ALL AH WE IS ONE: Amateur Donville
[A]s a politician in this country, I condemn what is going on in Venezuela. David Comissiong and all his friends ’bout here who like to preach the gospel of Venezuela, I ask them to pack their bags, get their passports and move to that country. – Donville Inniss, Cabinet member, Barbados.
THE ABOVE COMMENT by the Minister of Commerce provides further proof of the proliferation of amateurism as a now everyday feature of Caribbean and global politics.
This new age of the amateur politician has led to the election of businessman Donald Trump, as United States president, who did not understand the concept of One China, and who has expressed surprise that the American Civil War was not resolved through dialogue. He has been stoking the fire of nuclear war barely 100 days into his term.
In the case of Barbados, it is personified in Donville Inniss, who has assumed that the path to prime ministership is to say anything which appeals to the narrow clique to which he has opportunistically hitched his wagon, and to make comments which go against the thinking of his Cabinet or fall outside his ministerial remit.
The above quote is typical of the cavalier manner with which he treats his role as a policymaker in a sovereign state in a world of sovereign states.
It would be interesting to see the response of the Prime Minister of Barbados, if an enterprising journalist were to ascertain whether Inniss’ comments are reflective of his Government’s policy towards Venezuela.
Indeed, the fact that only Inniss, and not the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs or any other official, has made such a statement is a telling indication of the differences in the understanding of the responsibilities of public life which separate Inniss from the rest.
It is comical that Inniss, a second-tier minister in a small Caribbean state ranked amongst the world’s most highly indebted countries, has assumed the right to pronounce on the internal politics of Venezuela, merely to attack David Comissiong, a regionally respected personality, who has emerged as a major critic of his Government.
To stand on his shaky Caribbean perch to attack a significant regional sovereign state merely to embarrass a local rival reveals poor judgement and amateurism at its worst.
It is doubtful that Inniss has an understanding of Venezuela beyond CNN. Erroneously, he assumes that a parliamentary seat is a licence to speak.
Of deeper interest to Barbadians is how Inniss proposes to address the deep economic crisis. His views on Venezuela are worth no more than those of the average caller to the radio talk shows.
As for Comissiong, based on his past and continued work, it is likely that he will be a fixture of Caribbean public life, long after the name of Donville Inniss becomes a faded memory.
•Tennyson Joseph is a political scientist at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, specialising in regional affairs. Email: [email protected]