Submitted by William Skinner
The way forward for any serious third party is via a new and effectively managed and promoted brand of national activism. Trying to improve upon the rapidly declining and worn out political model of the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party is a certain exercise in failure. You do not buy junk, on its way to the political junkyard, unless you are a junk yard dealer. Third parties that ignore this fact are destined to last no longer than an expert flying fish vendor, skilled in the art of deboning, takes to debone a dozen flying fish.
There is only one third party that can effectively take up the mantle and at least attempt to cause some damage to the established parties and that entity is the Peoples Empowerment Party, currently led by Attorney At Law David Comissiong. The PEP has some durability and its leader, has been effective in utilizing his legal skills to oppose some of the more unpopular decisions, of the DLP administration. The question that must be asked of the leadership of the PEP is whether it prefers to fight its own battles or simply side with the Barbados Labour Party. We note that the PEP is calling for a fresh election but is reluctant to agitate for the downfall of both the BLP and DLP.
It should be glaringly obvious that if the PEP was interested in competitively contesting general elections, it would have candidates and activists on the ground in all the constituencies. This failure should baffle any person, who has been monitoring the PEP progress. Why has it confined itself to mere commentary and joining the BLP in marches and other protests? Why is its leadership reluctant to face the electorate?
The other third parties will find any deep penetration of the hold the BLP and DLP have on the electorate very difficult at this time. They seem unable to answer simple questions about their composition and any new policies. They need to indicate how they intend to overcome t the Herculean task ahead. However, the mere fact that they are prepared to challenge the establishment should be of interest to those who are convinced that there is no hope under the BLP or DLP.
Pure political common sense would suggest that the PEP, Solutions Barbados and the PUP and others, form a coalition, with one direct message to the country: “The BLP and DLP must go in order for the country to go forward”. And accompany this message with clear policies to the way forward. Such a coalition should be formed in no less than three months, to make its presence felt. While this is no recipe for electoral success, it could have some effect in marginal constituencies and may even gain a few seats if it can harness the youth vote and those undecided voters, who are now distrustful of the current government and opposition.
I would therefore urge all third parties to consider a united fight against the DLP and BLP rather than assist them in warming over the same cold soup they have been feeding the people for the last fifty years. This is no time to hunt with the hare and run with the hound.
There appears to be a big protest vote against the collective BLP and DLP rising in the country. Third parties and progressive community groups should get together, take aim and mobilize that protest vote in the interest of the country. 2/24/17