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BLP COLUMN: Saluting Barbados

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

BLP COLUMN: Saluting Barbados

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BLP legacy (1999-2003): transformed the former Women’s Bureau into the Bureau of Gender Affairs; established the first ever Disabilities Unit to care for vulnerable members of society; and provided 75 physically challenged people with ramps and adapted bathroom facilities.
In a few?days’ time, Barbadians will celebrate our 45th anniversary of Independence, an event of which we should be justifiably proud. Contrary to the childish attempts of some Dems to distort history, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has always supported the attainment of nationhood, given the pivotal role it had played in laying the sound foundation for that development.
When the government changed in 1961, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) inherited a “fully self-governing” and virtually independent Barbados, for which the only responsibilities colonizing Britain had were for defence and foreign affairs. The only “fight” for Independence therefore was verbal, with the perpetual regionalist BLP advocating a drive for “independence within a federation” and DLP pushing for “independence alone”.
The BLP salutes all Barbadians for their sterling efforts over generations in contributing to the creation of the Barbados we enjoy today, confident that this tradition will be maintained for the benefit of future citizens and residents.
Nevertheless, the BLP fully empathizes with the rather subdued celebratory mood of the country towards the marking of Independence this year, heavily weighed down as we are by understandable preoccupation with the economic and social future of our land.
An outlook that would have been made gloomier by the recent announcement of Barbados’ continued downward slide in the estimation of the influential international ratings agency Standard & Poors.
Of course, this restraint would have been heavily contributed to by the shameful decision of the ruling DLP to make the national celebrations of Independence play second fiddle to its narrow partisan marking of the 50th anniversary of that party’s first general election victory of December 4, 1961. People are shocked that the DLP could have gone so far in pushing its “paramountcy of party” agenda by organizing a “week” of competing partisan activities to climax on November 29.
With the election anniversary being on December 4, the DLP could have easily respected the national tradition by staging events to culminate on that date, rather than on the night of November 29, hitherto greatly respected by other governments as the near sacred “night before Independence”. Instead, what we are getting this year is a “members only”-branded “DLP inaugural Independence Gala and Award Reception” on the lawns of Ilaro Court, the taxpayers’ funded official residence of the Prime Minister. Dumfounded Barbadians are wondering who will be paying for the electricity, water, staff overtime and other costs being incurred for the gala and reception.
Having seen the DLP chop and change a 40-year-old tradition with regard to the Independence Day Ceremonial Parade before making it a day event once again, people are naturally nervous about which next important national tradition will be savaged by the that party for naked partisan purposes. Barbadians certainly deserve better at Independence and year-round.