The dictionary describes discontent as an unhappy feeling that one gets when not satisfied with something. In taking a step back to provide a meaningful overview of what is occurring in Barbados, one can hear a growing voice of discontent now echoing throughout the land. It is not only on the Internet or articles in the newspaper; it is the discussion in rum shops, street corner and in homes. It is not only the ordinary people’s voices that are being heard. It is also the voices of Trade Unions, the Opposition (Barbados Labor Party), the Barbados Investors and Policy Holders Alliance (BIPA), the Association of Disabled People and a local investment company.
What is being spoken is not noise. It concerns the actions of a government that the people have elected. The topic is not just about water or is it just about garbage collection or taxation, loss of income, the economy, the rising cost of living, governments lack of transparency or the award of contracts. The topic on which these voices are talking is about 8 years where everything that one can possibly imagine has gone wrong and the government not having the ability to overcome any of the challenges. The voice of discontent has ultimately become political as the 50th Anniversary of Independence celebrations draw near.
On one hand, we have an administration whose policies have taken the country a giant step backwards to pre-independence days having a $7M celebration. These ill-advised policies rescinded progress made in education, health and the provision of social services -instead government should have been creating an enabling environment to take the populace to the next level which is economic independence.
On the other hand we have individuals experiencing severe hardship who envision government wanting them to celebrate an illusion of a prosperous Barbados. Ultimately, this administration only has itself to blame because it planted the seeds of discontent and can therefore only reap what it has sown.
Although all of the issues mentioned above are critical, lack of transparency has become a trend of this government to the extent that the government now appears to be autocratic and not democratic. If one takes into consideration one of the last mishaps of this government which was vehemently denied at first. The government signed an MOU to import unsafe drinking water from Suriname which was never identified as a solution or mentioned for an entire year to its water stricken populace who just casually got wind of this from a meeting in another island.
What occurred on November 30th, 1966 cannot be nullified. With so much discontent, it is difficult to understand exactly what is being celebrated for the 50th anniversary of independence because government by its actions has taken away the pride of the people to celebrate independence.
It is a fact that staying away from voting in an election has never had a positive impact on good governance. Likewise staying away from the independence celebrations will not positively affect governance in Barbados. My suggestion is that the people must celebrate their discontent by protesting on that day. The right to protest is enshrined in the Constitution.
..the people of Barbados
(c) declare their intention to establish and maintain a society in which all persons may, to the full extent of their capacity play a due part in the institutions of national life.
If some wish to protest instead of joyous celebrations they have a right to do just that because one act that goes unchallenged can lead to the blatant erosion of democracy. Ultimately, freedom of expression is part of Independence.