Oh, for another political party!
I AM FED UP with the inertia of this Government and of hearing the Opposition’s promise that they will do better than to display the arrogance and apparent squandermania they became known for just over five years ago.
What we need in Barbados is a new political party; one that will not dither on important decisions, that will have no other agenda but to improve the lives of the people of Barbados and whose raison d’etre will not be based on the betterment of the “too-few”.
It is too recent in my memory for me to think of returning to an administration which was in the process of selling off this country to the highest bidder and putting ordinary Barbadians on track for a 21st century version of the plantocracy.
It truly makes me wonder how mature we are as a democracy; in fact, it tells me that we are not at all a mature democracy when we have a situation where no other options exist but to make the best of a bad situation at this time.
You don’t know if by removing the current administration you’re simultaneously allowing someone to insult your intelligence by telling you they’re putting money into your pocket but putting absolutely nothing into securing your future. What is money in my pocket when my most valuable assets, mainly land, are being sold off? That, dear reader, is not prosperity.
By the same token, you don’t know if by staying with this Democratic Labour Party administration you’re consigning yourself to five more years of indecision or a legacy based on renaming schools and destroying school “culture” across Barbados.
I honestly would like to see a new political party untainted by old agendas and willing to deal with the genuine concerns of the people in an effective way, without raising eyebrows regarding political patronage and strange legacies.
When I look at this Government, I see a leader who means well but takes his time making decisions, and while I understand that weighty decisions come with the territory, he can’t be just cool when those he promised to protect are calling on him to act.
And when I look inside his party, what do I see but latent frustration and infighting that is on hold for now, particularly among the Eager 11?
Speaking of unity, though, the Barbados Labour Party is even more divided; and I shudder to think how Mia Mottley will fit in, or not, if there is a change of Government. Has she truly been embraced by her leader, and if he as a tiring elder cannot give adequate leadership over the next five years, will he foist upon the people Clyde Mascoll who, while being a solid economist, has long been rejected by the people?
Mottley would be a signal of hope since she has the charisma and energy needed to lead Barbados into the future; but might her appointment as deputy leader not split the BLP right down the middle again?
And when I look at most sitting members of the Opposition, do they assure me of a bright future or do I see quasi-retired MPs biding time?
Source of humour
When I see, for instance, Gline Clarke, who has decidedly reduced himself to an immense source of humour in the House, I wonder if this is an example of what we should look forward to in terms of seniority in public life. But the conduct of his leader – rushing out of Parliament as soon as prayers are ended every Tuesday morning – leaves just as much to be desired.
Is this a way to treat nearly three decades of voters’ loyalty?
No one should be looking at Barbados’ Parliament and seeing hopelessness; or seeing no alternative but to make the best of a bad situation. It resembles two teams playing badly on a field, and while the result matters to diehard fans, as far as the general spectators are concerned it is a shoddy game.
That is how I see the political climate in Barbados as 2012 draws to a close.
And while historically both parties have managed well and kept the country punching above its own weight, at this time those who will vote for the Dems can only hope the dithering stops, while those who will vote for the BLP must hope it can change its spots after witnessing what may well be the country’s first one-term Government. Meanwhile, the economy continues to haemorrhage private sector jobs, with no sign of relief on the horizon.
When the election bell is rung after the St John Polyclinic is finally opened, we shall see.
• Ricky Jordan is an Associate Editor of THE NATION.