Manifesto WATCH

Stuart and Arthur, our political leaders in waiting

Stuart and Arthur, our political leaders in waiting

Whether you believe that the political manifesto of a political party is its intent to rollout certain policies if elected or that it is a social contract becomes an exercise in semantics. It is currently the preferred option which political parties have to outline a set of promises which they hope – if elected – to implement. In a growing democracy the electorate should have a reasonable expectation that a political party’s record over time should demonstrate the level of credence given to manifesto promises.

What is reprehensible is that with 10 days left to the 21 February 2013 both political parties continue to withhold manifestos (proposals) from the electorate as if it were a big secret. This is happening at a time when our tiny island continues to face unprecedented challenges posed by the global state of affairs. Both major political parties obviously see political tactics and gamesmanship being more relevant.  What does it say about us?

Until we achieve a higher level of maturity how we conduct political campaigns in Barbados the current reality which see political parties entertaining the party faithful and others looking for a good laugh will continue. Why would an intelligent electorate, and society, not demand from the candidates that they communicate their proposals to inform debate in the country well in advance of the election date? If ever there was a time in our history when we needed our politicians to depart from the same old same old the time is now surely. What does it say about us?

One is therefore left to ask, what has been the objective of the political campaigning so far? If both political parties and the handful of Independents have the national interest at heart, why not rush to deposit well articulated ideas and suggestions in the public space? The corn beef  style of campaigning described which served a purpose in the 60s and 70s cannot be relevant now. The irony is that more people, especially the youth, are becoming so cynical about politics and giving up their right to participate in our democracy? We have sunk billions into educating our people yet a significant chunk of our citizenry do not feel compelled to fully participate in our system of democracy. What does it say about us?

One manifesto item that will be of high interest to BU is how will both parties outline a media policy. This is a subject which is dear to the BU household. BU was conceptualized and given birth at a time when we detected deep hostility by Arthur and cohorts directed at the media in the 2006 to 2007.  In an information age it is evident significant institutional strengthening is required in the area of journalism and a supporting framework. Both parties should explore how resources can be strategically targeted at this segment which does not compromise its independence. It is 2013 and there is no vibrant body to represent media practitioners. What does it say about us?

Instead of discussing issues we have to witness politicians on both sides hurling abuse and otherwise vacuous statements at each other. However, in less than two weeks they will dress up in their finest Italian suits and enter the august chamber of parliament to assume the mantle of lawmakers. What does it say about us?

255 thoughts on “Manifesto WATCH

  1. I do not concur – Arthur tries to cherrypick his record. He is trying to trumpet the economic growth which occurred during the late 1990’s and compare it to the last 5 years when clearly the prevailing circumstances were considerably different.
    The BLP supporters keep saying do not mention the last 14 years but every BLP platform speaker nightly talks about the economy before the global economic downturn. Is that not looking back also?
    Arthur is not a new candidate coming with fresh ideas- many issues which he criticises are issues that he allowed to develop. However, he now has all the solutions for everything and worse yet, some on this blog are gullible enough to believe him.

  2. You don’t know me, so you do not know what my response was in 2008. Obviously, the strategy worked then because it was dirt that the opposition was able to dig up on the government.

    It was not a government that had five years to do something about the information it had on its opponents as is now the case.

    And you know something? Peter Wickham said there was a 1% improvement for both parties in the last week of the 2008 campaign (i.e., after Haggatt Hall). In other words, the die had already been cast and the much vaunted event had no effect.

    But, hey, you guys think it swayed voters, so go ahead and let’s see what happens.

  3. DavidB
    I am thrilled to let you know that the DIRT you refer to in 2008 is still around in 2013…… could have called it by its proper name……OWEN SEYMOUR ARTHUR !

  4. @fracutred and !
    a fraud, and dishonest intellect and a thief (in your words) are giving the DLP and its leader a serious run for their money in this elections…possibly even maybe standing a chance at retaining government after losign it only 5 years hence.

    What does that say about you all, the DLP and its campaign straegy with respect to winning elections, fighting for the people, communicating with the country and trumpeting your competence, past accomplishments and vision for the future???

    Think what you want about the BLP…but…something has to be clearly wrong with Barbados the DLP or both for you all to be in this political position when clearly the other side “isn’t wanted” and in many cases has been “found wanting.”

    What mirror image do you have of yourself?

    Just Observing

  5. @ Observing

    Prance around buddy boy. Not long to go now before Fruendel removes Owen’s head politically. A lot of wailing and crying Thursday next. However it’s going to take a while before the hiarchy of the BLP and the candidates themselves realize that the entire BLP campaign was nothing more than a show designed to make 3 people very very wealthy. One is former PM, one is deal broker who loves the BWA and foreign bank accounts and the other is a lawyer who thru his son has a lot of slot machines.

