The George Brathwaite Column – Growing Distrust and DLP FACTS

George Brathwaite (PhD)

American Tom Daschle once said that “what we need is not more distrust and division. What we need now is acceptance.” This statement is applicable for Barbados given the heightened political rhetoric and the dismissiveness that is implied in the many utterances from governing officials. Increasingly, the Barbados society appears to be affected by a chronic failure of trust. Barbadians expect that politicians should come across as providing credible information, particularly as the national constituency relies on its institutions and elected officials for truth and facts.

Clearly, in our adversarial system of governance, finding consensus is as much a challenge as choosing wisely those persons who would eventually become elected to govern this small developing nation. It is ludicrous, for example, to hear an elected Member of Parliament suggest that citizens or groups are nuisances to development, simply because the secrecy or untenable actions of government are sometimes challenged through the court system. One can easily ask, from whom will the country seek truth and justice? It is a known fact that, at times, the government has acted ultra vires and effective recourse was only remedied through the involvement of the judiciary.

Barbadians have been experiencing a prolonged drift away from the civility that characterised the island’s internal affairs. Almost weekly, the current Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government seems at odds with one entity or another. Resolve is hardly determined by the procrastinating leadership, and the Cabinet’s arrogance often reflects intolerance to divergent views. While intolerance is not a new dimension in Barbadian society, it is the cavalier cutting down of Barbadians and groups mounting critique by Government ministers that bastardises governance on the island. Really, should the Barbadian people and the institutions that they operate through legitimate membership or association be demonised simply because an alternative view is presented?

The repetition of contemptuous behaviour by DLP spokespersons is alarming and is creating greater division in an already polarised society. The evidence is sighted in many recent episodes. For instance, the unnecessary verbal intrusion and imputations directed at union leaders in general, and certainly into the just concluded elections of the executive to serve the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW). There is the ongoing noise and scapegoating of teachers by an elected official who not too long ago, himself was forcibly defending teachers’ rights. Added to these prevarications, the business community has had a sequel of turbulence in which its inputs have hardly been taken seriously. The private sector is frequently told that it has not done enough to help Barbados despite the government has been exceptionally short on providing accurate and timely information on the state of the economy.

The ‘DLP FACTS’ mission is unlikely to reveal the truth about the things that have gone awry in Barbados. Daily, Barbadians are complaining about the dissonance happening in the economy and society. Serious crime, particularly gun violence, is setting a tone that minimises the efforts of the police and other law abiding citizens. Disrespect for authority and the church is becoming more everyday as certain political mouthpieces hypocritically look to assert a moral high-ground although many of their actions in government are collectively debased.

It is precisely that type of governance which makes for a worsening society. Fuelled by prejudices, the political rhetoric of the failed DLP regime is being exposed by many persons that are frustrated with special interests gaining favour above the many Barbadians who sacrificed during the years of no economic growth. Why should a restitution of pay fall to the political class when our public servants are forced to languish without having had a pay increase for almost a decade? Why should Barbadians still be crying out that they are ‘short of work for the past five years’ despite having the means and machinery to perform efficiently and contribute to this nation’s economy? Why should one entity surreptitiously get contracts for major government projects when a host of other contractors and businesses are left to wonder if they will even survive for another six months?

Policy-making in Barbados cannot continue to be informed by the kinds of institutional discrimination and marginalisation that have enveloped the society over the last few years. Nor can silence be the best mode of engagement when so many facts are pointing to an economy and society hurting from the lack of effective decision-making and leadership. Barbadians must find it increasingly difficult to accept the words of a government that boasts of everything seemingly positive but is quick to rubbish anything that reflects their shortcomings or incompetence.

Incidentally, it was Prime Minister Freundel Stuart who advised last year that: “We see the family put under enormous threat and pressure; our institutions, which were supposed to reinforce our attachment to the building of a society, have been operating under untold pressure as well. The school, church, family, the labour movement, our political parties; all of these reinforcing institutions have been under enormous pressure.” While Stuart may have placed “a very volatile global environment” as the causal factor, the perilous situation in Barbados equally has much to do with the increasing failures of government to innovate and address the problems in a timely manner.

In fact, growing mistrust in the society compounds the issues of governance. It is no respite for the DLP to commence a DLP FACTS mission when for far too long, the slippage was evident while the ‘sleeping giant’ rested in another phase far removed from ordinary people. Admittedly, PM Stuart is correct when he asserts that: “If you have alienated people who are not feeling a part of the dynamic that is operative around them, then your society is under threat because you cannot count on these people to rise up and defend something of which they do not feel a part.” Now is the best time for Barbadians to hear all those presenting themselves as a politics of change. Barbados needs vibrant and proactive leadership. Judging from the last nine years, the DLP disqualified itself and Barbadians can only hope the self-determined DLP FACTS do not create more distrust and division. The alienation that comes from growing distrust will hurt us all.

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a political consultant. Email: brathwaitegc@gmail.com)

109 comments

  • @ Thomas Lynley
    Hal Austin, I agree with Bush Tea & Pachamama, you are an ass.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Lord hav’est mercy!!!
    Not Bushie!!!!

