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OUR CARIBBEAN: DLP scales ‘second-chance’ political cliff

Rickey Singh

OUR CARIBBEAN: DLP scales ‘second-chance’ political cliff

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Various interpretations and analyses on the results of the February 21 general election will continue to be offered even after Prime Minister Freundel Stuart completes the selection of his Cabinet to help a second-term Democratic Labour Party administration cope with lingering serious social, fiscal and economic challenges facing this nation.
Not being either a political scientist or pollster, I remain interested in learning, as previously expressed in this column, why potential voters were not asked to respond to the simple question of whether they felt the time had come to end the two-term syndrome for an incumbent party.
The very close result has established that the Barbadian people could be quite forgiving and charitable to maintain a seemingly entrenched pattern of no less than two terms for a governing party.
Interestingly, the variations for more than a second term have been equally shared by the electorate with the traditional political thoroughbreds, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the Barbados Labour Party being given, under Errol Barrow and Owen Arthur, respectively, three consecutive terms.
We have been hearing much talk about which party had a more effective election campaign strategy. Stuart may well have contributed, initially, to the perceptions of being either unable or unwilling to assert leadership in a crisis situation.
In the height of the three-week campaign, however, he was to expose to Barbadians his capacity to blend a courted “congeniality” attribute with firm leadership quality.
It bears emphasis that Stuart’s constant recital of his confidence in a “Dems-again” victory did much to inspire the party’s rank and file. It reawakened the “die-hard Barrowites” into ensuring victory for an incumbent that started out looking weak to scale the political cliff for a “second chance”. Mr Stuart had some four years to consider his options, whether in relation to his Cabinet or the positions of Deputy Prime Minister (not a constitutional requirement) or Minister of Finance.
I do share the views of Barbadians, across the political divide, that the Prime Minister owes it to his personal integrity and that of this “second chance” DLP administration to set his face firmly against the vulgarities of vote buying that occurred on election day.
For now, without knowing whether the flamboyant Chris Sinckler will remain Minister of Finance, it’s relevant to mention that some credible sources think that Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell did well by his timely public interventions, in particular at critical periods within the past two years, on fiscal policies.
• Rickey Singh is a noted Caribbean journalist.