The Politicking Behind St. James North Constituency

George C. Brathwaite

It is with some disinclination that I enter the current political fray regarding matters surrounding the actors and actions situated either in the Barbados Labour Party, its internal constituents, and the general hullabaloo that has been playing out in the constituency of St. James North which is a seat considered to be a stronghold and held by the BLP’s Rawle Eastmond. My disinclination stems from three key positions. Involved in this unmerited public spectacle is a political party that I remain a dedicated and loyal member; my friend is central to the ongoing debates; and thirdly, as a student of politics, I am a strong advocate for democratic traditions and the placing of the good of the collective people above the ambitions of individuals whose agendas are seldom fully known.

I turn now to the substantive though overblown debates. From the onset, I need to emphasise that most of the fuss relating to the allegations about a ‘padded list’ and the future candidature of the current Member of Parliament for the constituency, Rawle Eastmond, are simplistic but divisive. On two counts the simplicity can easily be established and I will explain these before getting to the more critical aspect of divisiveness.

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Shame On You Rawle!

Submitted by Porridgeboy

Rawle Eastmond MP

I had no intention of voicing my opinion on the ongoing saga between the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) incumbent in St. James North  and the branch of that constituency. First let me say I do not see why this internal matter has been placed in the public domain at this time. Secondly,  I can’t understand why Mr Rawle Eastmond would seek a meeting with Mr. Owen Arthur, Opposition Leader and Political Leader of the BLP on a matter that is clearly set out in the constitution of the party. Thirdly, it boggles  my mind  why Miss Mia Mottley would  seek a private meeting  with Mr Arthur as stated  in the Nation newspaper, page 30, January 2012 to discuss the Rawle Eastmond issue  via text to Mr Arthur.  This is after being informed one week earlier that nether he [Arthur] or she [Mottley] can do any thing at this time or at no time on this issue because the party  process must be allow to work . What is so hard in that to understand?

Miss Mottley spoke of her attempt to heal the party but she seeks a meeting with the Political Leader via text message and the newspaper to discuss matters in private. What rubbish! I find this to be intolerable and an insult to the post of the Opposition Leader’s Office, when she knows very well that this matter or any other matters could be raised in the right forum if requested. Who is she trying to convince? Is it herself? What is the real agenda? Is it to make it seem that there are problems in the party when there’s none especially at this time and in a pre election period?  Taking this non issue and using it to her advantage!

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A New Political Alternative In The Making?

Submitted by Old Onion Bags

Will Nomination Day to select BLP canditidates to represent St. James North be a watershed in Barbados politics?

The recent alleged letter by the so called Eager 11 on the one hand,  and the more recent outspokenness of Mia Mottley, on the other, prompts the consideration of the viability of a third political party and its sustainability in this present political climate. Listening to the call in programs, one could discern there exist a search and seeding for a new body to present itself as a third alternative .

The history of third political parties in Barbados and the Caribbean (for that matter) is  fraught with failures, and by no means a motivator to any potential candidates who is bold enough to put themselves forward as a new leader. For sure, given what prevails, he she should have no shortage in finding new recruits, for within both the DLP and the BLP there has been discontentment.

Could the current nomination  on Sunday, of St. James North candidate Rawle Eastmond be that watershed?  Will those divides mend in time before elections (on both side) and cast away without a shadow of a doubt, that entertaining the notion of third political parties within Barbados is nothing more than  a fallacy?

Aside: Congrats to Sir Richard Haynes  (of NDP fame) for the naming of the south coast board-walk in his honor.

Mottley And Arthur At It Again

Leader of the Opposition Owen Arthur (l) Mia Mottley (r)

Owen said no to a private request for a meeting from Mia to discuss the Rawle Eastmond matter,  Mia went public with the request and Owen said no publicly. Political pundits can draw some easy conclusions from what has played out so far. Mia felt obligated to intervene on behalf of sitting Member of Parliament Rawle Eastmond who is a known sympathizer. Mia wants to align herself with the concern by Eastmond that there is ‘padding’ of the membership in St. James North. Mottley has been on the frontline pushing for constitutional reform of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Her act was also symbolic, to let Arthur and cohorts know that as a senior member of the party she will not be treated or ignored like a Johnny come lately.

