EDITORIAL: ‘Third parties’ must come good
THE ADVENT of an apparent surfeit of so-called “third parties” in recent weeks and months, accords with the fact that Barbadians will vote for a new government in another 12 or so months.
The timing of emergence by these neophytes reflects poorly on the shrewdness of their leaders, reeking of a desire to grab for power because of the soon-coming vacuity.
Further, the successful emergence of two American candidates, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, who last year captured and exploited the sentiment of despair among large sections of the voting population, both on the right and on the left, is another strange concurrence that should not impress any Barbadian voters who choose to take a second look at these, our new local political entrants.
Pundits in Barbados speculate on the significance of this naked clutch for popular attention, not because of propitious timing nor the United States precedent, but because there is an emergent sense among voters here that the country is lumbered with a choice between Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum, representing the Democratic Labour Party and the Barbados Labour Party.
These two political entities, sometimes referred to as the two great parties of the island, have, between them, have administered the affairs of Barbados for better or for worse, since the wide availability of the plebiscite and self-government, but now a view is emerging that perhaps the country deserves wider options.
The last serious so-called “third” political party, the National Democratic Party, which sought to ride on the backs of discontent within one political party, the Democratic Labour Party, failed to impress the electors of Barbados and died of natural causes after about 10 years of painful disenchantment.
Indeed, the DLP itself, which was an offshoot of the Barbados Labour Party following dissatisfaction with the leadership of Grantley Adams, is the only political unit to have shadowed internal discontent and gone on to achieve electoral success. Even then it was no stroll in the park Errol Barrow, Cameron Tudor, Frederick Smith et al.
Any group of persons in this new century that is honestly bent on transforming the economic and social realities of the people of Barbados through the traditional political process will be required to prove that they have a sound ideological perspective and that they are joined at the head, heart and hip in a common cause based on a set of principles to which they universally adhere.
We have not seen much evidence of that in the recent mouthing of those who profess to be worthy of the consideration and support of voters.
In the context of the political season that is upon us, perhaps the most ridiculous contemporary example of this unclothed political adventurism is the ill-considered expression of interest emerging from a slate of political has-beens and dreamy hopefuls who failed to achieve the legitimacy of approval as candidates for the Barbados Labour Party in its selection process last year.
They seem to have been tenuously strung together solely on the basis of rancorous displeasure over their approval deficit in that nomination process.
If the people of Barbados are to escape the clutching grasp that the DLP/BLP axis holds on the voting population, then electors deserve to be offered substance. Anything other offering makes a mockery of our democracy and is a poor reflection on the sophistication and discernment of a people said to be the most literate in the Caribbean.