ALL AH WE IS ONE: Lawyer or politician
Whatever else future historians may debate about the Freundel Stuart Prime Ministership, there will be universal agreement that his failure to engage directly and decisively on the several burning questions confronting the Barbadian people will be the defining feature of his tenure. What may be debated is whether the Stuart’s approach is conscious strategy or personality flaw.
Stuart is fully aware that his approach has had the effect of alienating the Barbadian people, but instead of making the necessary political adjustments, he tends to present arguments in defence of his non-engagement.
It is this tendency to “explain” rather than to respond, which has earned the Prime Minister the unflattering reputation (to all but himself) of philosopher who tends to intellectualize the politics. This label is flattering to the Prime Minister since it gives him political cover by conveying the impression, not of non-action but of deliberateness.
Nowhere was this more clearly seen than in the Prime Minister’s response to the cry of large segments of the population hurt by the CLICO collapse, and eager to hear a reassuring (or any) word from their elected leader. Interestingly, Stuart discarded both the prime ministerial and the philosopher’s hat, and settled for that of the detached, cold, unhurried lawyer.
His claim that he could not respond to the CLICO issue because the report had not been formally submitted to his desk, is like refusing to declare as dead a rotting and putrid carcass because there is no death certificate as proof of death, or someone dying of thirst refusing a drink of water from a neighbour because he had not seen the title deed of the occupant offering the drink.
One is left to conclude, however, that the Prime Minster has refused to comment on CLICO, simply because he does not want to. He is experienced and wise enough to know that the world of politics and the world of law move to two wholly different rhythms. By introducing legal principles where political action was demanded was mere sophistry, and was to offer a stone to a man begging bread.
It is clear that CLICO is a source of major discomfort to the Government and no comment will be forthcoming unless an air tight position is adopted by the DLP think tank.
Indeed, proof that a party position of silence might have been agreed upon was seen in the fact that the Prime Minister was merely echoing a stance expressed by his Minister of Finance one day before.
Where political common sense elucidated a promise of a future comment from the Minister of Finance, the Prime Minister instead offered, not only legal obfuscation, but sought to verbally shoot THE NATION messenger.
As political strategy, it rates very poorly, since, whilst he might have bought himself time, no hope was offered to the people.