Political Rounders

The US presidential election is less that 80 days away. The blogmaster has always been intrigued how Americans select political candidates through a system of primaries and caucuses. Compared to the process in Barbados where the Executive Council of the the two main political parties are known to have vetoed candidates nominated by constituency councils, it begs a question…

…For election integrity purposes, the candidate selected should be the candidate with the most popular support within the party. In some systems, political party bosses, or small cliques within the party, select their nominees. The nominee is then beholden to the bosses who would expect favours and other preferential treatment. This can also be true of large donors to parties who may try to ‘buy’ candidates (for more on this see Campaign Financing)…


In recent years concerns have been expressed whether the current system operated by the two main political parties serve to produce the best governments. The idea a handful of political partisans can sit in a school on a Sunday evening to select a candidate based on questionable criteria is not ideal. The recent example of former Minister Denis Lowe in the Christ East Constituency and not so recent of the Barbados Labour Party widely publicized case of Maria Agard are classic examples.

The concern is that these political parties – some suggest cabals – make decisions that have far reaching consequences for the country. Has the time come to democratize the process in a real way is the rhetorical question. Should a more broad based approach to candidate selection be adopted. The present system has given rise to a political class comfortable with an arrangement of party recycling at acceptable intervals. If we do not find a way for the political system to ‘regenerate’ there will be the inevitable result. The poorakey debate in our parliament, refusal by the DLP and BLP to enact transparency legislation and the lack of political will to fix Auditor General’s concerns over the years are three performance measures a discerning Barbadian can use to evaluate the performance of the political directorate in the post Independence period.

We have a political system that convinces a prime minister during a pandemic to practice Machiavellian politics.

We have a political system that permitted a member of parliament to switch to the ‘opposition side’ in the twinkling of an eye. A lack of system integrity some say for a candidate who days earlier ran on a government ticket.

In the 2018 general election the BLP gained 72.83% of the vote, DLP 22.10%, Solutions 2.72%. Has the first past the post system outlived its relevance with alternatives to be considered, proportional representation; preferential voting?

…No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…

Winston Churchill, 11 November 1947

A man made system is not perfect therefore the system of government we practice is not perfect.

In an imperfect system the citizenry – the collective – must be sufficiently educated to be aware of the importance of our responsibilities. The buck stops with us.

A country gets the government it deserves.

We must be the disrupting force.

The political class is a mirror image.

The question: How do we inculcate traits and behaviours in the citizenry required to be the disruptive force- the last check and balance- to ensure our government commits to an approach of continuous renewal?

2019 Auditor General Report Provokes a Yawn

Search BU Archives for ‘Auditor General Report‘ and page after page of results will be the result. Again in 2020 the blogmaster will do his bounden duty and post the 2019 Auditor General Report.

A scan of the 110 page report immediately caused the blogmaster to yawn. The yawn was not intended to be disrespectful of the Auditor General’s report, his is an office that appears to be diligent in carrying out its assignments.  The yawn was triggered by the sense of a same old same old feeling, here we go again. We have an office of the Crown continually exposing blatant flouting of government’s financial rules and government after government do nothing to right the wrongs. Whether Barbados Labour Party (BLP) or Democratic Labour Party (DLP) it continues.

Fact: Parliament and its several Working Committees do not function as intended in the governance system we practice. What are the people to do except to rebel at some stage? Our dysfunctional governance system brings into play what is unfolding in several USA cities. At some point Barbadians will be moved to do the same when we reach the tipping point. At this point the blogmaster opened his eyes from having a dream that promised so much.




We Are All Sunk


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II,

As a small independent country, there are a few maxims that should guide our behaviour.  Never blast a hole in our boat, because it can sink, and we will all suffer.  Never contaminate the food on our boat, because we will all get sick.  Never sabotage any part of our boat, because it will hinder our progress.

The only justifiable reason for damaging the boat, is for enslaved people to protest their condition.  However, we are no longer slaves.  Our slave fore-parents purchased this land for us with their blood.

We elect persons to navigate our boat for up to 5 years.  We may severely criticise their performance.  However, there is no good reason for any Barbadian today to damage our boat.  This should be common sense.  However, there are a few Barbadians who think that they have a licence to harm our boat.

