The day of reckoning not far off
Sooner or later, it will be Choose Day. That’s when the mercurial Dr David Estwick, Minister of Agriculture, cum economic visionary, expects Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Cabinet colleagues to get back to him on what they think about his alternative plan to rescue Barbados. And what they plan to do about it.
“. . . I think the right thing for me to do now is to give the Prime Minister some time . . . . I have to give them time to determine whether he would look at what I am saying favourably; how he is going to make [that] judgement; if he is going to make a judgement; and so on. It is only the right thing to do: to give him and the Cabinet that opportunity.”
However long it shall take, it is unimaginable Prime Minister and Cabinet throwing to the wind their present recovery policies for Barbados and marching all the way to the United Arab Emirates to the bark and drill of Dr Estwick; so “alternative” wouldn’t be the operative word here. And, meshing the twain would be as incongruous as pitting the bombast of an Estwick with the gentility of a Stuart.
The goodly Dr Estwick’s “inner spirit” ought to have already guided him to that understanding, though.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Stuart has already publicly declared his every confidence in his Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler –– going forward –– as they say. And he is not exactly known for taking contrapositions.
So, come Choose Day –– whenever that may be –– when the Cabinet’s presentment of things is unlikely to be changed, Dr Estwick, guided by his inner spirit, we can “rest assured”, will take what other “stand” he believes needs
to be. And it would be more than another tantrum.
Talk about the Prime Minister being wedged between a rock and a harder place!
Political scientist Professor Neville Duncan believes now is the time for Mr Stuart to reshuffle his Cabinet, but he is all for the Prime Minister keeping the present Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs in his place. To do otherwise, Professor Duncan reasons, “would indicate that the party did not know what it was doing in the first place”, and at any rate, “Sinckler did not take his decisions on his own”.
Baffling about the professor’s prescription is the advice that Minister of Agriculture Estwick should be asked to stay in a reshuffled Cabinet. As what, when his head is full of imageries of the United Arab Emirates and its “sinking fund”?
Professor Duncan says if Dr Estwick leaves “the team, he will “be seen as sabotaging the Government”. Well, what exactly is he being seen now as doing, telling the electorate that his Democratic Labour Party and Government are to blame for the mess the country is now in; insisting the current corrective path the Government is on will lead nowhere to success; declaring his alternative policies to be the only right ones; indirectly dismissing the Minister of Finance and challenging him for his position; even circumlocutorily challenging the Prime Minister for leadership?
Well, Professor Duncan does at least admit that it has been “a tactical error on the part of David Estwick”, and contends that “in these difficult times [the] party should have had these [contentious] discussions in private”.
At best, given any continuing state of such wide differences, as the political scientist suggests Dr Estwick or Prime Minister Stuart will have to say, “We must part ways –– peacefully . . . . Agree to disagree . . . . And may the better man win.” And let political peace and stability reign.
How such a scenario will square with Opposition Leader Mia Mottley’s vision of a Freundel Stuart removed as Prime Minister of Barbados in the next few weeks –– a delusion shared by the clamorous George Belle, himself a political scientist, is left to be seen.
Still, it is not that far-fetched for Dr Estwick, as Professor Duncan has purported, to be hoping enough of his Cabinet colleagues will come across to his side of thinking, making it difficult for Mr Stuart to continue as leader
of the country.
We still hold that in the interest of the country the ruling Democratic Labour Party Government ought to have had some bipartisan discussion earlier with the Opposition on an agreed foundation for the major economic challenges ahead. They could both get back to fighting over the spoils later.
After all, the Barbados Labour Party can claim no absolute exemption from having contributed to the economic quagmire the nation now finds itself in.
Come to think of it –– seriously –– the challenge for leadership of party and country could indeed be open in this short spell of intrigue and machinations –– on both sides of the political fence.