The politics practised in Barbados is based on the adversarial system borrowed from the colonial master. There is the opposite more consensus (constructive) type of politics but such as approach seems esoteric and anathema to who we have been educated to be.
The first past the post system gives the victor the spoils and leaves no room for political parties to meaningfully collaborate on issues of national importance. To observers a key differentiator between political parties in the adversarial system is the ability to generate criticism even when it is not warranted. The result is a torrent of vacuous commentary useless to adding value to what is required.
There is a thin line to observe when critiquing the ability of a people in a well functioning democracy the right to dissent that has oversight for the collective. The challenge will always be the ability of the national leadership to contribute to an ethos that encourages cognitive reasoning.
We enter a period of transition to a Republican style system to signal to our people we must be craftsmen of our fate to continually search for ways to unshackle our minds from mental slavery. Whether in thought words, deeds and use of symbols educating our people that indigenous and original thinking must define and give vent to who we are as Barbadians must be prioritized. This critique must extend to the system of politics influencing how we govern.
In simple analogy, if there is a tumour in the body the best chance of survival is to remove it. If we survey the social and economic landscape of Barbados it is honest to surmise that there has been an alarming degradation of systems and quality of life for Barbadians; there is an inertia that breaths life to the cliche we suffer from implementation deficit, a casual acceptance that indiscipline in our people is reflected in wanton lawlessness; crime, disrespect for the environment and so on. To the detractors, quality of life is based on the criteria of the human development index.
To fundamentally change anything one must effect changes at the root cause. The governance system has relaxed to the point people participation is only required when the political class calls an election. Placing an X on a ballot is just one means of citizen participation in a healthy democracy. We have to modify the current system of governance to encourage every day citizen participation. We must be able to leverage from the majority of what is deposited in the national knowledge pool. The culture of secrecy by central government and the public service, a legacy of our colonial past has to change.
Nearly 50 years our elected officials (DLP and BLP) have avoided enacting and operationalizing transparency legislation. Talking heads from both political parties and members of the political class present ‘compelling’ reasons why the legislation and supporting activity has not been implemented AND we supinely accept it. Who should be blamed for the current state of affairs? The politicians mirror YOU, YOU, YOU. We were raised in the same neighbourhoods, attended the same schools, hangout in the same bars and restaurants, marry into families. Politicians are not aliens, they are born from the same environment we are part. For there to be meaningful change YOU, YOU and YOU must lead the CHANGE.
You, You and You must become more involved in the running of the country. Demand more from our leadership via the channels available, protest action and other forms of civil disobedience. Disengagement is not a sensible option.