People Apathy is Real

In the pre and post 2018 general election analysis Barbadians were and continue to be subjected to a myriad of reasons why the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was resoundingly rejected in consecutive general elections. All kinds of analyses completed with the jargon from the world of statistics have been dumped in the public space – swing analysis, standard deviation, outlier, historical comparatives etc.

As a keen follower of local affairs this blogmaster posits that 2018 was no outlier, it was a tipping point. The country witnessed the catastrophic impact caused by a leadership vacuum triggered by the death of David Thompson. On the other divide there was the rise of Mia Mottley as leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). In the mind of the 45% of voters inclined to vote there was no comparison. In the prevailing environment this perceived difference by the electorate in the leadership of the two parties will determine outcomes in future elections. It is being observed how Mottley is forcing through changes to address the leadership vacuum should she vacate the position in five years.

What is voter apathy?

The simple explanation to summarize various definitions is a lack of interest shown by an electorate to participating in elections by certain segments. It does not require the blogmaster to be prolix to make the point that if a significant number of people disengage from a system designed to serve them, there is a high probability of negative outcomes. There is a secondary observation to support a conclusion voter apathy being a real concern seen in wider society. Do not forget what defines an ecosystem and what it takes to function optimally.

Instead of the false narratives being propagated by the usual talking heads to satisfy paymasters, a more constructive exercise in the interest of building a wholesome society would be to identify the drivers causing rising voter apathy and cynicism by the citizenry. The results of such an engagement would inform a plan to boost civic awareness in the country. An active democracy requires more than citizens marking an X when an election is called, it requires day to day engagement. According to Centre for Civic Education a few of the ways citizens can participate:

◦ Scanning for information in media, magazines etc to fact check
◦ Participating in political discussion 
◦ Signing petitions 
◦ Communicating ideas and concerns to elected representatives 
◦ Attending meetings to acquire information, participate in discussions, lend support
◦ Lobbying for laws of special interest
◦ Demonstrating through marches, boycotts, sit-ins and other forms of protest
◦ RUNNING for OFFICE (BU’s emphasis)
◦ Civil disobedience to list a few

If there is no healthy participation in our democracy by citizens the country loses an important check and balance by not benefiting from its collective knowledge pool. At a secondary level have we been observing the lack of quorums and low voter turnouts to AGMS of credit unions, sports associations, trade unions and other NGOs? There is a malaise, ignorance and decadence being witnessed on scale in Barbados- some argue it goes beyond our shores- that details a dysfunction we need to correct. Is the blogmaster overly-optimistic to expect our leaders in ALL spheres of society to make a priority of determining solutions to energize respective memberships?

There is the saying attributed to philosopher Aristotle that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – to grow a wholesome Barbados society ALL stakeholders will have to deliver by achieving agreed to aims and objectives. A key stakeholder is the citizenry, ceding our innate rights as citizens to politicians et al will ensure more of the same.

A word to the wise should be sufficient.

19 thoughts on “People Apathy is Real

  1. These are interesting times

    If I picture Barbados as a person, I don’t envision an adult. I envision a teenager, of the forced-ripe variety, readier for the world than its actual experience and wisdom actually provide for. Forced to grow up faster than it expected because of an unexpected turn of events. Not yet fully grown but thrown, or jumping fully, into the real world with more confidence and bravado than common sense would suggest.
    And yet, with the vigour of youth and the luck of fearlessness, due to ignorance of the danger, the teenager beats the odds and manages to grow up.
    Growing up is not always easy. I would dare say it is often hard. The transitions from stage to stage are often moments of turmoil. If this moment in history isn’t some kind of major transition from one stage to another I don’t know what it is. There is a saying which is supposed to be a curse: “May you live in interesting times.” I don’t know if we are cursed or blessed to be on the scene. But these are definitely interesting times.
    Technological innovations
    Of course, that is if you are interested. These are times when you can easily tune out of what is going on in the world around you. Or, rather, fine-tune your attention and tune in to a specific set of options from a larger number of channels than you could ever completely scroll through. This is the irony. The same technological innovations that can bring you news from across the globe and make your world seem so much bigger than before can also act as a funnel and sieve to pass all of the possible information that you could possibly receive through so that all you ever see is the narrowest band of the spectrum.
    And your world becomes smaller than even the earliest humans, who may have been confined to an area only as large as they could walk.
    Attitude changes
    Growing up means that the focus of your attention changes. When you are a child you speak and act like a child.
    You are interested in childish things.
    But when you grow up your interests are supposed to change. But they don’t change just so. Something forces them to change. Maybe it’s hormones, peer influence, or your mother not cooking for you anymore. Your attitude changes and you become hungry
    for big people things. Some scholars believe that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden represents sex. Barbados is having intercourse with the world and there is no guarantee that it will bear fruit.
    Growing up means innocence lost, where not knowing is no longer an excuse. Except there is now so much to know, and what there is to know changes so fast today that you may never be able to say that you are fully grown. This is an interesting time to be in transition, to be in mid-air, ungrounded in culture, history or the certainty of a contemporary norm. But this is who we are.
    This is who we’ve always been.
    This is the nature of being a creation of colonialism in the socalled New World. The newest of the new. The unwanted child of a violent encounter between worlds, trying to make its way in the world as it makes the world in its own way.
    It is in interesting times that history and nations are made.
    Just like it is in an oven that bread is baked. There are slower ways of preparing food and making bread. But we don’t have time for that.
    A newer generation of Bajans is hungry. An older generation of Bajans wants to prove it can still cook. And in the midst of the banging pots and burning pans, everyone is watching the screen to see their own version of how the story ends.
    Adrian Green is a communications specialist. Email: Adriangreen14

