Freundel Stuart was the prime minister of Barbados in the period 2010 to 2018 after assuming the caretaker role from David Thompson who became sick on the job soon after the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was voted to office in 2008. The legacy of Stuart’s stewardship is still being written although some pundits at this early stage are happy to label it worse than the Sandiford administration. The tactic engineered by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) – the other member of the duopoly – has enjoyed success with branding of the Glorious Years as The Lost Decade.
The failure of a third party movement to gain traction in Barbados means the health of our democracy is nexus to well managed DLP and BLP political parties. A strident dissenting voice is a feature of the Westminster system we try to model – the lacuna created by the recent general election and ensuing legal challenge regarding how the Senate is constituted is a case in point. A good argument can therefore be made that the business of political parties is the public’s business although classified private entities. In fact the unwillingness of quality citizens to offer themselves to join political parties who aspire to selflessly serve the public is at the heart of the type of governments we are saddled.
Some of us who comment on political matters are not surprised at the dysfunctional state of the DLP. It was not difficult to forecast. Barbadians except for the rabidly partisan are turned off by the quality of politics and governments we have been getting since the Tom Adams era which ended in the mid 80s. The blogmaster opines both DLP and BLP political parties have been rotated to govern the country based on the level of voter apathy and lack of credible alternatives and little to do with substance. The unprecedented 30-0 victories at the polls by the BLP in 2018 and 2022 should give Barbadians reason to pause. The BLP despite making several mistakes in a brief tenure of just over three years the political opposition was unable to gain the public’s trust. The quality of our system of government whether we like it or not is tied to the quality of individuals attracted to serve in political parties. There is that symbiotic relationship only a fool would deny.
Today makes 32 days since the last general election and except for a public position in response to a contentious offer from Prime Minister Mottley to participate in a discussion about accepting two Senate seats, the DLP has been silent and irrelevant in the public space. Sensible observers appreciate it will take the DLP time to assess, reorganize and mobilize BUT there is a reality to be considered by the DLP and onlookers. The silence coming out of George Street is consistent with the ‘glorious years’ of the Stuart administration and the longer it persists, the more difficult it will be for that party to be perceived as a credible alternative. The blogmaster is aware the DLP has skin in the game based on the matter that is before the court brought by AG Brathwaite – who we know is acting de facto for the DLP. Some of us are not so stupid to believe otherwise.
This is a cry for a different type of citizen with a passion and body of work for serving the public to join the two main political parties. An organization assumes the character of its members. If we want our governments to change how business is done, it must begin with the quality of personnel attracted to political parties. Today it is the DLP in crisis, it is not inconceivable the BLP may find itself in a similar position when Mia Mottley demits office whether for a forced or unforced reason. If that happens all of us will be adversely impacted.
The type of government we get starts with YOU!