A Green Party Beckons in Barbados

The following text was circulated by Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament, Saanich-Gulf Islands, Leader, Green Party of Canada

Elizabeth May MP, Canada Green Party

Elizabeth May MP, Canada Green Party

After seven years as leader of the Green Party of Canada and two and a half years as a Member of Parliament, I do not think of myself as a politician.  I don’t think of myself as someone who yearns for power.  I hope I am not the kind of person who would want to build a new political party for its own sake. Nevertheless, I am more committed than ever to getting a full caucus of Green MPs (at least 12) elected in the next federal election.  The question we should always ask is “why?”  Will working and focusing to elect twelve MPs change anything?  Will we – as so many progressive voices allege – merely “split the vote?”

When I first decided to run for leadership in the Green Party, my primary motivation was to stop Stephen Harper gaining a majority government.   I thought I could prevent his chances of a majority by being in the leaders’ debate, working to keep a focus on issues.  I wanted to blunt what I saw then – and still do today – as the informal alliance between Conservatives and the NDP to destroy the Liberal Party – thus keeping Harper in power.  In 2008, thanks to a huge public outcry, I was in the debates and we held Harper to a minority.  In 2011, when the other party leaders and the networks did a better job of covering their tracks to block Green participation, Harper won his coveted majority.

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25 thoughts on “A Green Party Beckons in Barbados

  1. A green Party! That will be a pipe dream, for anybody who knows the political culture in Barbados. Even in so-called developed countries the Greens have not done exceedingly well and are more often co-opted into the general political culture. Some ‘Greens’, for example, promote nuclear energy and that deadly industry. This suggestion might give ‘the system’ a few years of life but will not stop the steady decline of the whole order, at the centre. Talking about Order the people in charge of the people in charge always like to give us the pretense of a wide range of choices, when in fact there will never be a real difference between Bees and Dees, Greens and Reds or Reds and Yellows. .

    • @Pacha

      But a green party should resonate with Bajans if we accept that Barbados has a goal to be the leading green country in the Caribbean.

  2. That might have been a good idea decades ago when we had a real chance to save the planet. But with all the tipping points in danger of being surpassed, or already surpassed, we are heading for extinction. In any event Barbados has no real influence on these larger issues anyhow. On the national issue we see no difference in renaming, for example MAM as a ‘Green” or FJS as a ‘Green’ or the old NDP people as ‘Greens’, we can’t see how this will make any real difference in either case. In addition, the political duopoly takes all the political air out of the culture. There is no genuine room for a third party in Barbados, and there never will be. You have said previously that this writer sees ‘red’ and we do. This idea amounts to the mere re-arrangement of the chairs on the Titanic. The political-economy model is destined to destroy the earth and no number of Green parties anywhere will get into its way.

    • Well there is something called Karma which means as a people we can should aspire do the ‘right’ thing if only for its immediate benefits.

  3. Our friend, Mr Kammie Holder, is among the right persons who can and should be forming such a party not just have an accommodation in the parliamentary scheme of things in Barbados from the point of view of putting forward environmentally sound feasible proposals policies for implementation, but from the point of view also that there has to be a massive sea change in the party political landscape of Barbados, wherefore the damned DLP and blasted BLP being permanently removed from the political governmental landscape of this country will be seen to be an essential part of this change.

    The creation of a Green based party – lead by the charismatic Kammie Holder – and its having representation in the House of Assembly of the government of this country can be also part of this change.


  4. “There is no genuine room for a third party ( whatever that is!) in Barbados, and there never will be.”. A representation of what was exactly published by Pachamama in the above 7.16 am comment. The words in the brackets are ours.

    The are already in existence in Barbados more than six newer parties.

    That statement above is therefore totally invalid.


  5. Thanks Mark Adamsom for your support but I have resigned myself that corruption has reached epidemic proportion led by that noble or ignoble profession which also dominates our parliament. I have served on boards in the past and on some my objectivity was always seen as dissenting and not a team player. Compromising, balanced and sustainable decisions are where I prefer to be, thus collective responsibility and I will always be at cross purposes as I will never not act in the best interest of the masses. Our politics and politicians will never be above corruption until disclosure of assets is made law in Barbados. Thus politics under the current political regime is not for me as well meaning persons will be pressured, handicapped and frustrated by those who hands are stuck in the corporate cookie jar.

    Perhaps coming from a background of a poor family has helped me to realize all the money in world does not make you as happy as the empowerment of others.

  6. The person who can’t and the person who says can are both right. Thus a third party like the 4 minute mile will someday become a reality. I remain optimistic that Bajans will be forced thru hardship to see the theatrics and deceit of our two political clubs!

  7. @ Kammie Holder/David
    We don’t know if you are familiar with the most recent research around these issues especially as delivered at the COP19. If you are, both positions can’t be right. Climate change is not happening at a linear pace or waiting for a backward political culture in Barbados or anywhere else to transform. It is galloping ahead at orders of magnitude that are confounding the best experts. We had no time to waste 50 years ago and today we have even less, much less. In fact, an emerging consensus is that we are already too late.

  8. @panchamama, I could not agree with you more. It’s just pathetic some of the selfish duncy persons we send to parliament. It’s only a time before a few of them are entrapped and held in the US jails will happen sooner than we think. The Leroy Parris CIBC dispute is a clear indication. How many persons are aware the government the US government via Motorola all the bio data of all citizens which included vehicle registration numbers. if wanna doubt ask Michael Lashley when next he traveling overseas if his hands are clean

    • @Pacha

      Another party, perhaps Green, does not have to win a bucket of seats to influence change. Imagine if we had 2 or 3 from another party in the House at this time. The idea of a Green Party is to establish a philosophical departure from what prevails currently.

