The time is now
Given the political issues, crises, machinations and shenanigans impacting on Barbados over the last three years, and especially with the types of defences made by and for Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and his, the two poorest performing Cabinets in living memory, several observers have concluded that the Democratic Labour Party is superior to the Barbados Labour Party regarding the use of shaded innuendo, political “spin” and crass propaganda.
Noam Chomsky presents the view that “even though people have the freedom to make their own decisions, they must guard themselves against powerful influences that intend to direct what they think and do in an attempt to maintain power”.
Barbadians have to be very mindful of the indistinguishable moles and figurative mules that are antithetical to the interests of working class Barbadians and their offspring.
David Thompson, speaking at the first DLP annual conference after he became prime minister in 2008, reminded a DLP audience still basking in its long-awaited electoral victory that “we are a family and we have a duty to look out one for the other”.
As if that was insufficient, David Thompson coached his followers directing them to understand that in no uncertain terms should they shy away from commitment to the DLP because “your duty is to play your part in maintaining the honour and dignity of this institution, especially now when it forms the government”. An inference can be made that the Thompson statement does not rule out as much as it seeks to include.
A couple of academics, Kane and Patapan, hold the view that: “Persuasion is vital to the practice of democratic leadership, making speech and communication of fundamental importance. Yet democratic citizens habitually suspect political rhetoric as being either deceitfully empty or dangerously subversive. Rhetoric is thus central in democracy while paradoxically appearing either useless or pernicious.”
Is the DLP a pernicious liability in the context of politics in Barbados since February 2013? Does the DLP cunningly hide more in terms of people and issues, than one may imagine in the context of Barbados’ political culture? Has the DLP been deliberately avoiding a frontal approach to the calamities negatively impacting on the Barbados economy, by throwing to its visible and invisible supporters pieces of baseless rhetoric, rumour-harbouring half-truths, and meaningless trivia as societal distractions?
For instance, St. John MP Mara Thompson recently stated that “the time has come” for the Ministry of Education in Barbados to “examine the hole in education which is getting bigger and bigger”. Thompson suggested that there are “those who are falling through the cracks because of the desire to ensure a graduate in every household, instead of ensuring literacy”.
The St. John parliamentarian, herself a late entrant to the country, lamented that stakeholders in Barbados “don’t want to admit that our people pass through primary school, but yet can’t read or write a sentence”. Perhaps, one may have thought that Thompson was about to scold MP Ronald Jones for long overlooking important matters of education and human resource development. But no! Additional misrepresentations became the harbinger of Thompson’s contribution to the 2013 Budget debate.
Mara Thompson would convey that there is a “constant pleading with the Barbadian public to reduce themselves to anarchy and protest.” Furthermore, there is something blatant about her rhetorical mischief, if only it is to continue along a similar pathway set by her deceased predecessor representing the constituency of St. John. The path of innuendo, theatrics, and inexplicable bouts of anger have also been followed by, above all others, the current Minister of Education in Barbados.
It was in June 2013 that MP Ronald Jones shockingly warned that “influential” people were aggravating the masses and, a likely outcome was that the military and paramilitary forces in Barbados would have to be called out to “crack some heads” and “shoot some people” to “bring back law and order” to this civil country.
Were these sentiments expressed by Jones and Thompson errors that were far more misleading and likely to promote hostility than could insights be gleaned from the utterances? Was MP Jones fair or even remotely accurate when he told Barbadians that “there are persons who have no respect for democracy”, and although “they have a right to talk … they believe that right spreads to the creation of a groundswell to breed insurrection?” Did Jones deliberately seek to draw attention away from the economic woes facing the country due to poor economic management? Was there an attempt by persons such as Jones and Thompson to cloud the austere measures being sneakily and contradictorily being announced to Barbadians?
Surely with a Budget that followed MP Jones’ clumsy dribbling of Alexandra and his more recent incendiary remarks, in more ways than one, suggested that significant philosophical shifts were being pursued by the current DLP administration. The DLP had now moved from the social democratic mooring espoused by National Hero Errol Walton Barrow during those formative years of an independent Barbados?
Additionally, was Mara Thompson’s mischievous rant about the UWI’s quality of teaching, given that a number of qualified and experienced practitioners were making an enviable contribution to knowledge, a vain mirage? How could this MP that was graciously accepted by St. John people so callously label hardworking Barbadians to be “political rejects” when in fact these persons chose to share their wealth of knowledge and experience to UWI students.
Was MP Thompson’s political rhetoric a bare-faced approach to temporarily hide the full implications of the DLP’s backward and draconian political and economic policies? Was there something sinister that all Barbadians ought to become aware given Mara Thompson’s menacing glare at the UWI and those who by merit occupy a place on the hill? Or, was Mara Thompson’s reckless language in which she coyly accused the BLP of licentious behaviour designed as a ploy to keep hidden the already indoctrinated, and otherwise irascible moles that already reside in the trenches at Cave Hill?
Is there a protracted interchange between the moles and the more symbolic mules whose neutered personal characteristics are offensively advocating financial burdens for currently enrolled students? Why must Barbadian students on the hill be exposed to the myopic but hidden agendas of mules whose barren emptiness is matched with an envy for the parents and guarantors?
Barbadian parents and the students themselves came to expect that their higher than normal taxes would afford a university education if so desired. Should the Barbadian student be insulted in the class rooms on campus by the clandestine moles or the brash mules?
Are lecture theatres and seminar rooms now the surreptitious places to ambush all those who rightfully would have expected that free education and health would be theirs just as Stuart and most of his Cabinet received from Barbados’ tax payers. It may well be that callous mules incapable of real parental empathy — hidden moles and supportive advocates for the DLP’s backward position — are carrying quivers full of ulterior motives and “poison arrows” which, are cleverly and emotively aimed at youthful Barbadians and parents already seeing dread given the ravishing of their allowances and emoluments over a sustained five to six years.
*To be continued tomorrow.