    Bushie was at pains to commend Hal for asking great questions….. something that the local press consistently fail to do (except of course for Carl Moore who keep asking the name, NID and IP of any ‘anonymice’ who dare to ask such questions).

    Hal only has issues when he tries to ANSWER the questions….

    Why someone who has not lived in Barbados for forty years, feels able to answer questions that our present leaders, our intelligentsia on the Hill, our clergy, businessmen (except Frustrated B) and our journalists are unable to answer …is completely beyond the bushman.

    Bushie is really a very nice fella and would not normally be inclined to call Hal an ‘ass’…..
    …a BBBBB, (Black Brass Bowl Bajan in Britain)…. YES!!!
    ha ha ha

    Like

  • William,

    Something you know, but it needs repeating nevertheless. After the US dollar became over-valued in the early 1970s, they had two devaluations: one in December 1971, and one in February 1973. But the Bretton Woods system still collapsed in March 1973.
    At some historical juncture the US must account for its massive current account deficit which no doubt will lead to further depreciation. When this happens, the proverbial will splatter all over our faces in small island economies.
    But that would not be anything new. Between the end of the Second World War and the early 1970s, the US accounted for 30 per cent of global trade; it is now about 18 per cent, with China accounting for 16 per cent.
    Emerging markets account for 60 per cent of that trade, up from the post-war 40 per cent. Yet global finance does not reflect this. 60 per cent of countries, accounting for 70 per cent of global trade, use the US dollar as their reserve currencies. Along with those who invoice in Greenbacks and those who invest in US treasuries, you can see the problems just piling up. This is the lull before the storm.
    @William, there is disaster ahead and all those still putting their hopes in foreign reserves (meaning the Greenback) will be like the sinners running to the mountains in Revelations. Too late, too late, shall be their cry.
    By the way, according to all major institutions, the US is the single super economy, with China second; yet we still call China a developing economy. Funny that.
    We must have a serious public discussion about where we are going economically. The silliness of party politics must give way.

    Like

  • @ David
    You are so hooked on every cliche. By
    now you should realize that everything that
    is happening with our economy was
    predicted since the late 60’s. Do you
    seriously believe that all of this just
    happened?
    By now you should have concluded that
    when all the shouting is done, that
    neither the BLP or DLP had the answers .

    Like

  • Seems as though the DLP made a decision to replace weak candidates, such as Patrick Todd, Kenneth Best and Patrick Tannis for the next general elections, which was confirmed by DLP’s FACTS man, George Pilgrim.

    I know the DEMS were wooing Rodney Grant from the days of Hamilton Lashley because of their close association and work with the Pinelands Creative Workshop. Over the years, Grant has been able to gain a similar amount of support and respect the St. Michael South East gave to Hammie Lah.

    As such, I believe, under these circumstances, there is a possibility the BLP’s Santia Bradshaw will lose her seat in the 2018 general election.

    I’m surprised the DLP’s hierarchy did not consider Michael Carrington to be first on the replacement list, or did not also consider replacing Irene Sandiford-Garner, Esther Byer-Suckoo, Jeptar Ince, Francis DePeiza and Verla DePeiza.

    Freundel Stuart will be 66 years old on April 27. Does the DLP’s hierarchy have enough confidence in him leading the DLP into the upcoming elections?

    Like

  • @ David

    Contribution is missing.

    Like

  • Artax

    Barring a political miracle……the swing will be against the govt which should carry Santia.

    Would agree with you that the others should be replaced as well.

    It was interesting to read Rev. Tannis in todays paper about his relationship with his party and how he was dumped……….who would join any of these parties?

    Like

  • @Vincent

    Do not be naive. Some candidates buck the swing. Rodney Grant has the personality and track record in the geography to transcend party affiliation. It is a smart move by the DLP tacticians.

    Like

  • @ Vincent

    I have to agree with David’s comments re: “Rodney Grant has the personality and track record in the geography to transcend party affiliation. It is a smart move by the DLP tacticians.”

    It was definitely “a smart move by the DLP tacticians,” as well as replacing Todd and Best with “home town boys.”

    Despite showing an initial interest in the BLP, Hammie Lah contested the St. Michael South East seat as a DLP candidate, easily defeating the BLP’s Delisle Bradshaw, the same man he canvassed for on previous occasions. Recall Lah subsequently “crossed the floor” to become a member of Owen Arthur’s cabinet and contested the elections for that constituency as a BLP candidate.

    Lah’s prowess as a “grass roots politicians” and community worker gave him the unique ability to be able to win the St. Michael South East seat as a candidate for the BLP and DLP, and clearly suggests his popularity in that constituency “transcend party affiliation.”

    Also recall Santia defeated new comer Tannis by 13 votes. However, and unfortunately for her, Grant presents a tougher challenge in that he canvassed, supported and worked closely with Lah when he (Lah) contested the St. Michael South East seat as a BLP and DLP candidate.

    Many people consider Grant as “heir apparent” to Lah.

    Like

  • Not disagreeing but time will tell re the swing.

    Like

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