Participating in corruption, bribery, and drug-gang alliances, is to blast a hole in our boat.  Infiltrating and then politicising professional, industry, news media, and union organisations is to contaminate our water supply.  Discouraging responsible foreign investment, is to sabotage our boat.

Opposition politics in Barbados is about convincing people how bad things are, so that they will vote against the party in government.  To do this, each party relies on their political operatives.  These operatives know of only one method of maintaining discontent, that is to harm our boat.

Political operatives have adopted this slave legacy of sabotage, as part of their opposition to the party in Government.  They have a real incentive.  They are normally well-rewarded by their political party.  Therefore, they focus on getting their party elected by any means, regardless of the cost to us.

Since either the BLP or DLP is opposing the party in Government, opposition political operatives are always trying to harm Barbados.  However, this continuous harming of Barbados must stop – for all our sakes.  Since the DLP is currently out of Government, it is up to them to stop this cycle.

The DLP’s political operatives will naturally feel that they are being unfaired.  They saw that the BLP’s worst political operatives, who did major damage to the boat when they were in opposition, were richly rewarded.  They think that now is the time for them to earn their reward.

Despite how badly the BLP’s political operatives behaved when the BLP was in opposition, someone needs to decide to be the adult.  Otherwise, this toxic tit-for-tat political environment that both parties have cultivated, will never end.

If we want to preserve this country for our children, we must find a way of competing politically that does not include damaging our boat.  Perhaps all political parties can consider the following initiatives.

  1. Each party should explain how they plan to stop their candidates from accepting bribes.  The public can then decide whether their methods are effective.
  2. Professional organisations can analyse and compare each party’s social development and economic growth plans.
  3. Industry organisations can assess and compare each party’s barriers to investment.
  4. The media can provide fair, honest, and non-partisan political coverage.
  5. The unions can stop promoting and protecting one party, and frustrating and not-cooperating with the other.

After 50 years of independence, we should be mature enough to try a better path.  However, it is unlikely that political operatives will behave properly, because the rewards are just too enticing.  Since they harm our boat on behalf of their party, only their party can order them to stop.

It is foreseen that if both parties do not restrain their political operatives, then Barbados will become ungovernable.  However, simply ordering their political operatives to cease and desist will not be enough.  The DLP’s political operatives will justifiably claim that they alone are asked to bear the burden.

To ensure full participation by all political operatives, they must all be convinced that they will never again be rewarded for harming Barbados.  For this to happen, then BLP must terminate the reward-appointments of their worst political operatives – otherwise, we are all sunk.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Do Not Forget the Disaffected People

The blogmaster was in a conversation recently with a Barbadian who explained why he refused to vote in the recent general election held on 24 May 2018.  The vanquished Democratic Labour Party (DLP) does not need reminding that the defeat was the worst inflicted on a political party at the poll in local history. So massive was the defeat the new leadership of the DLP has not yet emerged from the shellacking. The blogmaster’s view is that they should agree to a caretaker leader – someone with accepted management skills and a modicum of political IQ – to assist with transitioning the beleaguered party to an even keel.

Many are of the view- idealistically so in the opinion of the blogmaster- that it is the civic duty of all citizens to vote to determine who should govern a country.  Then there is the opposite view that it is the constitutional right of John Citizen to disengage from the voting process as a recourse to an individual’s right to protest.  Whatever the contending views it is certain that no political system (man made) is perfect. Therefore the actors in the system must continually evaluate and adjust to maintain contact with the point of equilibrium.

Resonating from the conversation was the vehemence in the criticism the disgruntled citizen directed at the duopoly, read Barbados and Democratic Labour party. His view was that BOTH main political parties which have held the reins of power post Independence are responsible for the current social and economic morass Barbados has become mired. Both are responsible for allowing Barbados to be sucked into a vortex fuelled by popular culture. In the process the required leadership to ensure Barbados tracks a plot to sustain a way of live that is affordable and culturally relevant has been compromised.

It is important for ALL Barbadians to appreciate there is a high level of disengagement and disaffection being demonstrated by the Barbados electorate. The euphoria of an election result, combined with a business as usual mentality lends itself to a mirage which clouds the fault lines of the governance model we seem unable to upgrade. Until we attack these structural issues it is the sad view of the blogmaster that Barbadians will continue to struggle mapping a sustainable way of life for its people.



