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Waiting in fear

Following is the conclusion of this week’s By George column, the first installment of which appeared in yesterday’s edition on page 29.

The high costs of energy inputs backed by the Government’s non-wavering approaches in favour of local stimulus have meant that Barbadians will settle this Christmas for their two front teeth and the right to vote in 2013.

Surely as 2012 draws to an end, while a majority of people will ponder the fate of eating less ham and turkey, awaiting them in 2013 will be their hold on the decisive ‘X’ factor.

At this juncture and at the middle of December, and when the end of this election term in Barbados approaches (February 13, 2013), surprise has already given way to inevitability. The obvious caution is that history reveals that when elections are called early, a government maximises the element of surprise by minimising the time between announcement and polls. This can no longer be the case with the Stuart-led DLP; PM Stuart’s each and every move lacks shock value or positive impact.

Barbadians are asking two pertinent questions; namely:

(1) Did the DLP avoid an early election because the clouds currently hovering over Barbados are expected to dissipate by the beginning of the next financial year?

(2) Is the DLP merely seeking to survive as long as possible and then hope for the best, which would be consistent with its modus operandi throughout the life of its term?

In other words, the announcement of the next general election in Barbados has by now lost any element of surprise that could have been contemplated by PM Stuart and the DLP. In these times of advent, every move by politicians and every eventuality from their actions can almost certainly be anticipated. Of course, this is barring an absolute and unprecedented bombshell.

The DLP in its recent Sunday afternoon excursions with political fate have become emboldened by Arthur’s willingness to put his party’s intentions out into the public and trust the people. The DLP administration has now seemingly opposed policy positions for which that party was the architect.

Stuart is less capable of springing a surprise on Barbadians since the exacerbated nonsense that suggested under a BLP administration 10,000 public sector workers would join the ranks of the burgeoning unemployed in the private sector. In fairness to the BLP, the unemployment rate in Barbados has shot up so significantly that it has almost doubled as a percentage since the end of 2007.

This attack by the DLP on the working and middle classes in Barbados is a feat attained under the watchful eyes and inept policies of a Stuart-led Cabinet. Thus, instrumental to the DLP’s New Year wishes will be the effective use of political propaganda.

The DLP has long lost the opportunity to surprise the opposition BLP or Barbadians. Regardless of political messaging, scandalous content, or divides over policy directions, the climate of inevitability reduces all impact of the most subtle political action.

In fact, the only surprise that Stuart can possibly deliver at this stage is that Barbadians should brace for and expect that the time between the announcement of elections and polling day will be unusually longer than has occurred in Barbados’ post-independence history.

Stuart has been wasting rather than waiting until the end of the current parliamentary term. Stuart, based on his record to date, is likely to go for a protracted and drawn-out campaign schedule. For the DLP, it may be considered a political strategy that is intended to put the BLP in a tail-spin. Stuart may be thinking that he could bring ruin to the BLP’s eagerness to rescue, rebuild, and restore.

Stuart may well argue that the early enthusiasm demonstrated by portions of the electorate for the BLP’s message that speaks of returning hope and prosperity to the people may outlive its timeliness.

The DLP may indeed be banking on a situation in which the BLP would peak too early and afterwards lose momentum in its quest to impress upon the electorate that if ever there was a time in the history of Barbados for a change, it has to be now that the national economy is stagnantly in crisis, and the society drifting abysmally from one form of calamity into the next.

Stuart and the DEMS may believe that given the personalities and competences within the BLP, there may be more mileage if the 2013 political campaign can be drawn out over a long period. The DEMS may want to reason that the BLP’s financial resources could be frittered away once an extended campaign period takes its toll.

This logic of reviewing the year may focus on highlights, but realistically, it is the disappointments that will stand out in the minds and pockets of Barbadians. People will bemoan the political let-downs and government’s failures on several policies and initiatives.

The social and economic circumstances for a majority of Barbadians have not improved, and many now claim that their personal situations are worse off at the end of 2012 than at the end of 2007.

The unemployed, underemployed, and soon to be disenfranchised will lament the ham that cannot be afforded or bought. The retail shops and other commercial entities will wonder when growth will return to Barbados as best illustrated in the cash tills.

Under the fiscal disorder fashioned and prevailing under the DLP, Barbadians will dare to remember that the DLP was endorsed with the mandate to govern since 2008. Therefore, it is to them that national indignation should be cast.

Barbadians will use this Yuletide season in preparation of that single chance to payback promising politicians when that special day arrives. At this juncture in Barbados’ history, this is the time to be jolly. I wish the management and staff of Barbados Today, its readership, and all Barbadians a very Merry Christmas and a return to prosperity during 2013.

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