For the first time in his life the blogmaster is overwhelmed by a feeling of melancholy after following the opening salvo of the January 19, 2022 general election campaign. A general election called eighteen months before it is constitutionally due because Prime Minister Mia Mottley in her infinite wisdom wants a mandate from the electorate to validate important decisions she says have to be made given the perilous state of the local economy. Many if not all Barbadians agree the current state of the economy is perilous, not all agree the early ringing of the bell was necessary given the unprecedented mandate the BLP received in 2018. Time will soon tell if Barbadians agree with Mottley in our first past the post system.
In the electioneering of the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s the blogmaster felt excited at the prospect of hopping from meeting to meeting listening to BLP and DLP platforms add Eric Fly and a few independents to balance things out. While the messages from the various platforms were filled with the usual comedic relief, there was enough grist to inform healthy debate between loyal party supporters and independents.
Last night the blogmaster wasted precious time to view the opening platforms of the two campaigns and a saying growing in popularity on BU – Nothing to See Here (NTSH) was fresh in the mind. The apologists will remind everyone that it is early days yet, however, the blogmaster subscribes to the view that usually one does not get a second chance to make a good first impression. Predictably overused narratives populated the speeches by the candidates last night. The tired messages contradicted the urgency of the call for early elections by the prime minister BUT the blogmaster maybe jumping the gun on the early pronouncement.
What the blogmaster and some others are hoping to hear is a creative strategy/vision supported with ground tactics to steer Barbados from the economic rocks we are headed. Barbadians have been living high on the hog up until about 20 years ago given the nature of the global economy- easy forex inflows from tourism and high powered money to the West Coast with the international business sector supporting the economic model that has served us well up until now. North south capital flow is drying up given the complexity of moving money across borders post 911 and deepening, polarizing geopolitics. The exotic destination of the Caribbean is now competing with UAE, Mediterranean, Central America other non traditional markets. The rise of WTO rules has meant protective tariff had to be removed with large countries in the market maintaining an advantage.
The message to Mia is simple. Let us forget the extreme politics this time around and position the national needs first. Yes you are admired as a political leader who strides the globe like a colossus. Yes you are head and shoulder above the next on the local scene. Yes you have done a lot to remind locals and other afar of the forgotten Barbados brand. Yes you are an improvement on Stuart who apparently didn’t have use for an internet connection. What the people need however is to believe that there is a leadership with the ability to find a pathway that leads from the present path to nowhere. We need to efficiently execute our plans because we have no more margin for error.