Way Forward After General Election

Submitted by DAVID  COMISSIONG, President, Clement Payne Movement

THE  TRULY  CRITICAL  POINT I would like all Barbadians to appreciate is that when the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) political regime tells you that the way forward is to divest and privatize state enterprises, abandon social welfare programmes, and retrench public sector workers, it is in effect informing you that it is ABANDONING  any aspiration that the future of our country will be based upon the educated and trained masses of our people owning and controlling the major institutions of our nation.

And if the future of the nation and its economy is not to be based upon the empowerment of the masses of people, then the plan must be to base it upon a continued and enhanced empowerment of the traditional white Barbadian economic elite and the predominantly North American, European and French Creole (Trinidadian) “foreign investor” entities that they are wont to align themselves with.

But none of this should come as a surprise to any of us! We already possess stark and painful evidence of the shameful way in which the DLP regime prostrated itself before the likes of Mark Maloney, Bjorn Bjerkham, Bizzy Williams and the Da Silvas, and  conferred a series of outrageously privileged governmental contracts on these and other members of the traditional business class.

There is no doubt that Barbados is in a state of serious economic crisis, but the way to solve that crisis is NOT to treat trade unions as “the enemy” or to savage public sector workers and their jobs. Nor is it to dismantle the critical educational, health and social welfare mechanisms that are required to produce a mass of trained and empowered citizens who are capable of appropriating and undertaking responsibility for the development of their nation.

The way forward for Barbados CANNOT be to go backward to an era in which ownership and control of our nation’s economy was firmly and squarely in the hands of a traditional white oligarchy!

On the contrary, we must continue to hold on to the notion that the economic and social development of Barbados has to be based on the foundation of a highly educated, cultured, healthy, employed and empowered mass population.


The economic situation that faces Barbados is severe but it is not insoluble. The first order of business for the new Administration that we are going to elect of the 24th of May must be to re-establish the soundness of the finances and credit of our Government, and this can be achieved, but only if the public sector trade unions are treated with respect by the Government and are permitted to use their extensive and intimate knowledge of the Public Service to craft appropriate strategies. Nobody knows better than the public servants  and their  trade unions where the waste, duplication and inefficiency resides in the system . They are therefore much better equipped to craft sensible and humane strategies of change and improvement than often clueless Government Ministers!

We all need to remember that when the “Movement” for the upliftment of the Barbadian masses started in earnest in the 1940’s, it was a “Labour Movement”, with the political party (the Barbados Labour Party) and trade union (the Barbados Workers Union) working together, hand in hand. The spirit of this Movement needs to be revived, but this can only happen if the trade unions are given the respect that they are entitled to.

The other major item on the national agenda has to be the devising of economic strategies to grow and develop the economy. And here again, this is not beyond us! But first of all we need to jettison the self-negating idea that either the traditional white Barbadian businessman or the so-called foreign investor is required to be our saviour. (There is a place and a role for the traditional elite Barbadian businessman and the foreign investor but it CANNOT be a place and a role of primacy!).

Secondly, we must commit ourselves to the notion that we — the tens of thousands of Bajans –will assume the primary responsibility for establishing and developing productive enterprises in our own country, and that we will do so on the basis of elevated standards of education and training for our people in general and our youth in particular.

In other words, our nation’s economic development must arise from our people’s human development, and vice versa. These two spheres of development must therefore be symbiotic and must mutually propel each other. And none of this will be possible if we demolish the “human development” of tens of thousands of our citizens by throwing thousands of public sector workers into unemployment, or if we dismantle or disable the critical human development programmes and structures that public servants man.

