“On November 11, 2020, Moore received 3154 votes in the by-election. Floyd Reifer of the Democratic Labour Party was the nearest challenger with 1 327.Grenville Phillips of Solutions Barbados earned 95, David Walrond of the opposition People’s Party for Democracy and Development got 80, Ambrose Grosvenor of the United Progressive Party 70 and the Bajan Free Party’s Alex Mitchell received ten.” – Nation Newspaper 12/11/2020
The result of the St. George North by election year exposes reasons to pause for those who worry about the current state of governance in Barbados. Historically we have managed the affairs of state well enough to have earned the label ‘a stable political country’. However, the result of the 2018 general election created an unprecedented situation where for the first time the OPPOSITION in the House of Assembly was not comprised of members of a party who faced the electorate under a different party banner. Instead, Bishop Joseph Atherley saved the day by crossing the floor to be anointed the Leader of the Opposition by the Governor General.
The decision by Atherley to cross the floor averted a constitutional crisis many continue to argue (including this blogmaster) and the rest is history to cite an often used cliché. Despite his best effort to be the dissenting voice inside and outside of parliament Atherley his People’s Party for Democracy has been unable to win measurable support from Barbadians. The result of the St. George North by election validates the position. The other conclusion political pundits are certain is that the third party movement in its current form has been rejected by the electorate.
A general election is constitutionally due in 2023 and surprise surprise the main political parties to contest will be the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and Democratic Labour Party (DLP). In other words the DLP represents the government in waiting. It means therefore the general public is vested in a fit for purpose political opposition whether it is occupying parliamant or on the outside. An irony often discussed when this matter surfaces is to highlight a political party is a private member organization, yet it must be ready to take over the job of managing the weighty affairs of state.
Whether we like it or not the DLP represents the only practical legitimate political opposition voice in the mind of the public- although it failed to win a single seat in the last general election. To compare with other countries the DLP is the entrenched other member of the duopoly like the Democrats and Republicans, Labour and Tories or JLP and PNP to name three.
The inability of the DLP so far to list a full slate of candidates to contest the 2023 general election is a concern.
The inability of party leader to elevate her national profile in an environment screeching for a political alternative is a concern.
The inability of the DLP to speak authoritatively on economic policy is a concern.
These are not exhaustive concerns and the one not mentioned and possibly the biggest is the potential collateral damage from Donville Inniss’ verdict due to be handed down next week in New York.