PEP COLUMN: Between a rock and a hard place
The Barbadian people are truly “between a rock and a hard place”!
Tragically, they have tied themselves into a rigid two-party system, and now find themselves caught between a congenitally indecisive and unimaginative Democratic Labour Party (DLP) governing administration, and a facile, money-driven Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Opposition that lacks any sense of the fundamental, long-term interests of Barbados.
The DLP government, for example, does not have a clue as to how the Barbadian economy might be expanded, and is so lacking in basic economic understanding that it continues to borrow funds on a monthly basis to pay the salaries of civil servants! The BLP, on the other hand, is promising a crass capitalist menu of privatizations and social-welfare restrictions that can only subvert the nation-building enterprise.
The Peoples Empowerment Party (PEP) believes the traditional developmental paradigm of the past 50 years has virtually come to an end.
Unfortunately, DLP and BLP politicians, who are perpetually consumed with the goal of winning “the next election”, are incapable of the type of creative thinking and policy formulation required to take Barbados to the next level. These, however, are the only politicians that the electorate will vote into office. And so, we are forced to confidently – but forlornly – predict that Barbados is in for a period of national decline.
But the PEP has not given up on Barbados or on the Barbadian people. We have simply come to the realization that it will take a long-term effort to break apart the monolithic two-party structure that is currently stifling the nation, and that we will have to be prepared to diligently seek out civil society institutions and individual citizens that share our perspectives, and attempt to work with them in a manner that builds trust and solidarity.
One of the new initiatives for which we will be seeking out civil society collaborators is what we have designated as our “Latin American Hinterland Project”.
Barbados, we believe, can be conceptualized as a “city-state” in search of a “hinterland” (a large district that lies behind a city and that is a source of resources for the city). And clearly, one of the best candidates for the role of hinterland to the Barbadian city-state is the populous, rapidly industrializing, neighbouring region of Latin America.
The PEP is forging ahead with developing linkages and relationships with Latin America, and key to this effort is our relationship and rapport with Venezuela and its dynamic president Hugo Chavez.
Barbados should be positioning itself to perform critical functions and services for the new industrial economy that is being built in Latin America. Furthermore, Barbados should be a member of the Bolivarian Alternative For Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA) and the Petro Caribe Energy Cooperation Agreement, and should be seeking to engage with such visionary Chavista initiatives as “BancoSur” (the international Bank of the South) and TeleSur (the multi-territory television network of the South).
All Barbadian institutions and individuals who are interested in collaborating with the PEP on a “Latin American Hinterland Project” are encouraged to make contact with us.
• The PEP column represents the views of the People’s Empowerment Party.