THE PEP COLUMN: DLP has no sense of direction
We were utterly bemused when we learnt, a couple weeks ago, that the leadership of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was holding a “retreat” to make plans for the next general election.
And we were bemused simply because, up to now, we still can’t understand why exactly they contested the “last” general election! Indeed, some three years after the last general election we are still trying to work out what exactly the DLP has come to power to do! And now they are talking about the next election?
We would be extremely grateful if Messrs Stuart, Henry, Sinckler, Estwick or Kellman would condescend to inform us and other members of the Barbadian public what exactly – of a positive nature – they have come to power to accomplish.
Surely, they did not come to power simply to raise taxes and bus fares, and to cut back on social welfare entitlements? What precisely is it that they propose to do, that the previous Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Government was not already doing?
As perceptive Barbadians are aware, our party – the People’s Empowerment Party – along with the Clement Payne Movement, played a significant role in bringing about the removal of the BLP Government and clearing the path for an eventual DLP victory.
We were, and we remain, satisfied that the then BLP administration was a failing Government that deserved to be removed.
But in recent months we have been wondering whether a worse evil has not been inflicted on the Barbadian people.
At least the BLP administration had a positive regional policy based on championing the Caricom Single Market And Economy (CSME) and inculcating in the Barbadian people an enthusiasm for Caribbean integration. The new DLP Government, on the other hand, has exhibited and encouraged the worst aspects of a smug, insular, narrowminded brand of petty island nationalism that has severely set back prospects for regional unification.
It is clear to us that the DLP came to power in 2008 with no systematically worked out programme or philosophy. Indeed, we were aghast at the extent to which their election strategy was based simply on spending money on propagandist advertisements and public entertainments. We concluded that big business was assisting them to buy the election, and we were proved right!
And so, before we even begin to think about the next general election, this current crop of DLPites need to enlighten Barbadians as to who and what they are.
What are their ideas? Do they have any? What is their political philosophy? Do they believe in capitalism, socialism, neoliberalism, conservatism, pan-Africanism? What type of state do they favour, and how do they see the role of the citizen in relation to the state?
These are all basic political positions that should be made clear to the citizenry even before a political party comes to power.
What does Mr Stuart consider to be the next stage in the historical evolution of the Barbadian and Caribbean people, and what role is his Government to play in bringing it about?
• The PEP Column represents the views of the People’s Empowerment Party. Email [email protected]