Indeed, the Clement Payne Movement and its sister organization, the Peoples Empowerment Party, long ago outlined the parameters of such a developmental strategy :-

the development of the Education sector as a foreign exchange earning industry;

the construction of a Manufacturing industry comprised of a  cooperative, centralized domestic sector and a high technology export sector;

cultural, heritage, health and sports tourism;

cultural or Arts-based industries;

intensive science and technology based food and agricultural production;

development of a solar energy industry;

a Public / Private sector programme to provide the technical, administrative, managerial and trade-related needs of our fellow CARICOM states;

establishment of a national “Employee Share-Ownership Programme”;

the development of a cooperative or people’s sector of the economy;

a public / private sector partnership in the development and commercialization of unique, indigenous national assets such as our rum, sugar, sea island cotton , classic furniture, pepper sauce, literature, Arts, black belly sheep, Cricket heritage, pottery, etc;

establishment of intensive economic, trade and cultural relations with the Caribbean diaspora, and with Latin America and Africa;

a series of local environmental development projects with funding provided under the Global Warming / Climate Change agenda;

establishment of a national “Knowledge and Technology “Centre / Programme to generate and collate appropriate technology applications for Barbadian producers;

a systematic national programme to dismantle the “log-jam” of un-met human needs, un-employed people, and un-used financial resources; and the list goes on.

The ideas are numerous and powerful, but their validity and potency will only become clear if one is philosophically committed to the construction of a truly democratic and egalitarian Barbados that is owned by the masses of the Barbadian people.

This was the original vision and mission of the Labour Movement. And this must be the vision and mission that we fight for when we line up behind the new , presumably Barbados Labour Party, government and our trade unions in the  months and years ahead.

Thursday’s Vote

Five days to go to the 2018 General Election in Barbados and the speculation is rife who will win and the margin of the victory. The platform discussion has not ignited hope in the blogmaster that there will be significant change to how a new government will improve the lot of the people. What is certain is that the state of the economy will possibly get worse before it improves, IF it improves.

What factors will influence how the blogmaster cast his X on Thursday?

How have the key economic indicators moved since 2013?

  • international reserves
  • domestic borrowing
  • foreign borrowing
  • amount of fossil imports
  • unemployment
  • deficit
  • exports
  • imports
  • inflation
  • food bill*
  • greater sector integration

What about the crime situation since 2013?

  • murder rate
  • violence crime
  • drug related

Has the infrastructure improved since 2013?

  • state of the highways and byways
  • stadia
  • public buildings (health and safety)

Small island developing states because of the size must have an efficient waste management and policies attuned to a maintaining a pristine environment. Have we seen advancement in this space since 2013?

  • adequate number of garbage trucks
  • frequent garbage collection
  • effective public education about waste disposal
  • effective policing
  • management of sewage

  Have we observed change in the Governance model since 2013?

  • effectiveness of the working committees of parliament
  • adherence to financial rules
  • delivering justice to all citizens
  • holding public officials accountable
  • term limits
  • republican system
  • etc

Last but as important is whether the confidence of a people is higher (or lower) compared to 2013.

How can we create a more relevant regional and international outreach to sustain quality of life for citizens?

There are many other issues the blogmaster could have listed to point to the fact- if one is honest- that there has been a deterioration in the Barbados space since 2013. We can debate if the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and the 3rd parties are ready to led the country if elected. Clearly based on performance the DLP has fallen short by the simple measure if the questions posed are answered honestly.

The electorate will have to decide if despite a poor performance by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) whether it merits a third term when compared to the alternatives. Does the electorate have the capacity to logically weight the issues to inform the vote?

BLP and DLP Kickoff Meetings

This space is to allow the BU community to share views about the two kickoff political meetings that were staged on the weekend.

The blogmaster was impressed by the entertainment content delivered by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) on Saturday night. The parade of the experience and political intelligence the BLP leadership can access as demonstrated by the Henry Fordes, Cheltenhams, Millers, Tulls et al. Most interesting were the promises to increase non-contributory pensions and access to start up financing for the youth segment. The blogmaster looks forward to hear how this will be supported by the budget.

The blogmaster was equally impressed  by the entertainment delivered by the DLP through the antics of Blackett, Lashley and a couple others. The objective was to attack Mia Mottley in her role as leader under the theme that she feels entitled. Prime Minister Stuart clearly attempted to show that there is a philosophical difference between the two major parties by anchoring his address in what he considers to be Mottley’s sense of entitlement because of her blodline. The other noteworthy presentation was from Minister David Estwick who was scathing in his attack of Mia for showing her ignorance about the issues affecting the south coast sewage problem. He summed it up by asking her when she digs up the affected area on the South Coast where will the live sewage passing in the lines be deposited?

