From lost decade to clawback period

How can this Mia Mottley earn credibility regarding Mission Transformation but ignore incompetence within the bosom of her Cabinet?

Minister of Education Kay McConney

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in unprecedented manner won the last two general elections. It should be noted the two general elections occurred in 2018 and 2022 – a period of just over three years – in a system where a general election is constitutionally due every five years.

The electorate had enough of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) given the state of the economy during the so called lost decade. Barbados is a two party system, a duopoly, therefore when there is time for a change the country has only one alternative. A reasonable conclusion to make is that the opposition party whether BLP or DLP do not win elections but rather sitting governments lose.

Political pundits often discuss why the third party movement has not gained traction in Barbados in a climate of rising cynicism and apathy being experienced by the electorate. A good answer is that there are multiple factors at play – no appreciable difference in political ideology, ragtag candidates who want for coherent articulation, lack of structure and resources to list a few.

The next general or by-election will be an important bellwether of the political state of Barbados. It is obvious the shelf life of the ‘many hands make light work’ slogan has expired. What the slogan will be replaced with is up to the only significant political opposition. Will Clawback government replace Lost Decade?

There is a place for political gimmickry but not at the expense of serious political commentary in the country. There is a cohort of the electorate that has become disillusioned by the tired rhetoric of political talking heads, including traditional media. If it continues Barbados governance framework maybe headed for crisis.

It’s not just democracy — it’s the case in any political system in which populists are allowed to take power. Populism urges people to vote not according to qualifications and the reasonability of their policies, but rather because of tribalistic affiliations and lowest-common-denominator and unsustainable welfare policies.

So you don’t need to be competent to succeed in politics — you just need to be very charismatic and willing to feed the people with the bare minimum while making it look like you’re giving them a feast. There’s a reason why we have the phrase “bread and games” in politics.

Richard Ballard

The blogmaster is no constitutional expert but from commonsense observation our governance system is failing because of an inability to hold the feet of elected officials to the proverbial fire. We do not fire ministers for cock ups, instead the Prime Minister will do a reshuffle at a time that is politically convenient. Failed tourism campaign and 150 steel houses imported from China, Savvy on the Bay entanglement, licensing of vehicles confusion, Trident ID card project bungle and more recently, simulated incompetence at Springer Memorial School.

Minister McConney is the central figure in the most recent fiasco with a simulation that went wrong last week and could have resulted in physical harm to students at Springer Memorial School. The calls for Minister McConney to resign is a normal response in the political adversarial system practiced. One has to refer the firing of Liz Thompson and George Payne by late Prime Minister Owen Arthur to get a sense that a minister was jettisoned from a Barbados Cabinet for lack of performance. How can this Mia Mottley earn credibility regarding Mission Transformation but ignore incompetence within the bosom of her Cabinet?

Long live the duopoly!

39 thoughts on “From lost decade to clawback period

  1. It’s good to give little children the impression they have a choice.
    A mum will ask do you want to have a bath before dinner or after.

  2. What?

    “So you don’t need to be competent to succeed in politics — you just need to be very charismatic and willing to feed the people with the bare minimum while making it look like you’re giving them a feast. There’s a reason why we have the phrase “bread and games” in politics.”


  3. Lest we forget, Kay and Mia are tight. You don’t amend the Constitution to allow for just anybody, and then place them in a Ministerial role, when you already have 100% of the elected House?
    The IDB test was October ’22. What we learned then, is whatever skills Ms McConney possessed, management seemed lacking. She took a back seat then, and has continued in that role.
    When a member of the usually timid Barbadian press core, has the audacity to ask about her resignation timeline, and the response is ‘have a nice day’, you realize other skills are lacking too.
    Kay was an outstanding hurdler in her youth, but today she cannot navigate the obstacles in her path.
    Time to move to a role more in line with her skill set.

    • Lisa Cummins was inserted to the Cabinet without facing the electorate as well. He had to be moved from tourism ministry. Another handpicked maiden?

    • “Lisa Cummins was inserted to the Cabinet without facing the electorate as well.”

