Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group.
The Mahogany Coconut Group, cannot in all honesty, endorse either the ruling Democratic Labour Party or the Barbados Labour Party in the recently announced General Elections of February 21, 2013. We remain steadfast in our position, that neither party has the intellectual capacity or the political will to engineer progressive socio-economic reform. However, we respect the right of the populace to vote and we will be the first to offer critical support to any party, organization or individual, who come forward with suggestions and or positions to enhance our national and Caribbean well-being. However, we are cemented in our belief, that we are governed by a very sophisticated one party state. In other words, “six of one and half dozen of the other!”
Against this background we offer some of the policies we will support in the interest of national development:
We believe that there can be no real or sustainable change without the radical reform of the educational system. We therefore call for the abolition of the Common Entrance Examination. We will replace the current system with continuous assessment so as to identify the skills sets and educational strengths of our children. Too many of our children are falling through the cracks because of the elitist approach to education;
Land Use Policy
We call for an immediate ban on the sale of land to non-citizens. In recent years we have seen the increase in land prices because of unregulated speculating. This activity has resulted in citizens being denied the ability to purchase land and therefore have no real legacy to leave for future generations;
We call for the establishment of craft markets at all hotel plants,each to accommodate at least twelve vendors to sell their craft. The vendors would be chosen by a lottery which would be conducted by the hotels and a reputable firm of auditors. This would assist in restoring some form of economic activity by small business persons who have been systematically denied opportunity in the tourism industry.
Agriculture and Fisheries
We call for the establishment of a revolving fund of fifty million dollars to assist small farmers with ten or less acres and fisher folk with small/medium sized vessels in order to improve their operations. These funds should be loaned from the National Insurance Scheme. We call for the establishment of an Agriculture and Fisheries Fund Department to exclusively manage the fund.
We call for a National Primary School Arts festival. All performances should be filmed and marketed throughout the world. Outstanding students/performers should be given scholarships to further their Craft/skills. This festival should include calypso and steel drum (pan) performances in addition to all other activities.
We call for senators to be elected every two years and with term limits of six years or three terms. Candidates should be nominated by any civic group or organization registered by the state. Independent candidates will not be allowed. No more than one candidate should be nominated by each civic group. In cases where there is no clear winner, run-offs should be used to determine winners. The newly constituted senate will have the right to vote on all government bills. Defeat in the senate will send the bill back to the House of Assembly for further consideration. A bill can only be defeated by a clear two third majority in the new senate. The senate should comprise of no more than twenty four persons and the stipend paid should be no more than that necessary to cover travel to and from the senate. Senatorial campaigns should not exceed ten thousand dollars and the monitoring of such will be executed by an independent Senatorial Overview Committee whose members will not be paid but selected by the Government Opposition and Governor General.
We call on all Members of Parliament to declare their assets immediately. Failure to declare assets after six months in Parliament should lead to recall and new elections barring those who refuse or fail to declare their assets from being elected and or participating in any campaign
We call on both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour party to move Barbados to Republic status within one year after the date of General elections of February 21st. 2013.