  9. @ David
    We know you mean well even in circumstances where a gradual approach is unworkable. If there where 3, 4, 5, 6 or 10, or 30 Greens in the Parliament of Barbados the culture will find a way of marginalizing them, at all levels, like it did to the NDP. Or they would be swallowed up like others have been in the past. In this respect politics is like business. They both needs competition for existence but they both move towards monopoly or duopoly, as is the case of Barbados and most other places.

    At the level of the masses, Bajans like it so too. We like to think in Black or White, Bees or Dees, government or opposition. This third party argument, though well-intentioned, is unrealistic and even in the best of circumstances will not transform anything. In short, it serves to present a patina on an underlying decay. Nothing less than the uprooting of the establishment will suffice, if we are to transform.

  10. Every party in Barbados is a one man/woman party, the cult of the maximum leader. But it does not matter, marginalization is marginalization, a cultural phenomenon.

    • Don’t agree Pacha, the B and D has a party machinery which allows it to meander along. This is what separates the entrenched from the new entrants.

  11. In the September 1994 general election, which the BLP won, the NDP garnered 12 per cent of the total valid votes cast. By 1999, which the BLP won too, the NDP did not contest the general election of January that year.

    The NDP’s demise was largely as a result of the fallout from serious personality clashes amongst its main leaders over party strategy, direction and leadership (the latter point which David seemed to be getting at) ( a certain proportion of leading female members (Cora Cumberbatch, the late Janette Layne Clarke, etc. felt that Dr. Haynes leadership style was too dictatorial and therefore left. And there was the solid argument put forward by Mr David Comissiong that the by election in the St Michael North West constituency should have been contested by the NDP but the main leader had thought otherwise – this decision led to another serious falling out by some within the party, with the so-left of the party leaving it sometime thereafter)

    So, the particular marginalization thesis put forward by the other person does not therefore wholly apply to the NDP.

    A co-opting thesis is far more applicable. So, far from the NDP’s demise being owed to marginalization, there was a political thrust largely associated with Mr Owen Arthur, the BLP and the particular political people from the DLP and NDP involved, that saw the latter leaving the DLP/NDP and going to the BLP. Hence, as perhaps part of this thrust but more so (as we have seen it) as a result of the culmination of a series of sizable personal political blunders (acceptance of a Knighthood and the Chairpersonship of the Commission of Enquiry into the QEH – which produced a report that is largely catching dust some where – and much more that was provided to many NDP members under the then BLP government in the lead up the 1999 general election) it was not surprising to us that the NDP’s leader had no difficulty whatsoever in throwing his party’s support behind the BLP in the 1999 election campaign, and asking many of his party’s member and supporters to do the same.

    However, the NDP did tremendously well in the circumstances of increasing disaffection by many voters with the two older ramgoat parties, and in the circumstances of increasing national political anger and angst at the DLP government /IMF structural adjustment and stabilization program 1991/1992 et al.

    It managed to get one seat ( its leader the late Dr. Haynes in St. Michael South Central) in spite of getting 12 per cent of the voter turn out in 1994.

    Now, let us imagine that had there been a proportional representational electoral system in place in Barbados, then the NDP would have got about 3 seats in 1994, and assuming that it would have been gathering more momentum post 1994, it would have been able to do better than the DLP did in the 1999 general election when the latter only got 2 seats.


  12. I don’t buy it for one moment that a third party cannot win seats in Barbados. As the politicians continue to take more bribes and life gets harder the people in their desperation will not only seek help from the obeah man but citizens who can organize themselves who are not corrupt able. So I believe we will see greater voter apathy and persons exercising their franchise but not voting D or B. The partisan Tom Adams and Errol Barrow supporters who support their parties even if they feeding them cyanide will all be dead by 2023. Thus we shall have voters whose loyalties will be to country and not a stupid party.

  13. This is such a fascinating discussion – one in which everyone is right. IF there is a party( or a person) which captures the public imagination then please let it come. BAF – where is the T shirt? And good luck to anyone who tries. There is never a time when a rebel (party) is not needed to keep us awake.

  14. @ Kammie Holder

    We have had the opportunity to conduct business in many countries and believe it or not, the utopia of a world without corruption is impossible. There is not a country that we known of, regardless of what Transparency International has to say, that does not have a certain level of corruption. Our challenge is in accepting this status quo while finding ways for transformation, in spite of a generalized corruption. We know first hand the wider levels of corruption in Barbados. Most times in ways citizens would not expect or would have gotten used to. What we are saying is that the torrent of corruption is so great everywhere that we must consider using this evil force for good. Meaning that if the Bajan governance system, meaning politicians and civil servants, is corrupt we need to be able to CORRUPT them to do what is right.

    Your misguided missive at the god of some – Obi – requires a wider self enlightenment. Why denigrate Obeah. We can no longer accept that anybody’s god is better than any other. That mental attitude itself is a corruption of thought. We have not seen your critique of Israel. Which represents the combination of three vicious pagan gods – Isis, Ra and Elle. In short, our point here is that you cannot ever achieve the transformation you seek until an internal transformation first occurs, especially within people like you who maybe central in that cultural transformation we seek.

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