The blogmaster checked the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) website and the list of candidates to run in the upcoming general election is not current. The same observation for the DLP with a general election on the horizon only 16 candidates are listed. Needless to say manifestos are also a work in progress with the DLP website offering a ‘Coming Soon’ disclosure. Given the perilous state of the social and economic affairs in the country, should we be satisfied with the lack of urgency shown by the major political parties to ready its ‘political machinery’? Should the electorate be satisfied by the lack of urgency?
One expects after the Michaelmas break political parties AND operatives will ramp up activities. Unfortunately barring a divine intervention the next general election contest will be between the two major political parties pejoratively dubbed the Duopoly. Like many countries across the globe Barbadians have shown little appetite for third parties who for the most part have been unable to attract quality candidates and craft a compelling alternative message.
The next general election will be interesting for many reasons. At the top of list of political pundits is how the DLP will bounce back from the unprecedented 30 to zero drubbing in 2018. On the flip side there is a BLP managing a sick economy made worse by the ongoing panic resulting in a conservative 17% unemployment number. It is a scenario ready made for a political opposition to make good progress. Then again there is the political adage oppositions don’t win elections. Governments lose them. The Mottley government must be aware the pandemic has given rise to an anti-government sentiment with several losing general elections in the last year.
Will the central theme of the next general election be about which political party has the superior inferior leadership? How about the economy stupid. What we know is that tired narratives of old should not apply. We have a more enlightened electorate and active social media. The blogmaster is the eternal optimist. Then again what are the political options that spell a departure from the tired policies of the Duopoly? Credit to the government it has been promoting increase use of technology to improve efficiency to manage our affairs and forging linkages to non traditional markets BUT the same old issues remain. Have a read of post 2018 Auditor General reports, the state of the National Insurance Scheme, public debt accumulation, irrelevant education system to enable Barbados to compete in a global market, over-reliance on tourism, passive private sector; entrepreneurial class, declining social behavioral, increase lawlessness etc etc. Although the government is not solely to blame for everything ailing the country, it sets the tone.
Where do we go from here?
What should citizens demand from political parties given the signs of the times. What role must traditional media play to assist in the the transformation to ensure relevance. Recently the blogmaster viewed asocial media posting of a young female journalist who appeared to be besotted with Prime Minister Mottley because she was handed the opportunity of an interview. How does it contrast with trade unionists of yore who refused on principle to drink and break bread with those on the other side of the table?
A read of the tea leaves indicates NTSH.