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From The Archives: Editorial – Beyond The Party Lines

From The Archives

From The Archives: Editorial – Beyond The Party Lines

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THERE ARE OCCASIONS when adversary politics have no proper place in decisions taken either by a government or an opposition party. Far from that, there are times when disagreement can be politically self-defeating.

In the face of overwhelming public support for Barbados’ participation with Jamaica, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the United States of America in the Grenada rescue operation, it is difficult to see how the Opposition Democratic Labour Party could do anything except vote in favour of a parliamentary resolution tabled by Prime Minister Tom Adams on Tuesday.

To have done otherwise would not only have been to alienate a massive section of the electorate here, but would also have been a direct contradiction of a statement attributed to Opposition Leader Mr Errol Barrow long before the intervention look place.

Reacting immediately to the murder of Grenada’s prime minister, cabinet members and others, Mr Barrow issued a statement on the authority of his party’s executive committee, condemning the killings and calling for an intervention.

In the unfortunate absence from Parliament on Tuesday of Mr. Barrow, Deputy Opposition Leader Mr Erskine Sandiford read the text of that statement. It was a wise decision, considering the extent of public concern that nothing had emerged from the DLP since the military action.

This week’s supporting vote – which we believe was born out of genuine conviction rather

than mere political expediency – will go some way toward repairing any possible damage to the DLP’s image as a result of its long silence since the intervention.

But although Mr Sandiford’s speech sometimes drifted unnecessarily into partisan rhetoric, he did manage to submit an important piece of advice to the government.

A responsibility of no small magnitude rests with the Adams administration to try to repair Barbados’ own image internationally after all the misunderstanding confusion and betrayal associated with the action taken on October 25.

Secrecy before a military action is ·understandable. Indeed, it is imperative. Failure to mount an adequate United Nations lobby afterwards cannot be so easily explained, not when we have ambitions about things like a seat on the Security Council and leadership of the Organisation of American States.

While we do not agree with Mr Sandiford that Barbados’ ambitions in the international for a are necessarily incompatible with our own domestic development, we are bound to concede that Barbados does not deserve the awful image  portrayed of it by countries for whom human rights, freedom of speech and democracy are of nothing more than academic interest.

Understanding why Africans and Latin Americans – to say nothing of other political blocs – object to our role is no substitute for putting a better case early before .the international community. Indeed, it may be an excellent reason why we should.