Submitted by Ziggy Greene
I was listening to Senator Caswell Franklyn yesterday on Starting Point an Antiguan talk program. The host asked Franklyn about the recent political goings-on in Barbados and in his inimitable style answered forthrightly. The topic turned to the prospects of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) now that it was unrepresented in parliament. Franklyn replied inter alia that the DLP and its founder leader Barrow were one and the same. And since Barrow’s death the party has been dying- a very interesting and insightful comment. I must say I agree with that assessment.
I wanted to write about the link between founders and the continuation of what they started, especially political parties. In the case of the DLP, this is very crucial as it is facing what I believe is an existential crisis. We have seen the old faces of the party led by their front man George Pilgrim battling with the two year installed Verla De Peiza for leadership of the party.
What does this portend
If the DLP retrogresses to the leadership that led to a 30-0 drubbing at the 2018 polls will its prospect be any different in 2023? I think not. Their ineptitude will be forever associated with the disastrous economic plunge of Barbados whether or not they are solely to blame, whether they inherited a stacked deck or world events did them no favours. That they see it fit to challenge the new leadership of De Peiza is either a failure on her part to stamp her authority on the party or they think the recent kinks in the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) armour presents an opportunity for their resurgence. It is not lost on me that when the BLP were pushing investigations into alleged fraudulent activities under their stewardship they were silent but when Chris Sinckler , one of them, was given a pick in a Mottley Committee, they crept slowly out of the woodwork.
How will it play out with DLP party voters
So the choice is between Verla De Peiza and the old guard. Between a break from the past- if you can call De Peiza that but I will in this instance- and a continuation of a failed regime. How forthcoming will the old guard be when they address DLP party voters? Will the warning of Ulrich Beck in his book Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity in 1992, that we make decisions according to information derived from politicians and experts who in most cases are self-serving, ring true?
Really, what it is that the old guard can offer that they didn’t before? That brings us back to Franklyn’s comment Barrow and the DLP are incontrovertibly linked. I am not for one moment postulating that the old guard represents Barrow’s philosophy, far from it. I am positing however that at some point for a party to carry beyond its founders, it must reform and reinvent itself. We cannot do so with the old guard. And just as our society is transforming into a new modernity from the vestiges of the past or as Beck puts it, ” freeing itself from the contours of the classical industrial society” the DLP must pry itself from the shadow of Barrow and the stench of the old regime and transition into a new modernity.
In our first piece on this subject I submitted that DePeiza must articulate these changes clearly and with some alacrity. And with pressure from the old guard and a bye election in St George north on the horizon more than ever these changes are needed now.
See Related blog – Reform or Die