      @ David

      Haven’t successive BLP and DLP administrations over the years not used the Senate to ‘insert handpicked individuals who have not faced the electorate, into the Cabinet?’

      What is different in Lisa Cummins’ case?

    • @Artax

      The difference is that the BLP won all the seats and to a lowly blogmaster there is adequate talent to have avoided her insertion.

    • “The difference is that the BLP won all the seats and to a lowly blogmaster there is adequate talent to have avoided her insertion.”9

      Point taken, David.

      Recall the DLP won the May 28, 1986 general elections after securing 24 of 27 seats.
      Another ‘landslide victory’ was recorded during the January 20, 1999 general elections, when the BLP won 26 of 28 seats.

      I’m sure you will agree there isn’t any significant statistical difference between 24-3, 26-2 and 30-0.

      I’m also sure you will recall during the respective tenures under review, BOTH political parties appointed their colleagues as Senators with ministerial portfolios.

      However, whenever a discussion arises in this forum about the present BLP administration, ‘INCOMPETENCE’ always takes ‘centre stage,’……

      ……therefore, questioning your opinion “there is ADEQUATE TALENT (within the BLP’s pool of parliamentarians) to have avoided her (Cummins) insertion.”

      Especially if one takes into consideration the present ‘back bench members’ previously held portfolios either as Minister, Junior Minister, or Minister of State.

      Please note, I have mentioned in this forum on several occasions that I DISAGREE with persons who did not ‘face the electorate,’ being appointed as Ministers.
      A fact that could be substantiated by BU’s archives.

  4. @David
    Politics isn’t for everyone.
    Without an Opposition none of these rookie Ministers get battle tested in the House.
    Delivering opening or closing remarks, making a presentation etc are relatively easy. As Mike Tyson remarked, ‘everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face’.
    While Mia seems full of give things time to work, her supporting cast lacks her ‘large and in charge’ persona. They do not instill confidence.
    Btw…the PM travel schedule was grinding, but she isn’t at the BRI is she?

  5. @David
    “How can this Mia Mottley earn credibility regarding Mission Transformation but ignore incompetence within the bosom of her Cabinet? ”

    You are assuming that earning credibility is one of the aims!

    The Senate is a lovely place
    – to put friends (John Williams, Rawdon Adams, Darcy Boyce)

    – to put losing former ministers (Patrick Todd, Byer-Suckoo)

    – to put not yet winners (Wilfred Abrahams, Harry Husbands, Jepter Ince, Sandra Husbands, Sandiford-Garner)

    – to put those being groomed for a seat (Rommel Springer, Lisa Cummins, Clyde Mascoll, Andre Worrell)

    – to shove unelected never ran for a seat ministers and ministers of state down our throats (too many to mention)

    Admittedly though of the two parties, one does a much much better job at using this “process” for medium to long term political gain.

    Just observing

    • @NO

      PM at summit in Ottawa

      PRIME MINISTER Mia Amor Mottley is among the leaders attending the Canada-CARICOM Summit in Ottawa, Canada, which begins today.

      Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will welcome leaders from CARICOM for the first such summit on Canadian soil. He will also co-chair the event alongside Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica and current chair of CARICOM.

      With CARICOM celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the summit will highlight Canada’s strong ties with the Caribbean and provide an opportunity for leaders to continue to strengthen cooperation and to chart a better future for people in both regions. (PR)

      Source: Nation

  6. @David
    Such had been suggested by a local source. I guess in the deluge of news, this previously planned gathering has taken a back seat.

    • “an impairment charge of $280 million after-tax related to its investment in Bank of Xi’an Co. Ltd”
      This, along with the China Everbright Bank are long term investments of Scotiabank.
      Odd because it was senior officials at Everbright who were on the target list for China’s crackdown on corruption in the financial sector.
      Scotia must know something the ‘market’ doesn’t?

  7. oil

    Barbados is to sign the Petrocaribe II oil deal with Venezuela “in the near future”, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Jerome Walcott has confirmed.

  8. Somewhat amazed/amused at how we struggle to reinvent the wheel.

    Guess some will be getting paid two or three times for the ‘one’ job. They have mastered the art of scamming.

