At a critical juncture in the history of Barbados – a country successive governments have invested heavily in educating our people – is it unreasonable to expect this popular biblical quote to resonate, ‘to whom much is given, much will be required’ (Luke 12:48)? Why have we educated our people if not to be at the ready by reporting for duty when parlous times confront us?
A regret of this blogmaster is the extent to which civil society has become afflicted by a feckless and ineffectual political class. As we approach one year of the Mia Mottley led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government’s unprecedented decapitation of the Freundel Stuart led Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in the general election of May 24, 2018, the level of cynicism and vapidity exhibited within the population has been rising. It should not be unexpected that the rhetoric of austerity will also increase. The level of disaffection is more acute if one considers the quality of the Opposition described as the government in waiting.
How does a population seemingly detached from national objectives demand accountability from the ‘system’? How does a political class committed to self sustaining policies demonstrate a capacity to ‘correct’ by satisfying its mandate to effectively govern the country?
We have a government attempting to grapple with the political, economic and social challenges. In the absence of a blue chip schematic, debate will continue about the best policies required to extricate the country from the abyss is continues to be mired.
In our adversarial system of government the Opposition has an important role to play by injecting a dissenting perspective that is coherent. However the quality of the dissenting interventions must be related to the quality of the actors in the opposition ranks. Regrettably in the opinion of this blogmaster the opposition entities- to bastardize a biblical expression- have fallen short in the glory of the electorate.
In January 2019 the Leader of the Opposition Joseph Atherley announced that individuals were deputed to speak on the following portfolios. (Sidebar: Hopefully one of these days the Atherley story will be told).
Irvin Belgrave – Home Affairs
Rev John Carter – Agriculture, Food Security and Maritime Economy
Dr Phillip Corbin – Energy, Water Resources and Telecommunications
Akil Daley – Youth and Small Business Facilitation
Sen Crystal Drakes – Economic, Sustainable Development and Climate Change
Paul Forte – Housing, Property Ownership, Works and Maintenance
Sen Caswell Franklyn – Labour, Social Security, Corporatives and Civil Establishments
Paul Gibson – Health, Wellness Services Development and Environment
Sylvan Greenidge – Transportation, Sanitation and Sewage Services
Bruce Hennis – International Business and Trade, Manufacturing and Commerce
Maria Phillips – Justice, Law Enforcement and Penal System
Alan Springer – Creative Economy and Sports Industry Development
Scott Weatherhead – Tourism, Regional and International Transport
Yesterday 25 April 2019 the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) also announced the names of individuals charged shadow ministries.
To cut to the chase, the blogmaster is not impressed with the quality of the opposition on offer in the Barbados space for the obvious reasons. What is exposes is that quality players are not interested in joining the political class. A natural consequence to the state of affairs is garbage in, garbage out.