  6. @ Gabriel

    After having heard Bobby Morris’ comments on the 5.30 evening news on VOB, I am prepared to accept your rumour about a mighty wind force.

    24 to 6 you say?

  7. Fractured BLP
    I agree with you, the dirt the DLP spoke of is still around, minus, DT, you fooled the voting public once, i think it is foolhardy to try fooling them twice. Where is the nunerous forensic investigations the DLP were to carry out immediately after winning the elections in 2008? the Hardwood project, the abc over-runs, the $ 75,000,00 cheque? I,m ashame the the DLP could back 5 years after they were in government and try fooling the people with the same things all over again. We the electorate, want to know what the two parties will do for us over the next 5 years, not what the BLP did 5 or 10 years ago. To date the only party that seem to have a plan, is the BLP, the DLP has still not stop canvassing since pre 2008

  8. How do you guys think Freundel’s comment about people who need money getting it from drug dealers and criminals is playing?

    I understand what he was trying to say, but he said it very badly.

    People are going to remember that statement like how Lammy Craig’s Douglas Leopold Phillips statement is etched forever in people’s minds.

  9. fractured BLP
    the dlp is catching at straws, imagine the dlp head of NOW telling Arthur to reinstate MIA to position she never had, yet she is not calling on Michael LASHLEY to reinstate her to the position SHE had and was dismissed.

  10. Fractured BLP …you are so fractured that you are all over the place and not making any sense AT ALL! Take a break, chill and take a pill. Come back after the 21st.

  11. So Chris Snickers has done what OSA asked him to do, to apologise to June Fowler. Lawd what a bunch these Desperate Lunatic Party members are. They are sooo pathetic, Fumble is PLEADING with the people to vote for Sealy, imagine PLEADING to the people, sounds like a man clutching at straws indeed.

    DavidB …I heard his stupid comments about people who need money should go to the drug dealers, such stupidity. He is putting more nails in the DLP’s coffin. He should be asked to SHUT his mouth, it is running like a sick person’s behind.

  12. I was in B’town today and I heard a man tell a woman, “don mine you, you like a bare pooch cat.” I hope Sinckler live long enough to degrate saying those words to a decent God fearing LADY like June Fowler. The morals of this country gas sunk to its lowest.

  13. What you DEMS do not get is that the cheque affair is already “priced in” to people’s perceptions of Owen.

    Thus, with all his flaws, he is still regarded by far as the better option to lead Barbados at this time.

  14. I’m still trying to understand this $75,000 cheque thing after nearly 10 years since the cheque was deposited and drawn and 5 years since it was exposed to the eyes of the public by David Thompson.

    Caswell Franklin, on this blog, made an attempt to explain it but even then It was not clear what had actually happened and who was the culprit and if it actually pointed to illegal wrong doing on OSA’s part. Based on Caswell Franklin’s input, the basic facts seem to be as follows;

    1) A managers cheque of $75,000 was deposited on Owen Arthur’s personal account at that bank about 2 weeks before the date of the General election of 2003.
    2) Owen Arthur withdrew the $75,000 in cash on the day of the Elections
    3) Owen Arthur won the Elections
    4) All the above transactions were private and presumably legal.
    5) a bit over 4 years later, on the eve of the 2008 elections, David Thompson, used the cancelled Manager’s Cheque of 2003 at Haggatt hall to claim dishonesty, etc. by Owen Arthur. A claim which it would appear that most people, including me accepted. It should be noted that the transaction and cancelled cheque should have been a priveleged one outside of the public domain and would only be available to someone with impeccable connections to the bank and to the CLICO group, ergo DT.
    6) Caswell claims that the whole affair was a trap for a greedy OSA but do the facts and reasonable inferences therefrom support that.

    Could Caswell or anyone else explain what a leader of a party would most likely be doing with $75,000 in cash on an election day?
    Could it be that 75,000 dollars divided into 30 constituencies represents about 3,500 dollars per constituency or chicken feed when one considers the legal activities of transportation of aged voters and other logistical expenses that must take place on election days? Given the 100 dollar inducements that have always been rumoured to be standard practice on Election day for both political parties and which no one has ever been able to document, if one assumes that the 75K was for legal payments for election day logistical expenses there does not seem to be much room for such payments.

    While at it, could they also explain why Owen Arthur would appear to have cashed the entire $75,000 and not leave some of it for his personal use on his personal account if he was as corrupt as DT was then claiming and which is still being claimed today on this thread today?

    Does the whole incident, if anything, suggest a machiavellian mind and intent on the part of DT even more so than a lack of integrity by OSA?

    I only know the aspects of the story as given on this blog by Caswell. Perhaps he and others can correct me where I’m wrong and point out how the cheque incident actually indicates a serious flaw in the area of integrity by OSA that was outside the normal practice of election campaign financing by both parties in Barbados.

