all and sundry that he is contemptuous of his new posting?
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has assured Barbadians that “the main challenge for Barbados is to put God first . . . once we do that we will be okay . . .”. He also promised to let God “lead the charge” in restoring the economy, thereby causing us to wonder why he does not simply hand over his Ministry to Pastor Stephen Holford or Senator the Reverend David Durant.
Surely we can do better than this in providing leadership for our country.