The biblical quote ‘to whom much is given, much will be required’ (Luke 12:48) best describes the position the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) finds itself having decimated the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) 30 zip in the recently held 2018 General Election. Put another way, ‘with great power comes great responsibility‘.
One of the first decisions made by Prime Minister Mia Mottley was to appoint a 26 member Cabinet, supported by 2 Ambassadors. The unprecedented size of Mottley’s Cabinet must by supported by a civil service structure that should require additional manpower, we know taxpayers will have to carry greater cost of her team to compare with her predecessor.
The Prime Minister has given the explanation that the perilous – dire is the word she used – state of the country’s affairs will justify the large Cabinet. Her message throughout her campaign was- many hands make light of the work to be done.
The blogmaster agrees the optics of Mottley’s decision to appoint a large Cabinet at a time the country is experiencing serious economic challenges is not good. However, her decision if viewed through a Machiavellian lens suggests she has had to weigh the political cost benefit of keeping her large team happy compared to spending one million tax dollars. Time will tell if her 26 member Cabinet and supporting cast will perform better than the Stuart Cabinet to justify the added expense. She starts as odds on favourite if one reads the result of the 70% of the electorate that voted for her on the 24 May 2018.
Barbadians heard the ‘deja vuan’ promise by newly installed Attorney General Dale Marshall that he will be going after members of the former DLP administration who committed wrong. Public sentiment is running high that the time has come to prosecute elected politicians and public officials of perceived wrongdoing. The blogmaster sides with the view that Barbadian politicians are not washed in the blood of the lamb. All over the world politicians are being prosecuted for crimes. Members of the local political class possess the frailties of being human and are therefore as susceptible to temptation as the other politician living elsewhere. The blogmaster has had it up to HERE, election cycle after election cycle, being on the end of promises from elected politicians to prosecute corruption that is never delivered on.
One way Prime Minister Mia Mottley will be able to justify the cost of her Cabinet and support team is to discretely list savings to taxpayers. The blogmaster goes further: there must be a concerted effort to ‘prosecute’ transactions that smell of corrupt behaviour. Let us witness a vibrant Public Accounts Committee with active followup on Auditor General Reports. Let us hold members of Boards of SOEs accountable for decisions taken and prosecute to where the trail of wrongdoing leads.
The time has come to redefine Barbados as a just society. It isn’t fair to jail Barbadians from the lower strata of society for ‘misdemeanors’ and ignore the flouting of the financial rules of government by public officials, and cases of obvious malfeasance hinted at in successive Auditor General reports. The willingness of the Wickhams and other operatives to turn the other check must be seen for what it is- a business as usual condition to protect the cabal.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley is perched at a watershed moment in our history. The task to turnaround the economy and enact policies to assist with stitching the social fabric of Barbados will require a herculean effort from her team and Barbadians everywhere. One suspects she and team do not want to be relegated to the political dustbin of history to follow her predecessors. The time has come for politicians to followup on accusations of corruption delivered on the platform with action.
This is a different time.
Over to you Prime Minister!