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NO LAUGHING MATTER: Mia and the 20%

Mac Fingall

NO LAUGHING MATTER: Mia and the 20%

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I do not belong to any political party and I have never aligned myself with any. I must admit, however, that I have been approached on behalf of three political parties to run on their tickets.
I have heard “politics” being described as a “blood sport”. I could never imagine that running a country and thereby being responsible, although temporarily, for the welfare of people’s lives, could be referred to as a “sport”. And sure enough “bloody” could never be a pleasurable experience. So the colloquial job description became a deterrent.
However, when one has the innate desire to help one’s fellowman or one wants to effect change, one could be tempted to become a politician.
My question therefore is, “is this the same rationale used by our politicians?” If not, what then was their desire and from what was it born?
We in Barbados, being of a passive mold, have always allowed the chosen Government or party to utilize the full five years allotted to them. Therefore, the elected officials have always accepted the job of parliamentary representative with that time span on mind. This reality does bring a sense of comfort even if it is a “blood sport”.
Suddenly, however, it seems as if the patience which the “elected opposition” used to exercise – because of respect for democracy and the passive nature of a people – is becoming a thing of the past. There appears to be an unaccustomed “urgency” for a change of power.
Mia Mottley’s demands for the resignation of the Prime Minister and the firing of the Minister of Finance – and giving a deadline – suggests to me that there is some “hurry” for new elections, which could obviously result in a change of Government.
My curiosity has demanded the question “why the hurry?” How could this be interpreted? How should this be interpreted? Is it a characteristic that should be of concern?
There is no doubt in my mind, and I believe also in other people’s minds, that Mia Mottley has displayed enough in her assignments as Minister of Culture and Minister of Education, and even as Attorney General, along with her general political contributions during debates, to indicate that she has the convincing potential to be a competent leader of Barbados’ Government.
So why the hurry? Is she afraid of time? I always thought that just as the Government had five years to administrate, so too did the opposition have five years to strategise, thus giving them the opportunity to better position themselves.
As a teenager, I attended the political meetings of all contesting parties and paid close attention to the “talk on the ground”. It was even that early in my journey that I realised Barbados has a 40-40-20 distribution in political support – 40 per cent BLP, 40 per cent DLP, and 20 per cent go with the “tide”.
I believe that today this is still the case. So then the next question is “how will the 20 per cent interpret the ‘hurry’”?
Will it be seen as being ambitious and just eager to get on with the country’s work? Or will be likened to Cassius whom Caesar described as having that “lean and hungry look”?
However it is interpreted, it is clear that the 20 per cent is the apparent key to the election, for the diehard “partyites” would prefer not to vote rather than vote for the other party.
The 20 per cent has no loyalty. All they need is perception.
So the 20 per cent might question the tactics of an opposition. Does an Opposition oppose because they are in opposition? Does the Opposition believe that they must oppose everything that the Government does or says?
Are we to understand that Government never does anything that makes sense to the Opposition? If that is the case, who does it reflect on?
I believe that if the Opposition were to agree with the Government on the things that make sense, then when they voice their disagreement and disappointment, we would then pay more attention.
If the opposition continues to oppose just because they are in opposition, it will always be seen in that light and would never taken seriously.
And how will the 20 per cent view a woman as the Prime Minister of Barbados? They might say that women have ruled countries before and successfully so.
Eugenia Charles in Dominica, Margaret Thatcher in Britain, Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, Golda Meir in Israel; and even right now in Brazil there is President Dilma Vana Rousseff and Trinidad has Kamla Persad Bissessar – so why not?
Women seem to have an innate ability to run “tings”. My mother was the minister of finance, agriculture, health, cut and contrive, and discipline.
I believe that most of the 20 per cent would have no problem with the ability of a woman as leader.
• Mac Fingall is an entertainer and retired secondary school teacher.