BLP COLUMN: Xmas not so bright
Ever since the Owen Arthur Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration in the late 1990s pioneered the idea of celebrating Independence throughout the 30 days of November, Barbadians had grown accustomed to the psychological upliftment of that period of intense nationhood transitioning into the unmatched joyfulness that comes with the Christmas season.
However, the economic decline that followed the January 2008 Democratic Labour Party (DLP) election victory has intensified with each succeeding year to the point where all indications are that both individual Barbadians and businesses are facing the very real prospects of having to endure their gloomiest Christmas in recent memory, deprived as they have been of the 14 years of progress and prosperity they enjoyed under the BLP.
And this perceived grim picture has not been coloured by any chronic attitude of materialism but rather by the realization that the high quality and way of life to which they had grown accustomed because of sound and vigorous economic and social management policies of Arthur and the BLP, had been steadily and systematically minimized by the failed approach of the DLP governments under both the late David Thompson and Freundel Stuart, with the latter’s habit of very late or no action at all combining with increased taxation, ever rising cost of living, consistently reduced disposable income and crippling electricty, gasoline and diesel prices driving them into poverty and bankruptcy.
This growing and spreading national sense of despondency has been heightened by people’s observance of a Government whose primary concern, even at Christmas time, is not about putting money back into the pockets of people and the coffers of businesses by implementing an affordable stimulus after protracted austerity. Rather, it is obviously obsessed with the desire to create last minute illusions of activism and achievement on its part as it frantically grapples in the last days of its disastrous five years in office, with a record of outstanding failure that has been unlike that of any other Government in Barbados’ history.
So rather than benefiting from heightened economic activity, the country is being bombarded by an orgy of trivialization by Government in the renaming of virtually anything in sight, the sudden upsurge in the announcement of grand sounding programmes and the acceleration of pork barrel politics through financial supplementaries being frequently taken to Parliament, and the blatant use through the Rural Development Commission (RDC) and the Urban development Commission (UDC), of money from the Catastrophe Fund to improve housing for a few DLP faithful rather than the thousands still waiting for relief years after Tropical Storm Tomas.
No wonder then that the most fervent Holidays wish for Barbadians in general is that Stuart would for once hurry up and do something, namely call the general election which he can no longer postpone or avoid and which would allow them to give themselves their best gift of all, the opportunity to elect a new Government that would restore hope and optimism through changed policies that would put our country back on its traditional path of steady growth and development.
Based on proven recent success and announced policies of a future Government, the BLP has shown that it is a team equipped and competent to breathe fresh life into a country brought to its lowest by an incompetent and misdirected DLP.
People yearn for a new beginning and better days in the secure hands of the BLP team.
• Beresford Leon Padmore is a pseudonym for the Barbados Labour Party