Elections Results 2018: Democracy Alive, Opposition Dead!

Submitted by Doc Martin

Congratulations to Ms. Mia Mottley, Prime Minister and to the BLP on their victory in the 2018 elections. As other commentators elsewhere have stated, democracy is alive and well in Barbados.

Well, the operation to remove the Freundel Stuart led DLP government has been successful but the patient has suffered complications and so an amputation was necessary to remove opposition to the flow of blood. At least that is the imagery that came to mind when CBC showed us for a few fleeting seconds, a red Barbados, after it was clear that the BLP has made a clean sweep of the election.

A much subdued Freundel Stuart, in the wee hours of Friday morning, conceded defeat but, as some commentators observed, was not gracious enough to mention the incoming PM by name.

Ms. Mottley is credited with saying that she was going to make history but I doubt even she had more than winning the election and being the first female Prime Minister of Barbados in mind when she said that. She certainly may not have had in mind a clean sweep of all thirty seats, including the St. John constituency, which for the first time in about 60 years, has fallen into BLP hands.

For weeks and months to come, pundits and analysts will ponder the complete “redwash” of the DLP and many hours will be spent analyzing the mistakes made and the lessons to be learned. While the dust is still settling, I wish to offer summary comments on three matters: [1] the defeat of the DEMS, [2] the absence of an opposition and [3] the need for a system of PR (proportional representation) to replace the current system of FPTP (first-past-the-post).

Defeat of the Dems
The defeat of the DEMS can be attributed to several forces, one positive, several negative.

On the one hand, the BLP must be credited for executing a very cleverly integrated marketing campaign that addressed the strategic marketing issues of stakeholder research need analysis, product configuration, positioning, segmentation, promotion and messaging. I have explained how some of these apply to political marketing elsewhere in this blog. As a marketing professional myself, I must also complement the BLP for sheer brilliance in using both traditional and digital media.

The “negative” force is threefold:

  1. The failure of the DLP to do as well on marketing as the BLP. Too much of their manifesto, for example, focused on philosophy and the distant past. I have long ago said that Barrow and Tom Adams are no longer relevant to everyday life in Barbados. But the presence of at least two historians in the DLP just will not let the ghost of Barrow rest. Presumably the people of St. John have now exorcised his ghost!
  2. Their failure to recognize the hazards of the ‘martyr complex’ which they induced in the electorate on behalf of Ms. Mottely through their communications strategy. Ms. Mottely cemented the martyr complex when she declared, “I have a broad back”. Elsewhere it is known as turning the other cheek, something Mr. Stuart should have done himself. It is a pity that he is not half as good at psychology as he is at history! The DLP started their campaign with the obvious goal of demonizing MAM, presumably in retaliation for her demonizing of the PM. This and their bad timing of the Mottley “tax waiver” bombshell, did not do them much good. When it was dropped, I remarked that the “tax waiver” bombshell was dropped too early. Had the DLP dropped the bombshell say, on the Tuesday before the election, they might have had a more lasting impact on the electorate and pressured the Mottley-BLP campaign. So another of their errors is that they forgot that most Bajans have short memories!
  3. Finally, the association of the DLP brand with the spent and vindictive force of Owen Arthur served to cement Ms. Mottely’s victimhood and seal the DLPs fate. So, even though defending their policies was going to be a hard sell, the DLP, in fact, committed political suicide, although they had been holding the noose around their necks long before the election.

Opposition Dead
The second issue that has emerged from this election is the “death” of the parliamentary opposition. This means that the BLP, with an absolute majority can theoretically “do anything it wants”. As if in recognition of this, Ms. Mottley promised, in her acceptance speech early this morning, to consult all stakeholders and even hold referenda on crucial topics.

Notwithstanding her promises, the Barbadian population, in its overreaction to the DLP malfeasances, has unwittingly robbed the parliament of a lawful opposition to prosecute the business of those who did not endorse the BLP and, who are, therefore, in the minority. This means that the third parties which have not won a seat (as well as the population as a whole), must now be the surrogate opposition. So that far from being demolished, these third parties now have a responsibility to be the best extra-parliamentary opposition they can be.

Proportional Representation
In her concession speech, the leader of the UPP has suggested a system of proportional representation (PR), something I have been trumpeting on this blog since the start of this election. As should be now clear, had there been such a system in place, the DLP would have gotten some of the seats and we would have a formal opposition. Without the benefit of the final overall distribution of votes, I cannot say whether any of the third parties might have secured any of the seats because, in most PR systems, there is a minimum threshold of votes a party must obtain to be eligible for seats in parliament.

The first order of business then is for the “extra-parliamentary” opposition and all right-thinking members of society, to call, sooner rather than later, for a referendum (if that is the appropriate mechanism) on a change from the FPTP system to one of proportional representation. Ms. Mottley certainly has the votes to make such a constitutional change and therefore, her handling of such a request would tell us her true intentions for the Barbados which she claims she will be putting first.

