The Caswell Franklyn Column – DEMS Now: DEMS NOT Again!
The Right Honourable former Prime Minister, Sir Lloyd Sandiford, was heard to ask, how this country got back to this point. Even though I do not consider myself to be a political scientist or analyst, I would like to offer my perspective.
Ten years ago, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) led by the now deceased David Thompson came to office promising heaven and earth. However, on the eve of the 2018 general elections, it would appear that they have delivered purgatory instead. Mind you, I do not believe for one minute that they intended to impoverish this country as they have obviously done. I believe that they have done their best; it is just that their best is not good enough and has fallen way short of what Barbadians have come to expect.
Government’s failures are so notorious that it would serve no useful purpose to detail the litany of woes that is this administration’s achievements. Rather, it would be more beneficial to examine, as Sir Lloyd pondered: How did the country get back to this point? Such an examination would reveal the pitfalls to avoid, in order to prevent any group, that is as unprepared as the present regime to govern, from ever achieving political office again.
Any right-thinking person would readily admit that the current administration is a dismal failure, but it did not happen over night. This second-eleven team, to borrow a cricketing expression, that now manages the affairs of this country resulted from Owen Arthur’s brain-draining Politics of Inclusion.
When Arthur became the Prime Minister, he set about unwittingly or otherwise to denude the DLP of much of its talent. They were easy pickings because the DLP that emerged after the death of the Rt. Excellent Errol Barrow was a fractious party. Sandiford was somewhat able to keep his dissenters in check because he wielded the power of the Prime Minister and could dispense patronage.
Unfortunately, Thompson took over the party that when it was going into opposition. He had no patronage to dispense to force his lieutenants to pretend as though they were loyal and many defected to the Barbados Labour Party to benefit from the spoils of victory that Arthur was lavishing on key DLP people who switched sides.
Shortsightedly, Thompson was happy to see them go because it meant that his party would be able to settle down without those dissenters. He failed to appreciate or did not care that Arthur was taking away the cream of the crop. All that appeared to matter to him was that he was leader and would most likely emerge, as Prime Minister, as he did, when the DLP retook the government. The people that Thompson had available to him as candidates were the most dyed in the wool Dems or persons that Arthur did not want. Sadly, as it turned out, he did not have enough talent to form a competent government but he was forced to use what he had available to him. That was apparent since he found it necessary to co-opt persons from outside his party to shore up his cabinet.
Regrettably, two years into his premiership, Thompson, the brains of his Government, passed to the great beyond. Those that remained floundered about from pillar to post but everything that they did seemed to have come to nought. The country, in their hands, appears to be hurtling out of control from one crisis to another.
It is painfully obvious to all but the purblind that the current administration had the skills to win the elections but are totally devoid of any of the skills to successfully manage the affairs of this country. They know it but are too stubborn to admit their failings and have the unmitigated gall to seek to foist themselves on the people of this country again.
If this administration were a worker, the employer would be entitled to dismiss that worker for any reason related to the capability of the employee to perform any work, provided the employer went through the appropriate procedure.
The elected members of parliament are the employees of the people of this country. They have demonstrated that they are incapable of performing the work that they were hired to do. The appropriate procedure to effect a fair dismissal, in the form of elections, will soon be upon us. Take it from a practising industrial relations person, a dismissal in these circumstances would be fair to all concerned.