Yes Minister Stephen Lashley mentioned the Barbados Underground blog in his presentation by acknowledging that the 2013 – 2018 Report of the Public Accounts Committee can be found in this forum.

The George Brathwaite Column – Let’s Wake the Sleeping Giant!

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

This week’s article will hopefully wake the sleeping giant whose relaxation is fast becoming our peril. The nation must challenge the Prime Minister to come to the rescue, do what is right, and to maximise his time left in office. The Freundel Stuart-led Cabinet should also be more mindful of their words and actions. From where I sit, things have reached an alarming low, with the political rhetoric from even Prime Minister Stuart scraping the bottom while forgetting that the national discourse from our leaders can shape important aspects of social and economic development. Perhaps against his own intent or sense of nationhood, Prime Minister Stuart prefers to be reactive to criticism instead of being proactive in governing.

For at least the past seven years, it appears that the current executive arm of government is hell-bent on spreading seeds of divisiveness throughout the society. There is the repeated tearing down of people who present themselves as being oppositional or willing to offer an alternative view on how governance ought to be approached in Barbados. That said, there are numerous things that are most bothering to Barbadians even as a general election approaches.

Certainly, the Barbados society can hardly be said to better off today than it was prior to the loose spinning out of a mantra that said Barbados is more than an economy, it is a society. As noble as the refrain may sound coming from the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), at a time when Barbadians felt it was better to change a government that had performed beyond any in the last 30 years, the DLP regrettably stumbled from one set of platitudes about self, to undermining the unity and progress which previously mapped Barbados’ socio-economic development.

A recent report emerging from the University of the West Indies (UWI), is showing that poverty has increased in Barbados with ‘an increase in overall poverty of 2.4 per cent’. This situation is characterised by the fact that ‘17.5 per cent of the population’ is currently living in poverty; this statistic is up from the 15.1 per cent recorded in 2010. Qualitatively, ‘poverty is rising because extreme poor are going into non-extreme poor and the vulnerable have fallen into poverty’. Consider for a moment the many complaints being expressed in Barbados on gun-related violence, the high murder rate, the deviance being seen by both our young men and women, and the fact that the educational system is placing greater pressures on our teachers and families. A summary statement would indicate that the DLP has failed miserably on its premier policy direction.

Has the country paused to really figure out why is it that there are so many willing candidates to contest the next general elections? Several of these men and women are not inclined to join the ranks of the two major political parties, but have stated their desire to capture the imagination of the wider Barbados. Quite frankly, their success is very much in doubt, but what it does suggest, that there is a definite decline and apathetic concern that have triggered them to participate more directly in the issues concerning Barbados. This emergent political passage, is of itself a fight for the preservation of democracy and one that would hopefully give voice to many of the voiceless persons in Barbados.

As stated up front, the DLP has been most bellicose whenever alternative viewpoints have been expressed by members of the public. Whenever critics indicate, for one reason or another, that the DLP’s ways are flawed or will not net the desired results, they are labelled fearmongers, enemies of the state, and preachers of gloom and doom. How ludicrous! This is our Barbados in the same way that it belongs to those who sit in Cabinet and Parliament. The notion of a divided Barbados takes increasing relevance when Prime Minister Stuart knowingly stirs up mischief by throwing claims of conservatism and elitism into the open, while being dismissive of the constitutive efforts of all shades and classes of building the parties, and more importantly, directing post-colonial and post-independence developments in Barbados.

Furthermore, a study of social and identity politics reveals that domains of insecurity that arise from institutional and political reactions to a perceived threat, will always derail the best of intentions and the very safe ground to which the nation aspires. In that statement, resides the nucleus of the problem beleaguering this current DLP. It presents a rationale for the desperate and obtrusive rhetoric that has been blind-siding almost every policy measure the Stuart-led Cabinet has introduced. Put differently, the very notion of pathways to progress and the implemented policies of the DLP to reshape the Barbados society and grow the economy, have suffered from the dismissive tones and contradictory actions by the likes of Stuart, Sinckler, Kellman, Lowe, Jones, Inniss, the Lashley opposites and most others. Trust and credibility cannot be attached to the working of the present government for both known and unknown reasons.

