EDITORIAL: Critical time in politics
Both houses of the Barbados Parliament have been constituted and the Throne Speech has been delivered as the new administration sits down to begin its business in what is going to be an interesting period of our parliamentary life.
One aspect of being a responsible paper is that we function as a paper of record; for in future generations researchers and others will no doubt draw upon our pages to ascertain what happened in our times and to read about our views and attitudes to those events which occurred at that time.
We note with pleasure that the Opposition is once again led by a female, and that the Deputy Speakership has been conferred on Mara Thompson, the widow of the former and late Prime Minister David Thompson. These appointments may be regarded by some as ordinary matters, but they speak volumes for the equality of sexes since it is one more assertion of a proper approach which holds that once a person is qualified for a position that person’s gender will not matter to right-thinking Barbadians.
Some may even point to British precedents in which females have held both these positions within the past 40 years. But as we congratulate both these females we emphasize that these appointments are not to be regarded as copycat. Well qualified females should regard these appointments as further evidence of a continuous levelling of the playing field.
The composition of the Senate is always of interest primarily because the choice of the independent Senators reflects some idea of the issues affecting the society, and while holders of the office of Governor General are not involved with day to day politics. As the Queen’s representative and as a servant of the public interest the holder must be “au courant” with the state of the country, and matters of moment.
In this context we note with interest the four additional appointments of Dr Trevor Carmichael and Mr John Watson, Mr Alwyn Adams and Mr Tony Marshall. The offshore financial sector, entrepreneurship and the development of small business and ongoing developments in education as well as business facilitation are all matters of prime everyday concern on which the candid considered opinion of such independent voices can only further enhance debates of the Upper Chamber.
These senators will sit at a time when issues of critical economic and social import will be open for urgent and serious discussion. These discussions will almost certainly mark out the map for this country’s immediate future in a world that is volatile as ever.
The members of both houses will have their hands full in considering and deciding on the critical issues of the day, and whatever decisions are reached in the lower House, we feel assured that all senators will make useful contributions. But we feel that the public at large will be more than keen-eared to hear the views of those independent senators who have been chosen for their knowledge and expertise on some of the burning issues of the day. We wish our Parliament well.