There was a time not too long ago when Barbados was looked to for leadership on the regional front. We were told we were a country fighting above its weight. There was a time when a president of the USofA, or two, would visit our shores, today they pass us by. Sadly in recent years we have lost our way spiritually, economically, politically, morally…
Barbados Underground does not agree with the view that because the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) won the last general election it means all citizens, which includes the BU family, should agree with all policies being enunciated by the government. Rubbish! The DLP won the last election by a two seats margin and a little over four thousand votes made the difference in the total vote recorded at 152, 593. Of growing concern is also the large group of Barbadians who continue to ignore the right to vote.
In the lead up to the 2008 general election what led BU to be supportive of the David Thompson opposition was his promise to communicate with the people and to lead a government committed to being transparent.. Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur had assumed a dictatorial approach to managing Barbados which offended the BU household. Sadly Thompson died in office before he was able to achieve anything of note.
What stands out about Thompson’s brief stint as Prime Minister was his willingness to talk to the media and engage the people, especially ordinary people. In his short tenure (short of two years) as Prime Minister he held more press conferences and sessions with the media than Prime Minister Stuart has held in over three years. All political leaders by definition will offer different leadership styles, however, a single quality which separates those who make greater impact are the ones who are able to effectively communicate to the charges. In the case of Prime Minister this is defined as all Barbadians. Prime Minister Stuart must demonstrate the wherewithal to unleash a rallying cry. He must, it is what leaders do. There seems to be a rancour which continues to characterize the local political landscape which does not make the job of managing in a challenging economic period any easier. Yes we all agree it is a difficult period, all the more reason why we need to get over the egoistical BS, on BOTHSIDES of the political divide. BU is still trying to appreciate the tone use by Minister of Finance at the recent luncheon.
What will plague the legacy of the Stuart administration, unless there is a dramatic turnabout, is its unwillingness to engage the public. If his henchmen were as vocal as he is silent perhaps it would serve to compensate. With the exception of Donville Inniss and Stephen Lashley it begs the question, what of our ministers of government? Worst of all has been the inability of the BLP opposition to capitalize on a glaring political vacuum. Even in a post general election 2013 period the dissension continues. We have seen it with the egos of George Payne and Edmund Hinkson, the conflict finding its way all the way to the courts of Barbados. We have also seen it in a BLP opposition strategy where MAM has been relatively silent for the 100 days after the general election, a deliberate strategy we have been told. However, former leader of the opposition Owen Arthur and Kerri Symmonds have been very vocal representing the voice of the opposition party.
Whether you are ardent supporter of both political parties there is a melancholy which is sucking the last dregs of enthusiasm of a once proud people.