Last week the four main opposition political parties announced they will combine forces to support one candidate in the by-election to be held on the 11 November 2020 in St. George North. Leading political commentator @budavid described the move has “shrewd”and one that finally demonstrated a level of political maturity not witnessed since universal suffrage in the Caribbean.
When asked to elaborate by international foreign affairs correspondent @Pachamama, @budavid indicated adversarial politics was the vestige of a colonial past and had demonstrably failed to optimally define the people of the island state of Barbados. He stated, “we are a homogenous society and a consensus type of politics should be the alternative to determine the future of our small predominantly Black nation- and to ensure the hopes of a proud small island developing state are realised and fears are assuaged“.
The entrenched incumbent political party has implemented and supported a raft of polices on winning office which have weakened the voice of the opposition and served to destabilize the system of governance as envisaged by the framers of the Westminster system which the country has parodied. Two polices continuing to attract scathing critique from the BU intelligentsia are the politics of co-option and the reluctance of the incumbent and entrenched government to relax the rule governing a subvention for opposition political parties.
And the politics of inclusion practised by the incumbent party reared its head again last week with the head of the largest trade union fast tracked for membership in a record setting one week to support her candidature in St. George North. The leader of the incumbent party admitted party rules had to be ‘abridged’ to accommodate the new member.
The incumbent political party has dismissed repeated calls to relax the rule that prevents a subvention to political parties who have not faced the electorate. @budavid recently reminded the prime minister from the #barbados_underground that she had a “duty of care” as primus inter pares and guardian of our democracy to be bipartisan when treating with certain matters. She was also reminded that there was no hesitation by the government she represents to amend the Constitution for less important matters as reflected in Hansard.
The shrew decision of the Opposition parties to coalesce behind the candidate with the best chance to win has resonated across Barbados and resulted in the needle on the Political Apathy Index (PAI) shifting +10 – the most significant movement in 40 years. A desirable outcome of the tectonic shift in political sentiment has resulted in the redundancy of political pollsters.
@budavid throws his support behind the move by the main opposition parties to embrace a consensus style of politics and hopes that it will be the catalyst for a transformation event to a consensus style of democracy. For too long the hopes and aspirations of a proud people have been superseded by the paramountcy of the political party.