  9. I went quiet when visiting Barbados…. Wondering.

    Would be funny if we talk big here and be as quiet as a mouse 🐁 when we get there

    The fear is real.

  10. The Comment about not having enough water by the BWA to handle large scale agriculture shows the inept thinking of this entity. So let me see if I understand.

    The BWA makes money off of selling a commodity called water. The more water it can produce the more it can sell. So if there is a demand for this item, why doesnt this entity increase the supply of water to its clients? We have the desal option, we have damming which can either be done privately or by the BWA. What is the volume of water for instance that runs into the ocean every year from lack of capture? How much water does the pond at Lears hold? How much does the Farmers pond hold? Why cant we identify the flow paths and dam those outflows to the sea, then treat the water from them and introduce that water into the local supply?

    This response by the BWA is typical of why we are where we are. Its always the glass is half empty response here isnt it?

    • Is the ponding of run off rain water for farming the responsibility of BWA or the Ministry of Agriculture?

      Desal water is more expensive to produce and added cost for pumping inland to the farms.

      BWA does not set its own rates for water. the government does and when they have to subsidize BWA you are always in here crying out

      Government recently increased the water rates on farmers (most likely to close the gap in BWA finances) and there was a great cry out with some farmer that were given land to farm reporting it was not profitable with the increase.
      Which farmers are going to afford the desal water if it is sold at a for profit price if they can’t afford well water now?

    • Poor CLAW BACK

      You were hitting at BWA for not
      being able to provide water for large scale farming not providing to general house hold needs

      How would treating the runoff and putting it back into the system help large scale farming?

      Why dam and treat water when the island coral is natural filters/ treatment plant?
      You adding more cost to the production and then will complain when rates are raised or BWA is subsidized by gov

  11. So here is how the business world works.

    You have a product with a greater demand than supply. You can A, do nothing about increasing production and brek it off in your current customer base, or B increase production sell more product and drop the unit price of the product based on higher volume. Were the BWA run like a business, it would increase production and lower unit cost thereby making water more affordable for farmers.

    So what has the production annualy been by the BWA for each of the last 10 years in gallons? Has their production grown substantially since 2003? The only entity I know that could have a demand in excess of supply and do nothing about it, would have to be a government entity!

    If it were Coca-Cola you think they would say we ain’t increasing production buy Pepsi instead?

    That’s my final comment on this matter.

    • Barbados is a socialist country ( both parties ).
      Comparing BWA to coke is apple and oranges (Socialism vs capitalism).
      Now compare what would happen to our health system if we privatize the hospital and polyclinics(How many poor people would wait until the last minute to seek care) to the system here in USA where some hospital close when they don’t make enuff money because they had to treat people without insurance/ can’t afford to pay ( usually immigrants)
      Or compare the two tertiary educational systems
      Who will suffer the most under ur capitalist system that averything should be run like a business/ to make profit?

      If you understand the concept and operation of the pond that you and John talk about under another topic then that is the way to provide the cheapest water to farmers. The MOA did some damming for some farmers in st Phillip is another example
      Claybury and Redland plantations were doing it from the 80/90s
      As farmers will mostly need extra water during the dry seasons then ur water treatment plants would be out of operation for about half the year

      Now if u want to put back the run off water into the system then the best and cheapest way would be instead of damming and building treatment plants – let the run into the hole and percolate to the aquifers. Your three dams would be operating like the modern concept of the well and be large enuff to be mechanically cleaned
      BY DEFINITION bim is a water scare country
      IMO for right now we have enuff water around to fill our needs but we need more reservoirs in the higher elevations .
      Note how the one put in on the road from branchbury to Chimborazo ( castle grant) in st Joseph has greatly improved the lack of water conditions in the surrounding areas

  12. If. If if. Again?

    If bwa get privatize and all Barbados havta pay the real cost of water a lot of people would stop bathing 🤣
    Note how the backyard farmer gone out of business since the metered ever connection

    • @Hants

      If you are asking the bajan diaspora to invest in Barbados and become involved in local affairs why not allow them to vote? It is a sure way to demonstrate inclusiveness.

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