On Saturday March 11, 2017 we witnessed what may perhaps be the largest political demonstration in Barbados. A sea of 13,000 to 15,000 people had cast off being passive and was actually marching in the street. Marching were the blacks, the whites, the browns, Christians and Muslims in protest of the current Freundel Stuart Administration.
It was truly a sign of the times and a signal of revival or awakening of the people of Barbados. The ultimate success of this march can only be measured if there is a revolution and a period of renaissance occurs in Barbados.
The Cahill scam was perceived to be the catalyst of change, so too were the previous marches of the BLP, the building of the Hyatt hotel, the Villages of Coverley, Hard Rock Cement Plant, garbage collection and the water woes; none of them were. It took bringing our island to its knees in the form of 19 economic downgrades to get the people to finally react.
As much as one can give credence to the founding fathers of our island both pre independence and independence, they also did us a disservice. They did not leave us a blueprint to follow of their expectations for 40, 50 or 60 years down the road when they were long gone.
Perhaps they were of the thought that politicians would be of the same persuasion as they were and that general elections would be enough to govern the people but that was never the case. We have no idea what their vision was but we have moved from corn beef and biscuit politics to the exchange of equipment and money as acknowledged in the 2013 elections.
Our founding fathers provided us with a mandate to elect but none to reject or recall those we trust to govern. The missing blueprints have led to the dumbing down of the Barbadian electorate. One wonders if there was not an orchestrated plan to remove civics from being taught in Barbadian schools. The blueprints should have stated that for perpetuity our children be taught civics and the Political History of Barbados. These would give them a sense of clarity in the thought process and the ability to make decisions that will not only be in their best interest but also the best interest of future generations. That blueprint would have provided them with the foresight and vision to deter them from selling their votes and providing them with the ability to select a suitable candidate and party.
Alas the founding fathers only bequeathed to us a Constitution or body of laws that control the people and do not empower them. Some of those laws are no longer relevant but yet remain on the statute books. The laws were created by the political class to exert and maintain power over the masses.
But one can sense that a revival is on. The ruling Administration is up in arms as they try to discredit the protest.
Revolution by Resistance
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has done the island its second greatest disservice. In the light of such dismal economic downgrades, he has persisted to tell the people that nothing is wrong, that we should not seek external economic validation. That can only be true if Barbados did not have any loans to repay on the international markets. Indeed the island is in grave danger of default, devaluation and destabilization. He has also kept the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central bank in his employ and has to date refused to call a general election.
Now that the people have been forced to come to their senses, the year 2017 must be the year for revolutionary change in Barbados. There is no turning back now and this must be our crossing of the river Rubicon. The ultimate goal of this Revolution is a general election sooner than later.
Here are some actions that can be taken by the people:
1. The formation of grassroots groups to protest the Governments’ actions/inactions.
2. Calling Members of Parliament to ask them to resign.
3. Creating and signing a petition to ask the Prime Minister to resign.
4. Post card and email campaigns to the Prime Minister and Ministers asking them to resign.
5. Creating and disseminating visual symbols of protest: Caps, T-shirts and flyers.
6. Calling out the Prime Minister and Ministers on their disingenuous statements.
7. Within the grassroots movement, the people must have social, economic and political discussions to determine what they want and need from political parties.
8. Lobby all parties for changes to the Constitution so that it will include the implementation of the Integrity Legislation, empowerment of the people to review the performance of members of Parliament as well as request their recall and ability to invoke a referendum if the need arises to nullify the results of a general election.
The right to protest and lobby are enshrined in the Constitution of Barbados. Who will take up this cause?
It is in the worst of times that the ideas, vision and solutions for the best of times are conceptualized. After a successful revival and revolution, there must be a period of renaissance to prevent another politically illiterate generation from existing on the island of Barbados.
Each of us must become a building block for the next generation. This is a call for self-examination and there must be a sense of urgency given to fact that we have finite resources on only 166 square miles. Years of continued political abuse will prevent us from passing on anything to the next generation. The situation must not arise where we have sold off all the family jewels and only have people left on this island that do not even have the ability to think.
Civics and the political history must be taught to our children. How can we place on them this momentous task of preserving what they have no knowledge of? How can we change the direction of history that has dogged us since the failed uprising of 1816 that turned us into a passive people?
A very important change to our political structure must be made. We must move away from the political patronage of a few dominant families with names like Maloney, Bjerkhamn, Williams , Tempro et al.
There is room in Barbados for foundations and grassroots movement to grow from the people to provide information. There are groups on Facebook and persons who conduct robust conversations that can answer this call. We must become thinkers, have new and different thoughts, be channels for inductive reasoning and ultimately disseminate ideas. We must become a bridge to the future in order to prevent the present and the past from reoccurring.
Political exploitation is our enemy and has led to great economic lost. A period of political renaissance can only empower the people to finally take control of their destiny and create products of our young people that will leave us fulfilled knowing that the future of the island will be in good hands when we depart this realm. This mandate should be from the people and not left to a political party. We should not let 30 people solely decide what will happen to 270,000 people. However those 270,000 people must be equipped with the skills as employers to choose the 30 or so people that will govern with the highest ethical standards.