BLP COLUMN: Silly election games
From the way Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has been repeatedly “mekking mock sport” at the Barbadian electorate over the naming of the date for the next general election, nobody would have thought that he was quoted on Page 22A of the SUNDAY SUN of December 5, 2010 saying: “From the time I was about age nine I was interested in politics”, followed on Page 23A of the same publication that: “I prepared myself painstakingly and thoroughly for political service.”
For with such a reportedly lengthy and extensive period of political self-preparation, it would have been reasonably presumed that Stuart, an ostensibly widely read politician, would certainly have been familiar with the very basic distinction in political science between the concept of “authority” and that of “legitimacy.”
Such knowledge by him should have prevented him from playing around with the feelings and intelligence of the public, since political literature states that while “authority” is imposed by the state from above through laws, rules and regulation and other such measures, on the other hand, “legitimacy” flows upwards spontaneously from among people.
So that while as Prime Minister he is fully and legally entitled to wield the power of the Constitution, by being aggrieved at this unprecedented trampling of their expectations Barbadians are morally justified in withdrawing from Stuart and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) the legitimacy that was their stamp of approval for being in office.
And such delegitimization of Stuart and the DLP did not occur overnight or over a single action, but rather came about over a fair length of time as the populace became more and more disenchanted with his pathetically failed leadership and their clearly demonstrated collective chronic inability to successfully manage the economy and provide the high quality of governance to which they had become accustomed over generations and which they had both come to demand and expect.
That is why instead of Stuart being seen by the electorate as politically astute through his constant repetition of what has always been known and accepted, namely, that constitutionally, the Prime Minister has the sole right to determine the election date, he is rather regarded as insensitively trivializing an informal but most fundamental principle of popular democracy in Barbados, namely, that general elections are to be routinely called within five years. That is the way it had always been until now.
In addition, Stuart’s political chest-thumping has created a stench of arrogance glaringly unsupported by a real or perceived record of governmental achievements, especially when this attitude is combined with his habit of uttering barbs designed to tear down opponents, rather than elevating his leadership standing by providing even slivers a vision to lead Barbados back to progress and prosperity.
The reality is that Barbados is not a basin of water and can no longer afford leadership that equates to the “I like playing up in water”, the puerile indulgence to which Stuart admitted on Page 16A of the SUNDAY SUN of November 28, 2010. No wonder the absence of strong, timely and decisive leadership over the economy, CLICO, Garcia, Alexandra and the Eager Eleven, among other matters.
Owen Arthur and the BLP are the decisive difference.
• Beresford Leon Padmore is a pseudonym for the Barbados Labour Party.