Mottley Don’t be a Moe!
During the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) 81st Annual Conference in Queen’s Park on Saturday, Mottley described Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley, De Peiza and Solutions Barbados’ leader Grenville Phillips as “Eenie, Meenie and Miney” who were poor alternatives to the BLP Government.
[Nation Newspaper 27 October 2019]
The political barbs Prime Minister Mia Mottley lobbed at the three visible faces who represent the dissenting voice of political parties in our democratic system has evoked some public comment. Mottley in an address at the 81st Annual Conference of her political party used the occasion to rev up her political base – throw some reed meat at the loyal subjects. To intuitive political observers this is standard fare.
Have we forgotten not too long ago in order to avert a constitutional crisis serious consideration was given to creating Senate seats for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP)? That idea was scrapped presumably because our system of government is derived from a first past the post and not propositional representation. Bishop Joseph Atherley conveniently defected to the Opposition side and as they say the rest is history.
Leaders of organizations anchor positions taken based on values and purpose partially influenced by management philosophers of the past like Elton Mayo, Peter Drucker, Henry Gantt, Edward Deming et al. Political leaders will cite Machiavelli, Madison et al for the same reasons. Unlike Verla De Peiza, Grenville Phillips II, Joseph Atherley et al Mia Mottley – the political animal that she is – will not ignore the opportunity to stoke her popularity within the party. Imprinted on her mind are the faces of Dale Marshall, Ronald Toppin, Gline Clarke and George Payne who were instrumental in ousting her as leader of the BLP to make way for the return of Owen Arthur in 2010. So far she has adhered to Sun Tzu’s advice to “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. Mottley wears the scares of her confrontations within the BLP to give currency to the position by many that politics is as a blood sport.
To cut a log story short, Mia Mottley is Prime Minister of Barbados AND leader of the Barbados Labour Party. This blogmaster anticipated her message to the annual party conference would have been laced with the usual political rhetoric and hyperbole. What Phillips, Da Peiza and Atherley must do is to exercise political gravitas in the counter to be seen as relevant in the minds of the electorate. Make no mistake, the average Joe will entertain a political actor who is not averse to riposte.
The Prime Minister at the Conference threatened to withhold a subvention Owen Arthur approved (Cabinet decision) for all political parties represented in the House of Assembly. Richie Hayne’s of the National Democratic Party (NDP) received the subvention of $150,000 when he displaced the BLP as the official Opposition. The subvention is allocated in the Estimates to Parliament under the authority of the Clerk of Parliament to disburse to the Leader of the Opposition to assist with administrative expenses. Arthur was sensible enough to appreciate a democracy is as strong as a quality opposition.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley should immediately suppress the temptation to rescind the practice of giving the subvention to political parties sitting in parliament. Given the overwhelming majority of the BLP sitting in the Lower House why has she made this an issue?
A word to the wise should be sufficient.