BU admits to being sympathetic to the platform message of the late Prime Minister David Thompson that on winning the government, he would usher in a new kind of governance in Barbados. The new dispensation would be driven by transparency legislation, a combination of Freedom of Information (FOI) and Integrity Legislation. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is approaching the end of its 5-year term and it is fair to say that nothing has changed. It is business as usual in Dodge.
Barbadians who walked the campaign trail last election should recall that one of the hot button issues was Hardwood Housing. The late Prime Minister shouted to Barbadians who stood in the ‘dew’ that “someone will have to pay for Hardwood”. Many political pundits opine that the Hardwood Housing issue was the weight that tipped the scale for many voters and in the process destroyed Clyde Mascoll’s political aspirations.
It is strange that the Harwood Housing matter has not been pursued with the same vigour by the media as CLICO. It is a governance issue and the principle is the same. Is it fair that the DLP would promise to do a forensic audit on Harwood Housing and four years later courtesy is not extended to Barbadians by way of a status update? The question remains, was a forensic report performed on Hardwood Housing? If a report was done is it reasonable to expect that unlike the CLICO forensic report, it would have been sighted by members of the government after 4-years in the making? What is the true story to be told about Hardwood Housing? Was it a non issue which was turned into a political football because of the Mascoll factor?
Who remembers on the floor of the House when Prime Minister Thompson thundered “Some measure of responsibility must be found. Anyone found guilty of any infelicities will be brought to justice”, He added “the fullest extent of the law will be brought to bear” whether the perpetrators were in “high office, low office or no office “What is left suggests that the taxpayers of this country will have to foot a huge bill”.
These were very serious and strong statements made by the late Thompson and should not be left hanging. The government needs to put this matter to bed. After years of haranguing the Arthur administration about the St. Joseph Hospital Report which cost taxpayers millions was that report made public also? Why do we allow elected politicians to treat us for fools?
Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart who has had the office of Prime Minister foisted on him has promised to enact the Anti corruption Bill before the general election bell is rung. Nothing has been mentioned about FOI. What is scary is that the government in waiting [Barbados Labour Party] has not been strident in its call to enact transparency legislation. Prime Minister Stuart has the opportunity to do what is politically and morally right by being the Prime Minister to enact transparency legislation. He has the opportunity to deliver on what late Prime Minister promised, to delivery a forensic on Hardwoods Housing.
BU will evaluate the performance of this government on issues which are life changing for the citizenry. Promises are comfort for fools.