Political Promises

covenant of hopeBU repost another Barbados Advocate Editorial.

Don’t ever use me as your tool,

A promise is a comfort to a fool –Gregory Isaacs [1978]

A promise, it has been frequently and cynically asserted, is but a comfort to a fool only. Many regional electorates will no doubt be ready to confirm the validity of this old adage, having been seduced and disappointed time and again by glistering promises of post–election brave new worlds of hope and glory where it will not be politics as usual and where all those convicted of murder will be promptly hanged; where crime and poverty will be rare phenomena; where there will be frequent salary increases; fewer and lower taxes; and where, generally, a better time than the present will be enjoyed by all citizens. And the sole consideration requested of the elector is simply that he or she vote for the promising party’s candidate in the relevant constituency on the appointed Election Day.

These undertakings are traditionally contained in the party’s manifesto, a written document routinely distributed during the campaign period and avidly sought by enthusiastic supporters, in most cases as souvenirs of that year’s electoral battle, rather than as compelling evidence for any future claims of breaches of undertakings or failures in promised performance, were they so inclined. Reference to broken manifesto promises is usually rather the preserve of the members and sympathizers of the unsuccessful party for them to point out areas of non-compliance as proof that the other party committed nothing short of an act of fraudulent misrepresentation in order to secure its victory.

Even though some commentators have sought to treat the matter as one of contract law, the analogy is arguably not apt. Indeed, there are mutual promises or, at least, representations, and perhaps some element of consideration is given by the electors, but there remains serious doubt as to whether the respective parties intend to create a legal relation- the availability of resort to court action in case of a breach of promise. Perhaps it may be more accurate to consider that the arrangement creates an unequal status relationship between the parties, that of government and the governed – one where the latter party is powerless to restrain the conduct of the other except by withholding his or her franchise at the next general election.

It is in this light that we would wish to analyze the Covenant of Hope that the Opposition Barbados Labour Party [BLP] launched last week. Despite its lofty-sounding title, a covenant is essentially nothing more than an agreement between the covenanter, who makes the promise or covenant and the convenantee who is to enjoy the benefits of that promise. In this light, it hardly differs from an election manifesto, although somewhat premature.

We are in no doubt that the title of this document was carefully and strategically crafted and its scarcely-concealed biblical connotations are likely to resonate with a largely Christian-minded Barbadian populace. And it is not true to state that political promisors have never carried out any of their electoral promises.

At base, however, the contents of the document remain little more than political promises, essentially as unenforceable as those made in any election manifesto and hence, without being uncharitable, in the words of the film producer, Samuel Goldwyn, when referring to an oral contract, “not worth the paper it is written on.”

Should the BLP form the next governing administration, that will present it with a golden opportunity to prove us wrong.

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21 Comments on “Political Promises”

  1. Anthony Davis May 16, 2016 at 1:35 PM #

    If they do form the next Government they will be measured by what is in their Covenant! The same way that there are no holds barred with this Government with regard to its forgotten promises, there will be none barred for the BLP if they do the same. I intend to give them a certain grace period if they get in – after that the gloves will be off!


  2. David May 16, 2016 at 1:39 PM #

    Long live social media.

    Live will NEVER be the same!


  3. Well Well & Consequences May 16, 2016 at 2:13 PM #

    Another promise to make their way into the people’s parliament to start the nonsense all over again, what covenant what….BUT…..this time, social media will be watching.


  4. David May 16, 2016 at 2:28 PM #

    The last sentence of this article sums it up.


  5. Bernard Codrington. May 16, 2016 at 2:29 PM #

    Social Media watching ????. What good is that? Lickmout Lou was watching and so was the call in programs. Did they make a difference? Why do we do the same things over and over again and expect different out comes. Well,well well etc. wake up . This is a different ball game. You need better strategies and tactics.


  6. Violet C Beckles May 16, 2016 at 2:46 PM #

    Social media watching , the people watching , the police watching , let us hope they learn and see what comes NEXT.

    All this watching and no action means nothing ,

    Gloves need to be off before the last elections,
    People making joke and ready to sleep for another 5 years after 2018 , Better step up , all this long talking,


  7. KAMMIE HOLDER May 16, 2016 at 6:38 PM #

    @Anthony Davis,. The time for chances is over. We must demand accountability up front. I will not be so silly of waiting to see any existing party prove it’s worth. They had nearly 50 years to prove their worth.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kammie Holder May 16, 2016 at 6:41 PM #

    I have two picknees that I have to fight to change things for. Who want to wait hats up to wunna. The No Confidence Motion and the Mockery Covenant Of Hope which omits ITAL and FOIA is a game changer of major political contempt.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sunshine Sunny Shine May 16, 2016 at 11:01 PM #

    Kammie Holder

    Could not agree with you more. This why I do not trust Mottley, but anything is better than DEM. Pressure must be placed on her since she has it in her to exhibit the same darkness as the current leader. ITAL and FOIA must be at the forefront of the next change of government. Mottley is a pandora’s box that is why she must feel the full weight of pressure to do what is right for the people for the people to have any confidence in her.