    Source: Nation

  2. Voters Apathy a rebellion of sorts
    People sick and tired of being sick and tired of govt after govt doing nothing to.motivate enhanced or provide a financial security blanket
    So what the hell.why bother no one listens to the people plight promises made nothing happens
    Last election brought home such points of mistrust lacking
    Instead of govt reading the tea leaves of a 39percent voters turnout
    Govt head down the road of more division and mistrust
    Then all asked the question of Apathy
    Answer a key principle and fundamental that connects people and govt that of Trust is missing
    When govts get that principle right the people would response in a plausible manner

  3. I do not know if ‘Wow’ means the same thing for you as it does for me.

    Wow! What hypocrisy for the article… When ‘we’ jump on a bus to attend an election meeting we get ridiculed. Apathy is a desirable quality then.

    Wow! For Adrian Green. I will continue my search for the genius that some see. All I saw was overused cliches.

    Wow! For AC. Seeing the ball as big as a breadfruit.

  4. DavidFebruary 13, 2022 8:22 AM

    The blogmaster is pleased his perspective is not meshing with ac or you, it provides enormous motivation.
    You rather blame the people than the source and symptom.of the problem
    You need to read a book call
    Cause and effect it would guide your thinking as to the how..why .and causes

  5. 😃I took some offence when you lumped me with AC.

    That was a very low blow.😂

    The love is real, but cheap jokes takes preference.

    • The problem here is that so many John and Jane Public are ignorant to how their minds are controlled/manipulated by the power elite. They spend big money to collect data to understand how to create and target messaging as one example. It is part of this blogmaster’s frustration over the years dealing with these kinds of matters in bite sizes.

  6. Whoever said Adrian Green is a genius? Adrian has a way of putting things that makes them easier to relate to. He also has a way of understanding the world and its people.

    Sometimes he is brilliant and sometimes he hits a dry spell.

    But, after all, there is seldom any insight from ANY of us that nobody ever saw and expressed before.

    There is nothing new under the sun, after all now, is there?

  7. David,

    Some of us understand what Adrian is saying. Yes, we have heard it before but it bears repeating.

    Often cliches become cliches because they have substance and bear repeating. Some people get it the first time and others the second time.

    Columns such as Adrian’s are meant to encourage us to pause and think. They are his musings. The man is a cultural practitioner. A creative.

    He is not a political scientist. He is not an attorney. He is not an economist.

    Keep posting my soul brotha from another motha! It has more value than the partisan poop that others so loudly appreciate on this site.

    You go, “boy”!

  8. David,

    The algorithms can keep one in a bubble. Just this morning I told my best friend’s daughter that we must be careful to step out of our bubble from time to time. I make sure to watch ALL the news channels from time to time. Even Fox, though it makes me want to puke. I read different online newspapers from different countries from different perspectives.

    When you do this you become aware of how much your thinking can be skewed by what you are are constantly being fed by news media.

    Authoritarianism is indeed making a comeback. Socia media and other media are giving it the power to expand much more quickly than before. We have a fight on our hands!

  9. Authoritarianism that shuts out non-whites specifically. Those of us who live overseas should wake up and smell the coffee. I don’t think they are taking it seriously. They are more bothered by Mia.

  10. Mia Mottley offered DLP 2 senate seats in the absence of a LoO after a 30-0 routing
    The President maintained a dignified silence

    The DLP were still licking their wounds and said this could be a rat trap to catch rats and we will wait for further clarification
    and they are still waiting…

  11. Take it easy brothers and sisters God is working His purpose out it’s time for a good system of government . Our Heavenly Father is in charge,

