As a small independent country, there are a few maxims that should guide our behaviour. Never blast a hole in our boat, because it can sink, and we will all suffer. Never contaminate the food on our boat, because we will all get sick. Never sabotage any part of our boat, because it will hinder our progress.
The only justifiable reason for damaging the boat, is for enslaved people to protest their condition. However, we are no longer slaves. Our slave fore-parents purchased this land for us with their blood.
We elect persons to navigate our boat for up to 5 years. We may severely criticise their performance. However, there is no good reason for any Barbadian today to damage our boat. This should be common sense. However, there are a few Barbadians who think that they have a licence to harm our boat.
Participating in corruption, bribery, and drug-gang alliances, is to blast a hole in our boat. Infiltrating and then politicising professional, industry, news media, and union organisations is to contaminate our water supply. Discouraging responsible foreign investment, is to sabotage our boat.
Opposition politics in Barbados is about convincing people how bad things are, so that they will vote against the party in government. To do this, each party relies on their political operatives. These operatives know of only one method of maintaining discontent, that is to harm our boat.
Political operatives have adopted this slave legacy of sabotage, as part of their opposition to the party in Government. They have a real incentive. They are normally well-rewarded by their political party. Therefore, they focus on getting their party elected by any means, regardless of the cost to us.
Since either the BLP or DLP is opposing the party in Government, opposition political operatives are always trying to harm Barbados. However, this continuous harming of Barbados must stop – for all our sakes. Since the DLP is currently out of Government, it is up to them to stop this cycle.
The DLP’s political operatives will naturally feel that they are being unfaired. They saw that the BLP’s worst political operatives, who did major damage to the boat when they were in opposition, were richly rewarded. They think that now is the time for them to earn their reward.
Despite how badly the BLP’s political operatives behaved when the BLP was in opposition, someone needs to decide to be the adult. Otherwise, this toxic tit-for-tat political environment that both parties have cultivated, will never end.
If we want to preserve this country for our children, we must find a way of competing politically that does not include damaging our boat. Perhaps all political parties can consider the following initiatives.
- Each party should explain how they plan to stop their candidates from accepting bribes. The public can then decide whether their methods are effective.
- Professional organisations can analyse and compare each party’s social development and economic growth plans.
- Industry organisations can assess and compare each party’s barriers to investment.
- The media can provide fair, honest, and non-partisan political coverage.
- The unions can stop promoting and protecting one party, and frustrating and not-cooperating with the other.
After 50 years of independence, we should be mature enough to try a better path. However, it is unlikely that political operatives will behave properly, because the rewards are just too enticing. Since they harm our boat on behalf of their party, only their party can order them to stop.
It is foreseen that if both parties do not restrain their political operatives, then Barbados will become ungovernable. However, simply ordering their political operatives to cease and desist will not be enough. The DLP’s political operatives will justifiably claim that they alone are asked to bear the burden.
To ensure full participation by all political operatives, they must all be convinced that they will never again be rewarded for harming Barbados. For this to happen, then BLP must terminate the reward-appointments of their worst political operatives – otherwise, we are all sunk.