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EDITORIAL: The people have spoken

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: The people have spoken

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The Barbadian electorate has spoken.
And while it certainly was not loud and clear in yesterday’s poll, there is an outcome which favours Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and his Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
Congratulations to them.
Indeed, even though the DLP would have won by the closest of margins, the victory is a huge one for Stuart and gives some credence to his argument that the Democratic Labour Party, when awakened, is not only a giant but can astonish many by its performance.
The victory not only defied the public opinion polls that victory was the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP), but ensured that Stuart and his party did not suffer the ignominy of being the first one-term Government in Barbados as many had predicted.
Indeed, the general election did go “down to the wire”, just as the poll published in the last SUNDAY SUN suggested.
One of the big questions on the minds of many across the island today will be the veracity of the CADRES opinion polls which saw a big swing in favour of the BLP, giving it the edge for victory. In the end the only poll which mattered was yesterday’s poll of the people when they marked their X.
Even though we were aware of the importance of a number of marginal seats on the possible outcome of the vote, it is quite evident that what took place yesterday on the ground proved the point that elections are won on the day.
While both parties had their machinery well oiled and battle-ready, the DLP clearly did what was necessary to pull off a stunning victory, capturing 16 of the 30 seats with one still to be declared.
Stuart must be conscious, despite the vote being in his favour, that his administration should not expect any honeymoon from an intolerant electorate which now demands and expects much more from their Government. So this new DLP administration must come good on the programmes outlined in its manifesto and the promises made on the platform.
Barbados’ problems are towering and need urgent remedy. Stuart and his team are well aware of them. What is needed is urgent action to halt the economic slide and a turnaround of fortunes. They must deal with the island’s unsustainable level of debt and maintain investor confidence.
Yesterday’s vote and, indeed, the results show that people understand more about the system of politics and the nuances of the behaviour of the politicians than we sometimes give them credit for.
The people elect governments to do their business and expect elected representatives to bend their efforts to solve national problems, rather than engage in pitch-forked battles about personal political agendas!
There are many lessons to be learnt and the most important of all is that the people will use their power of the ballot to remind any group of ministers that they are, first and foremost, servants of the people and that public service is serious business.
Inter-party differences are to be settled away from public glare since the people’s business must have absolute priority, given the complexity of the myriad problems faced at the individual and national levels.
This election has produced an intensity of campaigning not seen previously and the level of personal invective reached a higher plateau than in previous elections. We hope that this is not a harbinger of more personalized attacks in the future.
The people have spoken and it is now the duty of the elected servants of the people to faithfully execute their mandate.

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