In the last six years Barbados has been consumed by an unprecedented type of polarising politics. It is a politics which has reordered national priorities. No longer are decisions made on the basis of what is important on the national front but more to do with what is politically expedient. Political pundits had warned that the 2-seat majority government which resulted from the last general election would have landed us here. A classic illustration is the government’s commitment to send home 3,000 public sector workers but because of political imperatives the national exigency has had to be sacrificed, the result; a bloated Cabinet.
Perhaps the best example of politics trumping commonsense and national interest is the 9-day topical issue – the Estwick Affair. One member of parliament holds the trump card (theoretically) which potentially affects the balance of government in Barbados. Whereas Arthur would have fired Estwick from Cabinet a long time ago – he had bench strength in the House – Prime Minister Stuart is forced to tolerate a minister who has made it known publicly he disagrees with Cabinet; a severe break from convention. BU referred to Estwick’s trump card as theoretical because he has developed the reputation as a bluffer.
If the country was focussed on the national priority we should be grilling Estwick about what the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has achieved under his stewardship since 2010. Insiders are aware it took several days of suasion to get him to accept the agriculture ministry.
In fact he was on the verge of resigning we understand. In 2010 when Estwick finally accepted the transfer to the MoA he saw reason to list his achievements as Minister of Economic Affairs. We are asking Estwick to again list his achievements as Minister of Agriculture. If we want to promote a system of meritocracy in the country then the value of our leaders must be evaluated by their achievements. Estwick has been instrumental in starting the construction of the Barbados Water Authority building and installation three tanks to store molasses at the Bridgetown port. But what is his report card? More importantly what have you done to further Dr. Estwick to further the cause of food security for Barbados? What initiatives have you implemented or have in the pipeline to reduce our humongous food import bill? Earning foreign exchange is our lifeblood and it is scary to read reports that forex has declined by 100 million in the month of January 2014.
Time to stop the silly games and accept the responsibility of managing the country. A listen to the debate in parliament yesterday should be sufficient to indicate we have an intellectual deficit affecting that august chamber.
p align=”justify”>Poorakey indeed!