  12. Forde: Serve the people

    MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT (MPs) have been told not to forget to serve the people of Barbados.
    Long-standing MP for St Thomas and former Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde gave that advice yesterday, after pointing out there was a perception that elected officials only cared about themselves.
    “It is important that we as Members of Parliament continue to show the rest of Barbados that we are a credit to society, and that we are not out there for personal aggrandisement, that we want to drive the biggest car or build the biggest house.
    “That is how we are perceived and it is so far from the truth. The majority of politicians, regardless of whatever side they are on, are there to give representation to the people,” Forde said.
    She was speaking during an ecumenical service held in her honour at Lester Vaughan School to celebrate her 52 years of public service.
    After serving in the Mia Amor Mottley administration since 2018 as Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, the Prime Minister said Forde asked not to be considered for a ministry after the Barbados Labour Party secured a second consecutive 30-0 victory in the January 19 General Election. She was succeeded by Kirk Humphrey.
    Forde said she stepped back to give young people more opportunities.
    “I did not run away from it, I have the capacity to work with it, but I felt it was my duty to let some of my young colleagues get a chance to see the level of service you have to put in as a minister, parliamentary secretary or an MP, so they get to understand the groundwork and help to come up with policies and programmes to empower the seniors,” she said.
    While noting she had tremendous reach as a Government official, she said many people needed to realise the politicians could not do it all.
    “There will be pitfalls, roads will not be done adequately, the garbage truck might not come often, the pipes might not run regularly because we can only do so much. We can make the representation but we cannot physically go and do things.”
    She added: “I know there may be quite some disaffection among people generally because sometimes you don’t have to do anything for people to get angry or ask for even more . . . . Sometimes you give your time, energy and resources, you write letters, give them jobs but they still want more. It’s the ‘you gave me the job but not the house mentality’ and we understand because times are hard.
    “However, I am grateful for those who remained faithful like my branch members who come rain or sun to let us continue to plan for the people of this beautiful constituency.”
    Forde is a trained graduate teacher and specialist in early childhood education. She taught at Sharon Mixed School for 25 years.
    She was president of the Association of Friends of Gordon Cummins District Hospital, a member of the Barbados Union of Teachers’ executive and a Sunday school superintendent at Holy Innocents’ Church.
    She was elected to the House of Assembly in a 2001 by-election to replace Sir David Simmons after he was elevated to Chief Justice. Forde became Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in the Owen Arthur administration.
    Yesterday she was honoured in video tributes, musical interludes and a performance by teacher and gospel singer Sheldon Hope.
    Former chair of the St Thomas Parish Independence Committee, Evelina King-Harper, and new Minister of Education Kay McConney thanked Forde for her dedication to service.
    McConney said she met Forde many years ago when she served in the Ministry of Education.
    “As I contemplated politics, one of the first persons I went to was Cynthia Forde because of how much I admired what she had done. She was not only a representative of the people because she won their vote, she was a representative because she was able to keep their hearts. She gives all every time. She is the most tireless worker for the people that I have encountered and I pray that as I grow in politics, I can be who she is and more,” McConney said.
    King-Harper added: “She has bowed out of elective politics but not representative politics, and we think that after 52 years of public service to this country, you are allowed to scale back in certain areas and focus on others.” (TG)

    Source: Nation

  13. The perennial cry!

    Disclose election funding

    THE NATIONAL INTEREST and focus are on the constitutional motion before the High Court challenging the validity of the Senate, but there are other issues that must also form part of the public discourse.
    The future of the National Insurance Scheme, dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the high cost of living all form part of the remaining front of mind awareness. The price tag of the January 19 General Election needs to be added to the list.
    The official election report in Barbados never details the true dollar value spent on general or by-elections and while individual candidates file and publish their expenditure, those do not give the required figures or results.
    The 2022 General Election will undoubtedly incur extra costs associated with the pandemic. The Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) had to have additional manpower and put measures in place to ensure all COVID-19 requirements were observed.
    The political parties’ meetings and rallies during the hectic three-week campaign, and particularly the frenetic activity on polling day, would also have resulted in additional expenditure.
    These details should be explained and highlighted within the EBC’s official report expected in the coming months. That report will not, however, capture the real details the public needs to know about the financing of the election campaigns.
    This is why there may be justifiable indignation and frustration as it relates to the financing of election campaigns in Barbados. There is no analysis, whether of tax filings or other financial data. It remains too secretive.
    There is no freedom of access to information legislation to demand details, and no laws requiring the registration and regulation of political parties, which means the identities of any donors and the level of their contributions remain difficult to trace.
    The country faces a herculean
    task finding out about the money along with the direct and indirect assistance given to political parties, including that for treating. The secret giving, whether by corporations or wealthy individuals, will surely promote greater cynicism and erode the trust of citizens about the influence money has in our political system. Many scholars and organisations have commented on the need for campaign finance reform across the region given that it is a hot button issue even in more developed societies with clear rules and regulations. With the 30-0 composition of the House of Assembly and only Government representatives, we hope that campaign finance law is not relegated to the tail-end of the administration’s legislative agenda. Barbados cannot boast of having laws related to public procurement, and whistleblower protection, promising legislation on integrity in public life and freedom of information, but remaining mute on the counterpart registration of political parties and campaign finance reform regulations.
    It is important that public-spirited citizens reach out to their parliamentary representatives and even the Independent senators to agitate for amendments to the Representation of the People Act.
    There must be greater accountability and transparency as it relates to the funding of election campaigns in Barbados. The public must see the full picture.
    There is no analysis, whether of tax filings or other financial data.
    It remains too secretive.

    Source: Nation

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