  10. David May 16, 2016 at 11:23 PM #

    The challenge for Mottley is that many on her team do NOT want integrity and foi legislation.


  11. Raw Bake May 17, 2016 at 1:49 AM #

    This statement implies that MAM is a genuine supporter and champion of this particular cause.
    Where is the evidence to justify your obvious faith in they that wear white?

    As a black man, I am wary, and increasingly weary, of people dressed in white purporting to know what is best for me. As a Bajan, I am sick of the number of free passes being handed out by supposedly vigilant gatekeepers.

    Choirboys and Fanboys have no place in the trenches.


  12. Well Well & Consequences May 17, 2016 at 6:03 AM #

    What is this fixation Mia got with wearing white and wearing red at a protest and a bunch of shit…the people are supposed to be wearing their anger at their disenfranchisement brought on by the nasty actions of both political parties over the last 50 years…if dressing up is the best Mia got, she is still full of shit.


  13. David May 17, 2016 at 6:24 AM #

    @Rawe Bake

    What are the citizens to do by your observation? Is there a credible alternative?

    Are members of our fat middleclass prepared to become advocates for causes and rights?


  14. Frustrated Businessman aka Republic my ass. May 17, 2016 at 7:46 AM #

    David May 16, 2016 at 11:23 PM #
    The challenge for Mottley is that many on her team do NOT want integrity and foi legislation.

    Once more, there is an opportunity there. If it applies to cabinet members only and not parliamentarians, the latter might choose not to serve as the former. That would open the door to professional ministers rather than the amateurs we’ve suffered with since 1966.


  15. Frustrated Businessman aka Republic my ass. May 17, 2016 at 9:33 AM #



  16. Well Well & Consequences May 17, 2016 at 12:16 PM #

    The next nuisance need putting in her place is that idiot Verla Depieza, talking rubbish about the people against Cahill being treasonous, or was it the documents U got hold of and how it was obtained…she should be thrown bodily out of the people’s parliament…and imagine she is an attorney, of all things, so too emptyheaded Maxine McClean should be thrown out….they just turn into beasts when they get these titles and elevated status…dummies.


  17. Well Well & Consequences May 17, 2016 at 12:17 PM #



  18. Raw Bake May 18, 2016 at 10:38 AM #

    David, the workers standing as one. They are the ones with the power to effect real changes to the system currently plaguing the country. The workers must negate the influence of politically compromised leaders and that is the real challenge.

    The problem in finding an alternative lies in the fact that we the ordinary people are prepared to settle for too many half measures and every man is brekking for his self.

    It is them (political class) vs us (disenfranchised and disillusioned). That is what it has to be.



  19. JackWisdom May 24, 2016 at 2:11 PM #

    Broken promises… This is an international trend. What more can we expect from worldwide culture and morality in decline? How can we expect anything different during a time when so many uninformed, historically unaware get their news from biased media sanctions?


  20. Pieceuhderockyeahright May 24, 2016 at 5:06 PM #

    @ Jack Wisdom

    The last part of your 2.11 p.m submission is very insightful “How can we expect anything different during a time when so many uninformed, historically unaware get their news from biased media sanctions?”

    It would be very informative to see the (1) number of cellphones/computers/laptops and devices that are connected to the internet daily (2) where each mac address is surfing and (3) the amount of time that each connection actively “moves” around on a site whether with mouse movements/heat signatures, texting or just watching porn

    Lucretia Borgia of the famous family of murderers is purported to have laced her breasts and the lips of nether parts with poison and thus was able to kill many a man who otherwise was unreachable.

    For whereas the court taster would have been the first line of defence for poisoned food for the King or Queen, can you imagine the anathema associated with said court taster sucking the mammary glands or other parts of the soon to be “victim” of the king’s lasciviousness.

    Indeed it sheds such literal light on the statement “one man’s meat is another man’s poison” and could well morph into a slogan like “Cunnilingus Kills”

    The new frontier and campaign mechanism HAS TO BE via social Media as is evidenced her on BU and facebook and twitter and the rest of the outlets.

    you have x amount of characters to make an impact in your viewing/ podcast audience.

    Your message HAS TO BE DELIVERED by sonorous/sensual voice with a metre that create rather lulls your targets sorry audience into a state of calm and receptiveness and subconscious acceptance

    We must use the medium and implement a vision warfare of such an “IN YOUR FACE” nature that WE WHO SEEK CHANGE that is independent of the EMPTY COVENANT OF HOPE SHY*TE that is being pasted all over the place finds itself assign to its rightful place AS TOILET PAPER IN THE FAIRFIELD BUS STAND TOILETS.

    Make no mistake about this, WE ARE AT WAR WITH THE DBLP INVADERS AND MARAUDERS and OUR ENEMY HAS NO QUALMS ABOUT KILLING US, whether by ASSIFICATION PLASMA PLANTS or BY VECO & SSS B.O.L.T arrangements that they benefit from in overseas jurisdictions



  1. The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – The Citizen and the State | Barbados Underground - May 22, 2016

    […] recent editorial in the Barbados Advocate explored the nature of electoral promises and concluded, in my view, quite […]


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