So, the would-be “Emperor” of Barbados has finally deigned to set a date for General Elections after subjecting our country to a seven and a half week demonstration of utter contempt for our system of governance — the system of Parliamentary Democracy.
Barbados — as Mr Freundel Stuart well knows is a Parliamentary Democracy.
The Constitution of Barbados makes it clear that Parliament (comprised of the House of Assembly and the Senate) is the fundamental institution around which the office of Prime Minister and of every other cabinet Minister revolves.
Section 64 of our Constitution makes this clear when it asserts that “the Cabinet shall be …..charged with the general direction and control of the government of Barbados and shall be collectively responsible therefor to Parliament”.
As does Section 65 of the Constitution which establishes that the very existence of the Prime Minister is based solely on him being the person who — in the judgment of the Governor General — is best able to command the confidence of a majority of the members of the House of Assembly.
So, in light of the foregoing, how was it possible for Mr Stuart, his Cabinet colleagues, or our newly appointed Governor General for that matter, to consider it permissible to rule over Barbados for an extensive seven and a half weeks after the dissolution of Parliament, without setting a date for or decreeing a General Election to establish a new Parliament ?
Who — in the absence of a functioning Parliament — was Mr Stuart and his fellow Democratic Labour Party ministers accountable to over the past seven and a half weeks?
A proper respect and regard for the principles of Parliamentary Democracy would have impelled Mr Stuart, his Cabinet colleagues, and our Governor General to recognize that where a governmental administration has permitted the life of Parliament to run its full course and to be dissolved, that they were under a duty (established by the Constitution and owed to us, the people of Barbados) to IMMEDIATELY set a date and issue writs for a General Election.
In other words, the period of time during which the country was required to operate without a functioning Parliament should be kept to a minimum, and–after the dissolution of Parliament– the Citizens should NOT be kept in a state of prolonged suspense over when new and critical General Elections will be held ! No doubt the Governor General has a discretion in all of this, but her discretion should always be exercised in the best interest of us the Citizens of the country and in keeping with the nation’s fundamental interest not to be deprived of a functioning Parliament for any extensive period of time.
That Messers Stuart and company (and seemingly our Governor General as well) did NOT appreciate this, and instead, subjected our country to seven and a half weeks of unaccountable Cabinet rule was unconscionable!
Mr Stuart, his Cabinet colleagues, and indeed their party — the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) — thoroughly discredited themselves over the past seven and a half weeks in the eyes of all right thinking Citizens who believe in the tenets of Parliamentary Democracy.
Indeed, their contempt for democracy has become so obvious and offensive that perhaps they should now do the decent thing and remove the word “Democratic” from the name of their political party!
ONWARD TO GENERAL ELECTIONS fellow Citizens, and let us ensure we elect thirty Members of Parliament who understand what DEMOCRACY entails and who truly appreciate that we — the people of Barbados — are the real and permanent owners of the country, and that the temporary political administrators that we vote into office are merely there to serve us and must always be accountable to us.