The simplistic interpretation of events as they are being played out in St. James North: it is an internal party matter which should be left to the branch executive to apply the by laws of the BLP. A deeper understanding must be viewed through a political lens, that is, a public display of the widening fracture in the relationship between Mia and Arthur.

It should be obvious that Mia Mottley and Owen Arthur are not singing from the same hymn book. With a general election on the horizon this cannot be good news for BLPites and the electorate at large. The question being asked by interested observers is what caused the fracture. More importantly, what is preventing the fracture from healing?

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Rawle Eastmond It Is Time To Go You Good And Faithful Servant

Rawle Eastmond MP

The imbroglio at the Alexandra School conspired to push Barbados Labour Party (BLP) politics from the national radar. Who can fault the BLP strategy to quietly squeeze political mileage from  the perpetual turmoil associated with government. Ironically it was the selection of the flamboyant Noel ‘Barney’ Lynch on the weekend to represent the BLP in the constituency of St. Michael South which served as a reminder that a few issues are simmering on the BLP side.

One of the issues, the revelation that long serving BLP candidate Rawle Eastmond was asked to participate in an open nomination to select the candidate to represent the BLP in the upcoming general election. Bear in mind Eastmond has been the representative for St. James North for 20+ years. Observers are left to conclude that the BLP intends to ‘retire’ Eastmond despite his willingness to run for another term. There is speculation that Eastmond’s encounter a few years ago with diabolical forces, the fact he is a Mia Mottley sympathizer or Arthur wanting to insert his man are among the reasons for the BLP wanting to give the shove to Eastmond. If we are to judge from Rawle Eastmond’s recent public statements on the matter,  he intends to caucus with his constituents at the end of the month to decide the way forward. He has spiced up the controversy by alluding to the need for the BLP to make changes to prevent vote padding which would act to his disadvantage in an open nomination. This is a very serious charge to be made by a long serving BLP member.

What has been interesting to date is to observe how party leader Owen Arthur has conducted himself through the process. A quote which is attributed to him on the matter: “There is a distinction between the leader of the party and organs that are required to deal with these things. This is a matter that falls within the jurisdiction of the executive and the national council of the Barbados labour Party” . Does anyone believe that Arthur is timid about using his influence within the party?

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Not Accurate, Mr. Clarke

George C. Brathwaite

I begin this response to Mr. Neville Clarke’s submission that appeared in the Thursday, 17th November 2011 edition of Barbados Today under the caption ‘Division Hurting Hive’, by admittedly and deliberately referencing a snippet of history. I make mention to a distinguished Barbadian and parliamentarian who was a native of St. James. There is detail in the brief history I present, and the contrasting scenario being staged by the journalistic and almost jingoistic pen of Neville Clarke.

On Tuesday 14th January 1975, contributions of sympathy and tribute were made in the House of Assembly reflecting the life of Mr. Elliston Lauriston Carmichael. It was clear that Carmichael was a man of intellect and more notable, that he was possessed with what C.E. Thalma called ‘sterling abilities’ and ‘fine qualities’. There was another fine man who spoke of Mr. Carmichael that day and I think it is fitting and appropriate that I share those sentiments with readers before delving into the apparent mischief that is likely to come about, if one should accept Mr. Clarke’s submission as being crafted carte blanche.

Mr. J.M.G.M ‘Tom’ Adams made comments then that should enlighten us today. Adams quipped:

At no time that I can recall did anyone ever accuse Mr. Carmichael of unnecessary conflict or being unnecessarily or offensively contentious in a political context. Indeed, without wishing to re-open wounds, I think I can safely say that it was from the members of his own party in the House of Assembly that he perhaps suffered the greatest rebuffs of spirit in his time as Deputy Speaker.

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