Submitted by Dave Random
If there is stability in the Barbados economy and in Barbados – at a time when there is rioting in Greece; other parts of Europe, in America and in the Middle East – it is because there is stability within the ruling Democratic Labour Party. That has as much to do with the steady-hands of the present young Minister of Finance (in extremely difficult times) as it has to do with the confident innovative leadership-style of the present Prime Minister.
In contrast, the disunited Barbados Labour Party held its Annual Conference over the weekend (October 28-30) which (based on reports) ended with the BLP even more divided than before the Conference. If under it present leadership and given the type of politics being practiced, they cannot manage their own affairs, how can they manage the affairs of Barbados?
If you go in the supermarket, you are likely to run into someone still complaining to anyone who would listen that the atmosphere was like a funeral service in the Anglican Church and since pictures do not lie [Barbados Today Special Edition] it is mind-boggling how there could have been so many empty seats, when the delegates (who obviously stayed away in ‘loud-silent protest’) were all carefully handpicked, for a reason, leaving many to conclude that they agree with the approach taken by Mia Mottley and support her crusade to change course and the path that BLP is now on. How can you fault people who believe that there is hope and that better is possible? The article by Sir Roy Marshall published in the Sunday Sun of October 30th 2011 – under the caption: Strengthening Democracy  should be compulsory reading for all Barbadians.
If there is one thing about Barbadians, it is that they respect democracy and seriously resent seeing anybody get “unfair.” Since everything about the BLP’s recent Conference was pre-determined, with there even being elections without voting – it was foreseeable that the only perceived excitement would have been the speech by Arthur, except that it is equally well known that he has a trademark way of repeating himself and forgetting that he said the same thing many times before. And, judging from what I heard on VOB, Sunday was no different.
But there are a few things, which Owen Arthur said (based on newspaper reports) that can only be described as political comedy. He made reference to a BNOC combined profit of $110 million and used that as the basis for his announcement that a future BLP government will give a $35 million ease on electricity bills. This is pure smoke and mirrors because while he seems determined to continue his welfare politics of the past – he carefully side-stepped the real issue and that is that he left a massive BNOC debt of some $80 million, which still has to be paid.
Arthur alleges that the economy is in crisis and getting worst, yet made the announcement that on returning to government, he will ensure that persons earning $80,000 or less will pay income tax at 20%. Does Barbados need more welfare typed Owen Arthur politics of the past or a new politics for the future? This brings me to the main point I want to make. Arthur said that he is in no contest with anyone for leadership. But how could anyone in a modern Barbados, even contemplate following his model when his is the politics of the past and a style, which says that the leader must be feared?
Was it the apology of a man who (after a whole year) had nothing new or progressive to report? After 14 years as leader of the BLP, and after wrestling power from Mia Mottley on October 18th 2010 and now in a recession where it sent home card-carrying BLP workers from its headquarters – it would seem that Owen Arthur told party members that the BLP is NOW functioning ‘better than ever.’ Unbelievable, because the BLP is divided and more so now, than any time in its history. Then, as expected, Owen Arthur’s trademark attacked on Mia Mottley came!
It would appear that at a meeting held at the Bay Primary School (prior to the Conference) she made the patriotic called for a Joint Select Committee of both House of Parliament to discuss the matter of Transfers and Subsidies. But Arthur shot down the idea. The reason is simple: if Sinckler gets its right, Arthur is no longer relevant.
It is in Owen Arthur’s personal interest for Sinckler and the DLP to get it wrong or to appear to the public to be getting it wrong on the economy. Arthur wants no talk about unity or cooperation in the national interest because his thinking seem to be that there can be no Barbados without him. It is that divisive and tribal approach Barbadians hate most about politics and wants to rid the country of. Now is the time for national unity and shared sacrifice but Arthur wants to rule by fear and favour, even in Opposition.
If he cannot unify the BLP, how can he unify Barbados? How can the BLP be ready if there is such disunity, with the present leader attacking the past leader, every opportunity he gets? In contrast, despite there being social unrest all over the globe, the Barbados economy and the the country is stable with the DLP, which is demonstrating that Barbados is a society and not just an economy.