EDITORIAL – Some sound counsel for PM Stuart
THE?GOVERNOR?GENERAL’S?ADVICE to our new Prime Minister is pertinent. Gird his loins Mr Stuart must, lest he stumble on the way.
It is not the norm for a Governor General to give such counsel publicly; but in the poignant circumstance it is quite understandable. Taking up the mantle of leadership of Government upon the death of his own leader former Prime Minister David Thompson, Mr Stuart needs to draw on all the words of wisdom that may be placed at his disposal.
There is no doubt our new Prime Minister has the capacity and ability to face the challenges ahead, but he will need to ensure that there is complete healing among his team members and that he has the full backing of his Cabinet as he as new leader carries out the mandate before him.
For one thing, as we understand it, the parliamentary group of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has spoken definitively and emphatically on whom they should have lead them, and that should augur well for stability in the DLP’s rank and file, its executive, its Cabinet and for its governance. It means it falls on the new Prime Minister to so well manage his team and their competencies that he sustains their goodwill.
We warn the new Prime Minister that his best efforts will be measured against his predecessor’s, and for this alone he can do nothing less than gird his loins indeed.
As Mr Stuart himself said in his first address to the nation as Prime Minister last night, it has now “devolved” upon his shoulders “the responsibility of leading the struggle in pursuit of those ideals” for which the departed Mr Thompson stood.
That Mr Stuart is clear – and by extension his Cabinet – about the way forward is a credit first to the maturity of governance in Barbados and secondly to the good name of David Thompson and the awe in which he has been held by his colleagues. Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite summed it up when he said that members of Cabinet would “want to ensure that whatever we do will be to the honour” of the former Prime Minister.
Compare, the electorate will – David Thompson versus Freundel Stuart – but Barbadians must understand that Mr Stuart, while pursuing the ideals for which his predecessor stood, will bring his own style and execution to the table. It will not be fair to judge the way our new Prime Minister does what against how Mr Thompson might have or would have done it.
Even so, having barely served half his term of office, it is even too soon to say Mr Thompson would not have changed his known style. It is probably even too much to compare, as some paying tribute have, Mr Thompson with the other Prime Ministers before him, even though it would not be too presumptuous to say he would surely have kept the good name of our national leaders.
As we mourn the passing of David John Howard Thompson, let us reflect upon those ideals he fought and stood for, the just society he rooted for, the poor he sought to empower. Let this sad occasion too be the opportunity for embracing Mr Stuart as he takes his first and sure step to national leadership all on his own.
We congratulate him and wish him the very best.