After what has been described as one of the most bruising political campaigns in history of Barbados, the commonsense approach is for all Barbadians to quickly put our shoulders to the plough in the interest of country. There is no time for the traditional honeymoon period. Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart needs to quickly get his human and other resources in position. The current state of the local economy is well documented and should not become loss in the euphoria of an election victory. The prospect of a challenging winter season does not bode will for the country in the short term. Restructuring the economy will take time.
The dust has not settled after 2013 General Elections but the BU household continues to be concerned about the relatively low voter turnout. The data for the 2013 General Election are (not datum) still being crunched but according to CADRES we had about a 60% turnout in 2013. The question which Barbadians need to ask is whether this situation should continue to go unaddressed. It was interesting to listen to Mia Mottley in an interview after the general election result was known. Her focus on the need to address governance issues should align well with Prime Minister Stuart on this issue who is seen by many as a man of integrity.
Many Barbadians have chosen not to or fully participate in our democracy. Others who participate believe to place an X on a ballot paper at election day is their only requirement. BU hesitates to introduce the idea of compulsory voting in Barbados in order to promote the idea of the sanctity of the vote. Doesn’t compulsory voting shoot down the position that we are free under our constitution to vote or not vote? If not compulsory voting what? What about those in the 40% group who governments cannot boast that they are enfranchised? It is evident – whether under a BLP or DLP administration – the political directorate continues to get an F grade concerning their ability to inspire and motivate a significant chunk of Barbadians to perform their civic responsibility. Should this be an issue?
An example of the threat to our system of governance is the increasing reports in the last two general elections of vote buying. It has become so blatant a practice that Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart felt compelled to devote a lot of time in his victory speech to the issue. In fact he stated that he saw it with his own eyes. He promised before calling names to review the relevant laws which govern election practices. BU welcomes enforcement of the law but the concern must be the growing number of citizens who see nothing wrong in selling their votes. Some may go further to say the biggest concern of all is that those charged with implementing laws are guilty of breaking those laws without fear of challenge.
Those of us who have taken to social media to champion our views and causes must continue to be indefatigable in this pursuit. We all have a place at the table even though the traditional players may not agree. The narrow two seat victory given to the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) should serve as a reminder that many Barbadians are NOT happy about the current state of affairs in Barbados. Building a society must sit solidly on a robust governance ideal which is successful in persuading every citizen to participate in all opportunities for decision making.
Congratulations to Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart and team on your victory at the polls.