Truth and Reconciliation Laws that require improved governmental transparency in how they spend the peoples tax money, improved government accountability with legal consequences for unethical behaviour, lower political term limits, effective use of IT to support freedom of information reform, education reform that improves the old and out of touch system we have, redirecting of millions from projects that only service the elites to service backlogged social services….. for starters – BU family member Austin
Prime Minister David Thompson (l) Political Strategist Hartley Henry (r)
The current Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government is over the hump of a five year constitutional term in office. There is no doubt the perception by the Barbados electorate that the Barbados Labour Party had become a fat and corrupt party played a significant part in their defeat. The disgust by the populace was enough to overcome the fear of voting for an untested David Thompson, a man whose reputation had been tainted by the early 90s when he served in the infamous Sandiford “8% Cut” Administration. Not to forget the wrestle between himself and Mascoll for leadership of the DLP which had the potential of propelling the Barbados system of Government into a tail-spin, and which still has cause for Kellman and Estwick to sit uncomfortably behind Prime Minister Thompson.
At the crux of the campaign message delivered by the Government on its last campaign trail, they promised how they would hold those in the former Government accountable for what they knew were corrupt practices which had occurred. Many Government projects, Government officials and supporting cast were fingered on the election trail prosecution of the then BLP Government. How can we forget VECO, the company awarded the BOLT contract to build the prison with no track record? How can we forget the ABC Highway contract which was awarded to a company name 3S which had no track record of building a prison? The story of Hardwood Housing, Clyde Mascoll, CEO Murrell was used to good effect in the last campaign by DLP political strategists. There were the alleged clandestine dealings at the UDC, SSA, RDC, NHC, NCC and several of the statutory and quasi-Government entities, and the list goes on.
We are over the hump of a DLP Government and not one person in the last Government has been put before the law courts. Instead what Barbadians have had to tolerate is the constant accusations and reminders by DLP officials and surrogates of the alleged corrupt practices which occurred during the last Government. Frankly, the people have reached the point where they are fed up with the constant references to corruption when it is obvious the DLP Government cannot deliver on their election promise, or they have decided to continue with the status quo which says, it is our turn to slaughter the fatted calf. We believe the latter is the case.
Contained in the message how the DLP Government would manage was the promise of laws which would improve the governance framework of Barbados. The fact that well into the DLP term in office Barbadians appear to have forgotten the promise reflects a society which is happy to be manipulated by its politicians and supporting cast. The next general election should be an interesting affair. The blogs no doubt will help to remind the public of the issues. The traditional media seems to have drawn lines at this early stage. The Barbados Advocate is in the pocket of the Government, the Nation Newspaper appears to have taken an anti-government position on most issues, although the strings are being tugged from Port of Spain. The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation remains the perennial political football manipulated by Government, and the latest online newspaper Barbados Today is busy trying to establish its circulation. However, given the shadows behind Roy Morris it will be hard for him to maintain editorial control come crunch time. We wish him luck.
The Government has removed the issue of transparency from the front burner. Yes, it is currently consumed with managing an economy deep in recession but it has found the time to execute other priorities. Given the platform message of the last campaign, onlookers would have anticipated that a Thompson Government would have moved with haste on the matter of transparency. The government does not have to implement Freedom of Information and Integrity Legislation to be transparent. They just need to make some files public such as, tell the public who owns the PSVs. Tell the public who is on the CLICO Oversight Committee. Tell the people the qualifications used to appoint Board Members. If the Prime Minister knows what happened within the precincts of Parliament concerning Estwick, there is no need to wait on the Speaker or Committee of Privileges – fire that person.
The time has come for Prime Minister David Thompson to shape the legacy of his first term in Office. So far, on the issue of transparency in Government and prosecuting persons fingered by them during the last election campaign, we score them 3 out of 10. The politics of collusion is alive and well. How else can the Government’s backing of Senator Liz Thompson’s candidature for the job of Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change be explained? Only last month Government Senators viciously attacked her performance as Minister of Housing when a contract was awarded to her husband’s company during the last Government. She has also been attacked for overseeing the Greenland Landfill placement in an Eco-sensitive Scotland location. Finally, her role in the famous golden showers has also not escaped Government critics. Are we saying that she has under-performed as a Government Minister but we have no problem with recommending her for a job at the United Nations? Performance is performance is it not?
The politics of collusion is alive and well, we tell you!