Unfolding in Barbados, is the by-election in St George North with Ms. Toni Moore as the candidate for the Barbados Labour Party. In her response at the public announcement, she stated that she is going to “help labour.” It makes absolutely no sense at all because her job description is to “help labour,” and in addition she also sits as a Senator and is a member of the Sub- Committee of the Social Partnership.
Has Ms. Moore forgotten what a labour union is? By definition, it is an organized association of workers, trades or professions, formed to protect and further their rights and interests.
In fact, if the union needed advancement or a political voice to protect them in today’s Barbados, my argument is that the General Secretary of the largest workers union in Barbados, the Barbados Workers Union should not have accepted an offer to be candidate of a political party when she has the capacity to form her own political party.
The trade union movement has been at the cross roads in Barbados for some time and perhaps forming a worker’s party is the requirement to inject new life into this entity.
We all know the old adage, if only the lion knew its strength, then it would rule the world. In 2020, why would the leader of the largest workers union in Barbados accept the candidacy to be a part of political party and not create their own? Is it that there is a lack of vision?
In my opinion, there being no real labour parties left in Barbados, the onus on her should have been to realize this and form a labour party. Sadly Ms. Moore did not see this opportunity.
What is a labour party? It is simply a political party formed to represent the interests of ordinary working people. Based on their performance, both the BLP and the DLP have long since departed the model.
There are tremendous benefits that can be derived for the ordinary workers of Barbados if a worker’s union formed its own political party. An increase in the minimum wage, redirecting the emphasis of government to the ordinary working class instead of big business, redirection of government contracts, the development of housing for the working class, the development of workers co-operatives and business development that serves as a platform for black economic enfranchisement and the list goes on.
If she wins the by-election, the conflict of interest that will arise for Ms. Moore goes far beyond which hat she wears to ultimately which voice takes precedence, that of the Prime Minister or that of the members of the Barbados Workers Union. Based on her recent acts of conceding to government demands, it is unlikely that this will change. Most likely members of the workers union will not be confident about an altered relationship which will be perceived as the union in bed with the government.
One can be of the opinion that Ms. Moore was quite shortsighted. It is hoped that she has not dropped her bone for a reflection. However, there is scope for someone to take the trade union movement to new and greater heights than it has previously achieved.