When public confidence is shattered
There is a core of people in the parliamentary group of the BLP committed to having [Mia] Mottley removed as leader. Now that is not any secret; that is very well known. They do not hide their mouths, and, as a result of that, the people who advise her have decided that the best way to deal with that threat is to try and get rid of all the people in the parliamentary group who do not support her.
–– Prime Minister Freundel Stuart responding at the weekend to plans by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to table a motion of no confidence in his Government.
Truth be told, neither Government nor Opposition holds any monopoly on public confidence.
As the biblical saying goes, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
But who would think so, based on the utterances from the leadership of both political camps in recent days?
In announcing her party’s intention to file a no-confidence motion in the Government when Parliament resumes on April 19 after the Easter break, Miss Mottley said it was on the grounds the island had experienced 13 weeks of “an unparalleled series of dislocation, bad news, challenges and crisis”.
She also expressed the view Barbados could not continue “to drift for another 22 months on a platform of indifference, incompetence and indeed corruption”, as she pointed to the latest Moody’s downgrade of the island, the Cahill waste-to-energy controversy, recent industrial strikes, and ongoing environmental problems at some Government-run schools.
We certainly cannot fault the Opposition’s assessment of some of the pressing problems that have contributed to waning confidence in the Stuart administration. However, this is not to say that the Prime Minister’s assessment of declining confidence in the Opposition itself is not right either.
In fact, what Mr Stuart had to say at last night’s branch meeting about the recent lynching of Dr Maria Agard and about Miss Mottley’s position as Leader of the Opposition being under threat squares with all which we have been hearing on the ground.
Said the Prime Minister: “There is a core of people in the parliamentary group of the BLP committed to having Mottley removed as leader. Now that is not any secret; that is very well known. They do not hide their mouths and, as a result of that, the people who advise her have decided that the best way to deal with that threat is to try and get rid of all the people
in the parliamentary group who do not support her.”
Mr Stuart also pointed out that Miss Mottley would not be chairman of the BLP when the party goes into the general election, given that the party has term limits in that regard. Therefore, whoever takes over the party in October this year, may well reverse much of what she has already done, including getting rid of Dr Maria Agard, which the Prime Minister rightly says would amount to “one of the hardest of slaps in [Miss Mottley’s] face”.
Putting more wood into the proverbial political fire last night, the Prime Minister suggested Miss Mottley still faced issues in getting in getting to stand behind her some sitting BLP parliamentarians –– namely St Andrew MP George Payne, St Joseph MP Dale Marshall, St James Central MP Kerrie Symmonds and St Michael North MP Ronald Toppin; and we in the media have heard and reported as much.
It all makes this whole debate of “no confidence” laughable, except that it is reflective of the serious state we are in politically.
Ironically, Barbadians are no closer to electing a third party than we were in the days of the very credible Dr Richie Haynes. Like the West Indies Federation, the third party idea has floundered on the altar of way too many false starts and stops; and while we mean no disrespect to any of the modern-day proponents of this idea, to date no viable third party alternative has emerged.
Which brings us back to the same two parties that make up Parliament. The sad picture –– with public confidence now shattered on either side –– is that both entities are seemingly in a race to see who first gets to the bottom of the totem pole.