For example, Barbadians were told among many other things that the VAT would be increased from 15 to 17. 5 per cent for a fixed period; what has happened since that time has elapsed? We were told that a National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) would be introduced and set at 2 per cent and the gains would go towards healthcare and supplying the Sanitation Services Authority (SSA) with trucks so that Barbadians can have their garbage collected in a timely and appropriate manner; what has happened with those revenues and where are the trucks? We have heard the Commerce Minister speak repeatedly on the ease of doing business for both locals and our international interests; what has been done to improve the situation?

The plain truth is that there is a long list of discordant and contradictory rhetoric by the DLP when compared to their actions. These typical discursive practices – social actions occurring in everyday practices but which largely arise, implicitly or explicitly, from political and institutionalised statements being enunciated – spell disaster for Barbados’ governance. It cannot be satisfying that Barbadians everywhere are buckling under the pressures of high taxation and austere conditions, and the best that the administration can do is to say that all is fine and dandy, just block out the voices and concerns of those that do not agree with the DLP Cabinet’s programs.

That very discursive process being followed by Stuart and the DLP is drawing on the weaknesses they have already created. It is through an intersubjective understanding of the socially constructed panic, poverty, and hopelessness that is being felt by many in the Barbados society, that one can fairly conclude that the DLP has failed the Barbados nation. If as Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has said that his Cabinet and parliamentarians: “Want to create a Barbados that is socially balanced, economically viable, environmentally sound, and characterised by good governance,” then surely, he must take responsibility for his Cabinet’s wobbles and fiascos. To date, these have amounted to numerous dislocations and much disconcerting behaviour being exhibited in many sectors across the nation. It is time to wake the sleeping giant!

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a political consultant. Email: brathwaitegc@gmail.com)

The George Brathwaite Column – DLP FACTS and Failed Leadership

George C. Brathwaite (PhD)

Given the manifested ineptitude of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) over the past decade, Barbadians are hoping for change with the next general elections in sight. Barbadians are ready to overcome the DLP’s wreckage of economy and society. They have become excited about the prospects of different leadership and political agency. New political entities without showing their faces, coupled with a unified opposition in Parliament, are sounding their voices if not totally revealing policy alternatives.

But why be critical or dent aspirations of the Freundel Stuart-led administration seeking a third term? The answer is straightforward. The current DLP administration has failed to meet most expectations of the Barbadian people – both young and old for nearly 10 years. On hindsight, this ill-directed route taken by the DLP was erroneously self-labelled – ‘Pathways to Progress’. Barbadians witnessed a daily and unending trek towards macroeconomic degradation and societal disorder, despite DLP supporters remaining staunch in support. Moreover, the DLP has been at pains to suggest that the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) operated in ‘times of plenty’ with no profound transformations occurring under Prime Minister Owen Arthur.

The DLP claims that the inherited social institutions were unable to improve the welfare of the Barbados nation. Unfortunately, the DLP’s rejection of everything touched by Arthur, hastened the eventual failures of the DLP’s two terms in office. The sullied approach of overly separating economic practicalities from societal order became the DLP’s way of telling Barbadians that Arthur’s BLP was so focussed on economy, that a clear majority of the nation’s people and society were neglected. The distortions, untruths, and DLP propaganda have been since exposed.

Driving the first term of the DLP’s return to power since the dark days of exile in the early 1990s, the DLP chose a mantra that ‘Barbados is not only an economy; it is a society’. This easy turn of phrase managed to set a lingual framework of optimism and empowering expectations throughout the nation. Initially, Barbadians were captured by the DLP’s messaging that suggested the David Thompson Cabinet was interested in building a sound Barbadian society and transforming the lives of many persons left on the margins. However, persons more knowledgeable than the DLP’s escape artists realised that the DLP was somewhat bereft in terms of economic thought. To suggest that the DLP was capable of moving Barbados beyond the bifurcated and disjointed gaze of messieurs Thompson, Stuart, Sinckler and elders in the background, was politically enthralling but realistically empty.

