PEP COLUMN: Negative politics in St John
THE TWO MAJOR political parties that began their existences as institutions for the liberation of oppressed Barbadians are now in danger of becoming instruments for the degradation of our people!
The People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) first made this observation in the aftermath of the 2008 General Election as we reflected on the crude manner in which both parties sought to buy votes. Now the St John By-Election is proving that they are also degrading their own members, inclusive of their leaders.
Take the case of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur. If there was one sphere in which he had distinguished himself during his 14 years as Prime Minister, it was in the arena of Caribbean integration. All over the region, people came to respect him as, perhaps, the leading integrationist of his generation.
What a disgraceful spectacle it is therefore to witness him attacking Mrs Mara Thompson on the basis of her St Lucian birth! How low and politically degraded has Mr Arthur sunk!
The PEP’s simple and blunt message to Mr Arthur and the BLP is: “Stop it! Stop it, before you completely destroy your reputation and do irreparable damage to the Caribbean integration movement!”
Our party is also not impressed with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s persistent personal attacks on Mr Arthur! Unfortunately, Mr Stuart seems to have bought into the notion that our national politics centres around a little personal “beauty contest” between himself and Arthur, when what is required is nothing less than the establishment, by deeds and words, of a new, widely shared, sense of mission for our nation.
The times are too critical for an opportunity to set the nation on a new path to be wasted in that manner! The PEP is alerting Mr Stuart that if he does not act quickly to distinguish himself from the politically decadent, highly mythologised David Thompson brand of leadership, he will be drawn in and become complicit in the process of national degradation.
Our party is also concerned about the disservice that both the DLP and BLP are doing to the good people of St John. Contrary to what is being suggested by their platform effusions, the people of St John are not a backward, simple-minded, helpless group who require a nanny (female or male) to look after them!
Some 23 years ago PEP president David Comissiong wrote a NATION column in which he acknowledged the vibrancy and worth of the youth of St John and noted that “these young people have made it unmistakeably clear that they are ready, willing and able to play a fully active role in every conceivable area of our national life”. That was the calibre of the young people that the late David Thompson “inherited” in 1987. What did he do to unleash and facilitate those pent-up abilities?
Are Mara and Hudson capable of doing any better? What message do they have for the youth of St John and Barbados? What role do they see for themselves in helping Barbados to find a way out of the ideological, economic, spiritual and cultural quagmire that our country finds itself in?
These are the types of questions they must be required to answer!
• The PEP column represents the views of the People’s Empowerment Party. Email [email protected]