Keep it clean!
In yesterday’s edition of Barbados TODAY we published a comment from Anglican Bishop of Barbados, Dr. John Holder admonishing the politicians involved in the current general elections campaign to stick to the high ground.
Perhaps, like us, Bishop Holder had picked up the vibes of recent months which suggested that this time around the cut and thrust of politics was going to draw more blood the usual. There is a lot at stake and it has been clear for a while that neither side intends to go down quietly — or cleanly.
As is so often said, politics can’t be equated with Sunday School, and no reasonable person should expect anything less than a most robust campaign. But robust does not have to mean dirty, and today we join the Bishop’s call for restraint.
We are sorry we could not get our hands on a recording of the speech delivered by the Barbados Labour Party candidate for St. Michael South Central Noel Lynch, which has apparently cut the Prime Minister quite deeply. Certainly, if what the Prime Minister charged against Lynch, who is running against him is accurate, then the former tourism minister and veteran politician, who was unseated five years ago by Stuart, needs to check his approach.
Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on where you sit — Stuart’s response to Lynch is public record, having been “broadcast” to the world via a live Internet feed from the Bay Street Esplanade last night.
Here’s some of what he said to and of Lynch: “He went into Christ Church East recently, as well, and launched a blistering attack on me … as though I am running up there.
“What did he say about me? He said I am black. But that is a fact. I am black and I am proud. I have never wished to be anything else. I am a proud black man. My father was a black man, my mother was a black woman, so what colour does he expect me to be?
“He said, according to reports reaching me, that my nose is broad. Broad or narrow, the nose is mine and I am very particular as to what I allow my nose to smell.
“And then, as he had said before…, he said I am ugly. Now, I go across Barbados, I mingle with people of all ages, of all races, of all classes. I talk to girls — young, middle aged and old — in the DLP and outside of the DLP and not one of them has ever said to me ‘You know Freundel, I think you are ugly’!
“So he does not have any allies. He stands out tonight therefore as the only woman in Barbados who thinks that I am ugly.”
And the campaign is only just warming up! It would be unreasonable of us not to expect the Prime Minister to defend himself and his party against attack, especially if that attack is perceived as personal, but the challenge is that every thrust and counter thrust in politics, is likely to lead to escalation and we are afraid that we are seeing a battle that will only slip deeper into the gutter.
Understand clearly that we are not singling out the Prime Minister, other than for the fact that his video is available for the world to see. We have seen the mud slinging from both camps, and in many instances it is raw — devoid of anything that would allow the speaker to claim poetic licence.
We can do better. We must do better!
The political billboard ploy last election by the Dems has now proven, we have to be careful were we step. The Bees have now erected their own billboards and stand firmly on the position they are following the letter of the law. We, however, believe they are outside of the spirit of the law.
So what is to stop some “shrewd” businessman who has embarked on a one-month promotion from erecting billboards all over the country, knowing that the Town and Country Planning Development Office has to give him 28 days notice for removal. By the time his deadline arrives he would have received his milage. That’s what the Dems did last election and that’s what the Bees are doing this time around.
Elections are about the future; but not at any cost. The path we take to the future is just as important as the destination we seek to reach.