Anatomy of an effective vision
NOW THAT A DATE for the general election in Barbados has been announced, what should Barbadians expect from the two major political parties contesting the polls?
Already, the ruling administration is signalling to the voting public how it is going to conduct its campaign. The first major political rally organized by the ruling administration was designed to report to the electorate on what they have accomplished during the last five years in office.
Government must come up with new, innovative and creative ideas to stimulate and promote growth and development of the local economy.
The current administration is on record as saying that it will neither privatize state-run entities nor lay off public servants. However, Government cannot continue to adopt a wait-and-see attitude.
Instead, it has to be proactive and present to the voting public well considered policies and programmes that are believable and implementable over the next five years.
Surely it will not be enough to continue claiming that it has done well under very trying circumstances while accusing the former administration of mismanaging the economy.
In a similar vein, the Opposition must focus on what policies it intends to bring to the table as alternatives to those the ruling administration is proposing. These measures have to be consistent with the reality facing the country and must be growth- and development-oriented.
Indeed, the Barbadian public is looking for solutions to the social and economic challenges confronting them at this critical juncture. They need to know going forward how the next Government intends to address the major issues confronting the country.
Despite the best efforts of the current administration to deal with some of the social issues facing the country, the recent poll has revealed quite clearly that the electorate is mostly concerned with the high cost of living, the elevated level of unemployment, and the state of the local economy.
If these are the most important issues to those who eventually will decide the outcome of the election, wouldn’t it make good sense for each of the major political parties contesting the polls to focus its campaign strategies on matters of an economic nature? I would certainly think so.
Therefore, are we going to see a campaign that is dominated by a discussion about stimulus versus austerity? Is the Opposition going to stick to its guns by continuing to promote the policies that it has already articulated? Is Government determined to continue following measures set out in its Medium Term Fiscal Strategy?
Only time will tell if and how these questions will be answered, but one thing is sure: the electorate expects clear solutions to the economic challenges facing Barbados and will vote accordingly.