Dismissing last night’s Barbados Labour Party manifesto launch as a visit by Santa Claus in February offering “pie in the sky” promises, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said his party’s alternative was the real deal, focusing on achieving a society that was socially balanced, economically viable, environmentally sound, and with good and honest governance.
This included new programmes in education, health, and transforming the Barbados economy from one dependent on fossil fuels to one with alternative and renewable energy at the centre.
And the political leader said having benefitted from the “good” of his administration in the first term, the next five years would be even better under the Dems. He officially launched the manifesto tonight during a mass meeting at the National Cultural Foundation’s car park, West Terrace, in St. James South.
Stuart said the Owen Arthur led BLP was practicing snakes and ladders politics, where they were raising the expectations of voters “to the highest pinnacles”, but would cynically allow these hopes to be “dashed to the ground”.
“That is what is likely to happen in this election if the people of Barbados are not careful, but the manifesto that we present to you tonight does not call on you to walk by faith,
it calls on you to walk by sight because you have seen how the Democratic Labour Party has performed between January 2008 and the present, and you know that we are equal to the challenge of managing Barbados in the most difficult crisis the world has seen in a hundred years,” the Prime Minister told the large audience.
“You don’t have to be hoping for anything; free bus rides for school children is not a hope, summer camps is not a hope either, … there is evidence you can see and that’s why you have to keep faith with the Democratic Labour Party.”
Stuart promised Barbadians his party’s 56-page manifesto would assure the population’s social, political, and environmental liberation, calling it “well thought out”. “It is realistic, it takes into account not pie in the sky concerns but the actual real concerns of the people of this country. It raises your gaze to new and hitherto unimagined horizons and opens for you possibilities of which you have never thought,” he said.
“We want to create a Barbados that is socially balanced, economically viable, environmentally sound and in which there is good and honest governance and the Democratic Labour Party will be preaching the gospel according to this manifesto over the next few nights.
“And we want you on February 21 to keep faith with us and to vote with the Democratic Labour Party because in voting for the Democratic Labour Party you are helping us on the pathways to your progress. So Dems now Dems again, vote for the DLP, first five (years) good, the next five better.”
The DLP leader said while the BLP had marketed its manifesto as a gift to Barbados with love, it was actually one “with lust”, offering gifts of every description, of every nature quality and kind.
“Love presupposes the existence of an intention to establish a stable relationship with the object of your affections, but that was not the intention and has never been the intention of the Barbados Labour Party to establish any stable relationship with the people of Barbados based on any love of them,” he stated.
“These are political gamesters, believing fervently in the symbolic manipulation of the people of Barbados and saying what they think will sell with the people on any issue no matter what the cost is likely to be.”
Stuart said he did not consider a manifesto a social contract, but a declaration of intent the DLP, which could be impacted by unforeseen future events.
“Our manifesto contemplates that restructuring (of the Barbados economy) taking place around a conversion from a lopsided dependence on the use of fossil fuels to more energy efficient and the use of renewable sources of energy. We have to import oil but we don’t have to import sunshine, we don’t have to import wind and we don’t have to import the waters of Barbados,” he said.
“This is not pie in the sky talk, we are on the way already and we have committed ourselves to leading by example to ensure that all government buildings are retrofitted to accommodate photo voltaic panels.
“This is not the substance of things hoped for, this is not the evidence of things not seen, these are programmes upon which we are already embarked, that is why this manifesto is called Continuing On The Pathways To Progress.” (SC)