In the meantime, all I can say is: “Barbados, looka wuh yuh gone and do!”

84 comments

  • @Prodigal Son May 25, 2018 8:08 PM “@David. “Ithe last census was conducted twenty years ago.”

    Not true.

    The last census was conducted during May of 2010. That is exactly EIGHT years ago.

    Here it is for your edification:

    http://www.barstats.gov.bb/files/documents/PHC_2010_Census_Volume_1.pdf

    Like

  • @Tron May 25, 2018 8:32 PM “In need somebody to clean the water tank in my local residence. However, I regularly use high loads of biocide and lots of chlorine to kill bugs, so it is a bit dangerous … I have also to offer jobs as gardeners and so on for 1 USD per hour. Working time is from Monday to Saturday 6 AM to 6 PM.”

    i see now why you want to see 15,000 unemployed civil servants…so that you can find somebody to exploit.

    Because otherwise why are you offering garden work in the 30 degree heat and 100% humidity at $2 BDS per hour. And how do you expect to get and keep any workers, when I a pensioner pays $25 per hour?

    Looka, go and do your own dangerous, hot sweaty work yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Well Well & Cut N’ Paste At Your Service May 26, 2018 5:30 AM “…the hero worshipping of long deceased politicians.”

    I call it “duppy politics”

    Instead of finding out what are the expectations of those people born after June 1,1987 the day Barrow died; and none of whom “know” Barrow, and some of whom voted for the THIRD time yesterday, the DLP unfortunately spent wayyyyyyyyyyyy too much time worshipping the long, long dead Barrow.

    The man is dead. Let him stay dead.

    Moving forward…

    Liked by 1 person

  • Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right

    @ Simple Simon

    I see that you are getting forgetful like de ole man in your old age

    The “sheath the Long Knives” reference is with regard to the content of Lorenzo’s threat and a previous blog containing “the Night of the Long Knives” that this ole man remembers well making.

    He hints at the pending retribution that the incoming Attorney General may have shared that he proposed to undertake against the anonymous BU bloggers.

    With regard to Tron, you have missed the joke that Tron passed at the intended targets of his jibe regarding a pittance wage for these people who have raped the economy for so long….

    What is the matter with you though?

    Normally, even though you might have come in late from a shift you ALWAYS USED TO BE ABLE TO PICK UP THIS nuances and innuendos.

    I hope that the “Sheaf” of the “D” that you mentioned sleeping next to before the GE has not so “discombulated” your reasoning to result in this “missing of the ball” literally speaking SS

    Far be it from the ole man to be hinting at anything other than what you have written!! heheheheh

    Like

  • “I want Ms. Mottley to do the WORK that she has been elected to do, and that we are PAYING her well to do.

    Those are my expectations.”

    That is all the electorate ever wants, anywhere.

    They need to stop invoking the dead and let them rest, they have no clue what spirits can be manifesting when they disturb those who are long gone and the only thing they do it for is political gain.

    ..it is the living need them to do what the are being paid to do by the people , work in the best interest of the entire population.

    Like

  • @Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right May 26, 2018 12:54 PM “the pending retribution that the incoming Attorney General may have shared that he proposed to undertake against the anonymous BU bloggers.”

    Me getting old and foolish in truth.

    If our Honourable Attorney General has our best interest at heart, and just yesterday he swore to just that. He would spend the next five years going after murderers, rapists, and thieves of all kinds.

    More than enough of that going on to keep him real, real busy.

    Like

  • lol…remember what happened to the iast lot who went after bloggers, instead of doing the taxpayer’s work, they spent all their time on the blogs to see who was talking about them and trying to figure out their retribution…that did not end well..

    …so the new AG will be better off…fixing the Supreme Court, getting rid of the backlogs, reining in and punishing dishonest lawyers who are destroying the integrity of the Supreme Court, the ones who are destroying the lives of and abusing the elderly, destroying the lives of the injured, stealing from their clients, giving the island a bad reputation and which will bring those rotten practices to the attention of human rights organizations…eventually

    That is what Marshall should now start to do…his job.

    The bloggers will always have something to attract their attention, if he is doing his job, they will appreciate it and forget about him.

    Like

  • Based on Irene Sandiford’s move of criticizing MAM’s large Cabinet, can we consider that she is challenging for the leadership of the DLP?

    https://barbadostoday.bb/2018/05/26/outspoken-dlp-candidate-reacts-to-mottleys-cabinet-announcement/

    Like

  • Well a surprise to some, but by Monday I knew it was going to be a clean sweep! Poor old George Pilgrim will get back re naming two opposition Senators…don’t hold your breath it may take him until year end, says he was in meetings all day and did not hear the announcement! He cannot make a decision to save his life so his response is also not a surprise! The people spoke and wrote their X’s and PM. The Hon. Mia will show everyone that once again the Phoenix will rise from the ashes.

    Like

Join in the discussion, you never know how expressing your view may make a difference.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s