    What is really needed is a total revamping of the electoral financing system with Government footing the entire bill for both parties and having no tolerance for parties or individuals who thumb their noses at the law. Perhaps it is not too late to hope for such changes in the next silly season when, with likely islandwide access to the world wide web, the partisan political messages can be easily and cheaply beamed out to individual households and interest groups and there should also be another plus where messages could be vetted by an independent body for certain aspects of their content.

  15. @ David:

    I have some reservations about the BLP’s energy policy going forward as summarized in the manifesto.
    Although it is, on the face of it, intended to bring some relief in the cost of electricity to business enterprises and domestic households still on the grid without impairing the financial viability of the BL&P its needs some serious tweeting if it is to satisfy the twin objectives of reducing the COL and at the same time synchronizing with the policy of supporting a ‘green and sustainable’ economy.

    A cap or governor should be placed on the amount of electricity subject to any “controlled” pricing mechanism. We cannot have a ‘free-for-all-situation’ for domestic consumers in which wasters of energy can avoid financial penalties for their profligate habits.

    A cap or limit must be placed on the amount of electricity a notional ‘average’ household can benefit from this ‘ease-in-the-pocket’ proposal. We should not incentivize people to use more electricity than they absolutely need. Households which require in excess of, say, two hundred of kilowatt hours to run should ask if there are not areas to really cut back on.

    The BLP must also establish a policy position regarding the number and fuel consumption habits of the ML & MP vehicles in this small tropical land. Why do we need so many large engine capacity vehicles using expensive imported fossil-based fuels?

  16. islagal i know that would attract ytour igrunt side. you are so predictable. Well on that score maybe you can say that OSA is Barrabas .

    • @Miller

      Agree with you. The policy feeds a growing consumption behaviour which does nothing to resolving the real issue.

  17. AC sweetheart….I know you so well that I knew who you were talking about. You are now insulting your dear Jesus and Obama.

  18. check it out . i don’t know why it is so hard for you to understand that a cheque of such amount even though written to OSA was to depositede into the account of campaign tresury and deposited into the campaing personnalbank acount even if OSA was in charge of such affairs , Putting it into his personnal account stinks to high heavens.

  19. david B where did you comeup with such an insulting solgan”competence with flaws” wuh dam there is nothing competent about the likes of OSA who in good times did not have the vision to put barbados on a self sufficient path.but rather gavethe people a false sense of security for which they are now paying.

  20. @ David | February 15, 2013 at 7:54 PM |

    Mind you, my contribution is merely constructive criticism and feedback to the BLP key policy-makers who read this blog.
    The recommended adjustments should be taken into consideration if the BLP is given the chance as the government to implement the manifesto proposed policy in the coming months.

    But we shall await the DLP manifesto position on fossil-based energy costs to make a fair comparative analysis before further comment.

  21. @ Check It Out!

    It is clear that some people think that something fishy went on and some saw the transaction for what it was.

    No way the withdrawal of $75,000 in cash on election day could have been for any other purpose but to finance election day activities as you rightly pointed out.

    The point is that there is/was a negative perception among many about the cheque. Yet, against that backdrop, people still favour Owen. That’s what I meant when I said the effect of the cheque has already been “priced in” to people’s perceptions about Owen.

    Which brings me to the DEMS advertising strategy. I don’t know who their consultants are, but I get the impression that they are party insiders who are wearing backyard avian blinkers.

    Why would they think that the ad from 2008 on Page 40 of the Weekend Nation could possibly be relevant now?

    People made up their minds about this, one way or another, since 2008.

  22. @ millertheanunnaki there is no effective practical energy policy that can be implemented in Barbados by any political party.

    Energy consumption will decrease when the decline in forex negates the ability to purchase oil and gas.

    Bajan politicians are reactive not pro active.

  23. To Check It Out and DavidB:
    This is simple. If Michael is my enemy and Peter is my bosom pal and I gave Michael $75,000.00. Do tell me how much would I give my pal Peter? How about $3.3 m?

    • Michael Carrington and the PM Stuart gets along better than most, no doubt this is Carington pandering to the minority vote in his constituency by leveraging the relationship.

  24. I see Bees and Dees are out canvassing the Muslim vote, with the prime minister making a special journey to a local Mosque. Has he made this journey to local churches? So diversity is now the answer to our social problems?

  25. David | February 16, 2013 at 2:10 AM |

    The DLP Manifesto does NOT disclose where it was printed that we can see.

    you notice that too? oh Dear, oh Dear.

    i could be wrong but where in the DLP manifesto does it deal with the cost of living?

  26. To the DLP bombardiers, what happen wid wunnah bombs that wunnuh was supposed to explode last night at the meeting that was gine devastate the whole of the BLP? Wunnah fuse did damp?

