The March to Déjà vu
The Act will require every person who is a ‘person in public life’ when the Act comes into force to make an initial disclosure to the Commission within three (3) months of the date of commencement of the Act. In the case of a person who becomes a ‘person in public life’ after the commencement of the Act, it will provide for the initial disclosure to be made within three (3) months of the date of his becoming a ‘person in public life’ – Extracted from a Speech delivered by the late David Thompson in January 8, 2008.
Even if a small number of marchers than expected turn up on Monday the government finds itself in a lose lose situation. The big picture that must remain painted in the minds of all Barbadians is the economy stupid. With less than a year to go before the next general election, it is unlikely even to the proverbial optimist this government will be able to infuse sufficient confidence in the marketplace to fuel a greater level of productivity. In summary, if the private sector through its executive fails to demonstrate that it has the support of workers on Monday it will retreat to other means, flight of capital is one example. A trip down memory lane to the period 1991 to 1993 is a reminder that a government that fails to enjoy the confidence of its private sector is doomed to fail.
On the other side of the equation is the Union in a fight some say it cannot afford to lose. With the private sector showing the Union support and about to execute the phalanx maneuver -the Barbados climate, not industrial, is about to become more elevated. How does one determine if the Union ‘loses’? Is it based on the hundreds, no thousands of man-hours wasted because of absenteeism, go slows, employees on the job who have disengaged, how about those who see no wrong in misusing government owned assets?
The right to demonstrate once done peacefully and the rule of law respected is the inalienable right of a citizen or group under the democratic system practiced in Barbados. The government operatives have pulled the race card which exposes a level of desperation and panic in the camp. Bear in mind this is a government whose political campaign was bankrolled by a White Bjerkham and company in 2007/2008, and to boot, rewarded him with a seat on the board of the Central Bank of Barbados.
The Stuart led government finds itself in an unenviable position in the political history of Barbados. It explains why the usually studied public utterances of Comrade Bobby Morris have of recent descended into a pit of defamatory bile. In the 90s the DLP Sandiford administration fell as a result of a public AND internal withdrawal of confidence in his government. Are we about to witness lightning striking twice on the same party? Are the political historians waiting with pen in hand to ink events as they are about to unfold that will include DLP déjà vu in the table of contents?
Part of the problem Barbados is experiencing is that the message of change promised to Barbados first by Thompson and then Stuart who won because the BLP got it wrong has not materialized. We have had more of the same from this DLP government with continuing rumours of corruption supported by Auditor General reports, ineffective Public Accounts Committee sessions, dissenting positions from within the bowels of Cabinet, questionable NIS management read Four Seasons and EMERA, defacing of the Central Bank’s reputation, Cahill etc, etc, etc. All of the forgoing has been compounded by a prime minister who refuses to use the power of speech to communicate to those he leads. It is at election time the sleeping giant feels emboldened to shout from Mount Olympus to the sheeple.
To the topical issue of march or not to march AND the motive of those who support the march. First a disclosure: Charles Herbert is known to the BU household and the attempt to smear a man who has lived his life so far to build a solid reputation in Barbados as a professional and citizen is to be regretted. It is a clear example why quality Barbadians resist getting involved in ‘giving back’ to society. He should have remained in his lucrative practice, make his millions and forget about the plebs. Members of the BU household have observed him sitting at town hall meetings quietly taking notes, asking questions when many of the BLACK yardfowls attacking his character today stayed at home watching TV or at Chefette purchasing takeaway dinner. One of the reasons the citizenry has to resort to disruptive methods to demonstrate against a government unwilling to listen is because our governance system is flawed. There is no avenue to recall the government in a structured and less disruptive manner, for example, support in the Constitution to cede the POWER to RECALL to the people.
At the root of our problem is the lack of integrity and transparency in public office.