The fact is, the DLP since 2008 refused to accept from the outset that ‘‘progress’’ implies the combination of social progress alongside the pursuit of economic growth. With a burdensome 2008 budget that has since been followed with fiscal indiscipline, there are challenges coping with more taxation and austerity. The DLP has not been successful creating incentives and prosperity, nor is the course set to direct the economy to meet and maximise on those benefits for meeting human needs, improving efficiency, creating jobs, and building wealth among the Barbadian people. Several experts outside the scope of the DLP warned of the potential dangers associated with oddly separating economy and society beyond analytical practicality.

From Thompson to Sinckler, and from Thompson to Stuart, Barbados was presented with good-sounding empty vessels as if societal concerns could be addressed without the apt supporting economic inputs of fiscal and monetary policies. One ought not to lay all the blame on Stuart after the passing of David Thompson. It is true that in 2009, Thompson constantly was lamenting that the DLP inherited a ‘bad hand’, with the same chorus being sung by his Ministers. This weak posturing by the DLP continues to date, and is clearly self-defeating. The DLP’s protruding leadership ineptness – discounting those constraints produced by recession – made it impossible to safeguard a society without the necessary supports that flow from a viable economy.

Clearly, Thompson’s first budget began a taxation binge. Afterwards, with Christopher Sinckler as the current pilot, taxation has practically become a runaway and non-stop train. Sinckler’s economic/financial shortcomings are part of the mix now ruining Barbados, and if there is any doubt, Minister Dr David Estwick has admitted that Barbados’ “debt metrics have deteriorated significantly since 2010,” and this timeline coincides with Sinckler’s elevation to be the Minister of Finance. Still today, many persons may prefer to overlook a predictive statement made by David Thompson in August 2009. Thompson, perhaps for the first time, conceded that: “We are navigating an uncharted path. No one knows what lies beyond the bend. In fact, we have not yet even seen the bend.” Arguably, Thompson was aware of the lack of acumen to draw on exclusively from within the DLP.

Since then, back-peddling has become synonymous with the DLP regarding the Barbados economy, and have been cause for Barbadians’ frustration and demand for change. Months ago, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stereotypically mentioned that a ‘corner’ was within reach; Barbadians have not yet seen the bend mentioned by Thompson or the IMF. Barbadians are still waiting given that 2 % economic growth during the height of the 2016/17 tourism season, is nothing to inspire confidence in the economy. Furthermore, the printing of money continues while several advisors are indicating that depleted foreign reserves are a constant threat. Certainly, the DLP’s ‘Continuing on the Pathways to Progress’ of 2013 is conclusively disastrous. The DLP, with every limp attempt, has missed opportunities to effectively transform the Barbados nation ‘to meet the needs of the people’.

By 2014 for instance, working Barbadians were faced with ‘surprising’ job cuts and being kicked to the unemployment curb by the DLP. At the same time, young Barbadians were facing shrinking opportunities for equal access to tertiary education while having to fork out thousands of dollars to meet their tuition costs at the University of the West Indies. Other public services like sanitation, health, water, and transportation all suffered immensely. Indeed, by 2015 and despite all the ‘corrective measures’ introduced by the two Ministers of Finance since 2008, Christopher Sinckler was stating that “there is now a serious structural decline in our revenue base which we can no longer afford to ignore.” The evidence tells that Stuart/Sinckler’s repeated answer to problems impacting on Barbados, and carried on from Thompson, promoted political theatrics and imposed greater forms of taxation and hardships on the backs of Barbadians.

Under Stuart’s stewardship, near total silence has become the norm, and his supposed decency is upended by instinctive procrastination. The characteristics further demonstrate a stubborn inclination to be indecisive with important affairs. Wait and see approaches, cluttered by historical retrieval of the archaic and mundane, have been the main features of PM Stuart’s serendipitous stewardship. These factors also reveal the DLP’s paralysis in government. The DLP continues wading from one crisis to another without any clear signs of success with the constant borrowing to support government’s ineffective programmes. The verdict is that the collective expectations of Barbadians have not drawn satisfactory attention from Stuart’s uninspiring Cabinet, despite the current and penultimate desperation to spread DLP FACTS. The DLP’s verbiage is no more than half-hearted fictional pieces. Whether one focusses on the economy or the society, the pretty talk of shaping a budding society has lost its potency with all the mishaps and omissions to act by Freundel Stuart’s DLP and his struggling Cabinet.

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a political consultant. Email: brathwaitegc@gmail.com)