And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
– Matthew, Chapter 6, Verse 13)
WHETHER THE ADVICE to “take the money” comes from the Democratic Labour Party’s Freundel Stuart or from the Barbados Labour Party’s Arthur Holder it is WRONG — ethically, morally, politically and legally WRONG !
It would seem that the BLP’s Arthur Holder just couldn’t help himself. In spite of the national tongue lashing that Prime Minister Stuart received when he urged Barbadians to “take the money” offered by would-be vote buyers, Arthur Holder – the BLP candidate for St Michael Central — similarly discredited himself by following in Stuart’s footsteps and advising residents of the working class district of Bush Hall to accept any money offered to them by persons attempting to buy votes during the upcoming Election.
I would like to appeal to all Barbadians who possess a sense of patriotic concern for their country to adopt an attitude of zero tolerance to any notion that our people should in any way accommodate vote buying and selling, and to vehemently denounce any person who advances such a notion.
In light of Arthur Holder’s recent foray into political and ethical backwardness, I can only repeat the advice that I tried to give to my fellow citizens a few weeks ago when no less a personage than the Prime Minister of Barbados urged the entire country to “take the money”.
I said then and I say again — “don’t take the money” — because if you take the money you will be devaluing yourself as a human being !
Please recall that back in the 19th and 18th centuries rich white people were actually buying and selling our ancestors as if they were mere animals or things. Why then would we want to allow anyone to convince us to reduce ourselves to so low a moral level that — once again — people with money are made to feel that we are for sale?
I also said then and I say again –“don’t take the money” — because it is against the Law !
Surely, just like Freundel Stuart, Arthur Holder must know that the citizens of Barbados CANNOT “take the money” without breaking the Law of the land as set out in Section 6 of the Elections Offences And Controversies Act as follows :-
(1) A person is guilty of a corrupt practice who is guilty of bribery.
(2) A person is guilty of bribery who, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf
(a) gives any money…..to any elector or to …any other person on behalf of any elector…in order to induce any elector to vote or refrain from voting ;
(5) Any elector is guilty of bribery who, before or during an election, directly or indirectly by himself or by any other person on his behalf, receives, agrees to receive, or contracts for any money, gift, loan, or valuable consideration…for voting or agreeing to vote or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting.
So, according to the Election Offences And Controversies Act both the buyer of the vote and the seller of the vote are guilty of having committed an illegal “corrupt practice”, and are liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period of six months.
And finally, as I said a month ago, I now maintain :–“Don’t take the money” — because if you do take the money you will be helping to destroy your own country!
The insidious and growing practice of “vote buying” has already resulted in thousands of young (and not so young) Barbadians forming the impression that many, if not most, politicians –including some men and women who get elected to Parliament and some of those who hold ministerial office — are no more than tawdry hustlers and con-men.
In other words, the people of our country are already rapidly losing respect for the men and women who are supposed to be their national leaders. And when a critical mass of a population lose respect for the men, women, and institutions that are supposed to provide national leadership, the nation is lost !
Furthermore, the vile practice of “vote buying” is gradually and sedulously stripping many of our youth of their idealism and moral values, and is also threatening to subvert the integrity of our electoral system, and by extension, our entire system of governance.
My fellow Barbadians, do not permit ANYONE to persuade you to become an accomplice in the destruction of your own native land. Always, set out to do the right and moral thing!