    The point is that the closer it gets to election day, the less credible any revelations of wrongdoing would be. It is a flawed strategy anyhow, but I was looking forward to the fireworks.

  27. @ David:

    I am a bit confused on some of the DLP’s policies regarding the country’s dependency on fossil-based fuels in relation to the expansion of RE and Transportation.
    Maybe you can help shed some light on the issues:

    On the one hand we have set out at page 31 the lofty goal and environmentally mandatory plank or base of any “green’ economy and sustainable living:
    “Reduce CO2 emissions, reliance on fossil
    fuels, and cut electricity consumption by
    significant amounts”.

    But on the other hand we have the addiction of feeding the biggest enemy to our environment and promoting the continuing dependence on fossil fuels to provide our energy. Just examine the two proposals below as highlighted under the RE policy / programme heading:

    “Have the Barbados National Oil Co Ltd use
    its profits from crude oil production to
    explore for more oil and gas reserves and
    expand production of oil and gas as such
    reserves increase;”

    “Explore with Trinidad and Tobago the
    construction of a natural gas pipeline linking
    Trinidad and Tobago to Barbados;”

    Why not use the existing “excess” profits to finance further penetration of RE to the ordinary household and small businesses. We were also of the view that the gas pipeline project had already passed the “exploratory” talks stage and an implementation agreement with T&T was already in the pipeline (pun intended).

    Now let us turn to Transportation a large consumer of imported based fuels.

    “Source buses powered by renewable energy
    for the Barbados Transport Board;”

    “Reduce the operating costs of the Transport
    Board by sourcing electric and hybrid buses,
    which can be powered from renewable energy

    “Provide fiscal incentives to induce private
    sector vehicles that finance renewable energy;”

    (A bit confusing, but!)

    Although long overdue such doable policy directives should be commended.
    But the following queries need to be raised:

    Where is the financing going to come from? Certainly not borrowed from overseas on the open market given our junk bond status?

    Will bus fares have to be raised if overseas funding is secured from a financing source supporting climate change related projects?

    Can some of the profits from BNOC be used to offset the high cost of purchasing RE running buses when compared to the existing diesel driven motors?

    Why not start with the upgrade and conversion of the existing fleet?

    How does this policy of a revised Transport system based on RE translate itself into savings to taxpayers who are currently footing the astronomically high operating bills incurred by the Government’s massive fleet of ML & MP vehicles?

    Where are the plans to reduce or convert vehicles use in the public sector or assigned to senior officials from fossil-based to RE?

    A government must always lead by example if private sector players are to buy into any RE revolution.

  28. this is a joke. DLP is not ready. if they somehow won the elections on the 22nd they would not know what to do. they don’t have a plan for the country.

    this is disturbing because the DLP was to be one of the two leading political parties in this country.

  29. @David (not BU) | February 16, 2013 at 8:02 AM |
    “i could be wrong but where in the DLP manifesto does it deal with the cost of living?

    What about the CLICO debacle? Unless accidentally missed there is no policy position on the biggest problem affecting the integrity of our financial system, investment climate and confidence in our system of governance and the administration of justice.

    But here is another jokey proposal that can be put in the same category as the 2009 budgetary proposal to impose a $4.00 per month levy on pre-paid cell phones.

    “Reduce the cost of internet and broadband
    access to households by providing an income
    tax deduction of up to $2,000 for domestic
    internet and broadband” (Page 41)

    Don’t the DLP policy makers realize that nearly all Barbadian taxpayers and householders who can take full advantage of this tax break already have internet and broadband services?

    What about those taxpayers whose incomes fall below $25,000 and not paying income tax? How would they benefit from this condescending gesture?
    Why perpetuate the ICT divide between the already IT literate and those on the periphery and reflected in the tax concessions apartheid system?

    Would it apply to those using mobile services?

    Would that $2,000 apply as a one-off deduction or would it be an annual deduction to cover monthly payments for the same broadband service?

    On the whole a poorly thought out set of proposals in some areas with no mention of financing implications.

  30. Poorly compared to what?b what are ctalking abiut here GIVEAWAYS and ar raid on the TREASURY! any govt who is serious about moving thiscountry forward must FOCUS on jobs . GiVEAWAYS at this time is SUICIDAL.and total drain on the economy with no end in sight. THe FOCUS must be in Restructing and rebuilding not by freebies but implementing proposal through growth which would put people back to work and tapping into the entrepreunial spirit with finances

  31. @ ac | February 16, 2013 at 10:39 AM |

    We are glad to hear from you that the DLP has learned, albeit too late, from its January 2008 manifesto of impossible promises.
    We are even happier to hear that the DLP has reversed its position and now sees the party’s manifesto as a morally binding social contract.

    Where there darkness there must be Light following! A brighter and better tomorrow is on the way!

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