Ode to Freundel
Oh Stuart, oh Stuart,
How we love thee, oh Stuart,
Your deadly wit, sharp tongue and turn of phrase, are enough to lower any critic’s gaze.
But will they assure you of your desired place, at the helm of our history’s page?
You have just got to love our Prime Minister!
Just when everything around him seems to be falling apart and going all topsy-turvy, with civil servants losing their jobs left, right and centre; Moody’s downgrading Barbados, and S&P cautioning that they could soon follow suit; sporadic shoot-outs in The Ivy and other crime concerns; plus water and telephone woes across town and country, you can rely on Freundel Stuart to separate the proverbial sheep from the goats, as they were, and in his own enigmatic style, to shoo away any anxious critics.
Last week, it was Moody’s turn to feel the wrath of our Shakespearean leader, who delivered yet another of his classic rebuffs, in condemning
the international ratings agency and its negative economic report to the garbage heap.
It was a most verbose and entertaining dismissal, even for those of us who disagreed with the actual position he took on the rating agency’s report.
Without a doubt, you can’t beat our Prime Minister on turn of phrase. He can also tell a mean joke, making it difficult at times to say who provides the greater comic relief between him and the Minister of Education Ronald Jones, who seems to make a point of outdoing himself whenever he catches sight of a microphone.
Yesterday in Parliament, our leader was again in his element.
On this occasion, the debate was on the Special Loans (Amendment) Bill 2014, that would increase the limit of special loans from $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion.
Mr Stuart made the very serious point at the outset that there was need for “more honest debate” on where this country and other Caribbean nations were headed.
He noted that across the region, the litany of problems was pretty much the same, so too “the anthem of distress” owing to the structure of our economies.
And of course, our Prime Minister did not miss the opportunity to deal with his critics.
To anyone who would dare to level any further criticisms after this, Mr Stuart cautioned his administration would not be fazed, noting that “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” were hurled at the Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and other members of his Government from all directions.
But even if these were to continue, he promised to remain steadfast and vigilant and not lose faith.
“We are going to keep the faith and we are going to continue to pursue the programme which we have put in place. We never promised anybody
that the programme was going to be implemented or that it was possible to implement the programme uneventfully.
“There will be potholes along the way; there will be difficulties; but we are not going to be daunted by these difficulties and we are not going to be overwhelmed by the prophecies of doom that we hear coming from the strangest quarters in Barbados,” the Prime Minister said.
He had an even bigger point to make to the said critics.
It was that “we know where we have come from and we know [where] we are going, and we know too that, along with the people of Barbados, we are going to meet at the rendezvous of victory”.
This was after he had delivered his latest precious gem.
A confident Mr Stuart prophesied in the Lower Chamber, and with a straight face, that “when we have got through all of this, when we turn Barbados around, when we get the economy of Barbados out of this, it will have to be said, however reluctantly, that this is the best Government Barbados ever had”.
His simple reasoning was that “no previous Government of Barbados has had to deal with what the present Government is dealing with right now”.
We wish we could be as generous as Mr Stuart in making such a premature declaration.
But to the Prime Minister we say: you will have to deliver a lot more than your usual prose to get our nomination for the best Government this country has ever known.
Fortunately for you, Prime Minister, there is yet time for you to convince us.