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A ‘morality’ red herring

EVERSLEY FilesIf Barbadians were paying close attention to domestic politics last weekend, they would have seen evidence of a sharp contrast which is emerging between the two parties vying to form the island’s next government following general elections less than a year and half away.

There was, on one hand, the image of a confident, upbeat and purposeful Barbados Labour Party (BLP) articulating aspects of an imaginative policy agenda, days after finalizing an attractive slate of mostly new candidates who come from different professional backgrounds.

The agenda speaks, among other things, of a bold strategy for revitalizing the ailing Barbados economy beginning with the restoration of confidence which has nosedived under the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP).

It speaks as well of reforming our outmoded governance model to bring it in step with 21st Century reality. There is also a commitment to practising what can best be described as “family-friendly” government.

On the other hand, we saw evidence of an intellectually bankrupt, tired and despairing DLP. Having failed to deliver on the economy and to improve the collective well-being of Barbadians after eight years in office, the DLP, like a drowning man catching at straws, latches on to morality as its great defender in the hope of finding electoral salvation with the obvious support of its conservative Evangelical political allies, with whom such a call to arms will powerfully resonate.

After George Pilgrim’s prediction of a political bloodbath at last weekend’s BLP annual conference failed to materialize, the DLP’s decision to make an issue of morality, as if it has suddenly become an offshoot of the US Republican Party, was obviously calculated to shift public attention away from Miss Mottley’s well-received annual conference address which outlined her vision for taking Barbados forward.

I will return to the DLP tactics of despair later on. Needless to say, the tragedy which has befallen the once great party of Errol Barrow and Cameron Tudor is that its brand identity and reputation are so badly damaged that its own members are no longer clear about what it stands for, far less the average  Barbadian who is even more confused.

For sure, the DLP can no longer claim to be the party of education. By introducing tuition fees for Barbadians to study on Cave Hill, despite assurances from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart that such would not happen, the DLP has repudiated the cornerstone policy which Barrow and Tudor had put in the place in the 1960s. Similarly, it can no longer claim to be the party of the small man. Ordinary Barbadians have suffered the most under the DLP’s draconian policies.

I will readily admit that when I was aligned to the DLP and wearing their partisan blinkers, I was among Miss Mottley’s critics. In fact, in a political article published in another place, I had referred to her as a woman “in a hurry” during her first incarnation as BLP leader. However, the Mia Mottley I am seeing today, through non-partisan lens, has grown in stature and has matured politically. She reminds me of David Thompson in the run-up to the 2008 general election after he was finally able to shake off the perception which had dogged him for years, that he was just not leadership material.

Miss Mottley’s governance reform plan captures my interest. Since returning from Canada after a year immersed in the study of modern political practice, I have consistently made the point, in this column and elsewhere, that in order to fix the economy, the politics must be fixed simultaneously because of the symbiotic relationship between the two. Miss Mottley’s plan, therefore, offers some of what I believe is best for Barbados.

Political decisions inform public policy which impacts on all aspects of the economy. Getting the politics right, therefore, is indispensable to getting the economics right. The study of political management fully opened my eyes to how badly our system of governance is in need of reform.

Improving governance, however, is clearly not a priority for the DLP. Otherwise, they would have honoured their 2008 election promises to provide more transparency and accountability through, among other things, passage of a Freedom of Information Act, adoption of a Code of Conduct for Ministers, and meaningful public engagement on a regular basis.

The BLP’s “family-friendly” approach to government is also imaginative. As Miss Mottley put it, “No household in Barbados shall go without a living income, whether it is from a job, a pension, NIS benefits, or through additional welfare-related benefits, or government working with civil society.” Many Barbadian families, pauperized by the DLP’s policies, are struggling to make ends meet, going some days without food to eat. Sounds incredible but this is a fact of life in 2016 Barbados.

The Dems do not have solutions to the serious problems facing Barbadians. Have you noticed their tendency sometimes to express concern about a problem without articulating a solution? In other cases, their response is, “Don’t blame me because I am not responsible” even though the buck stops with them.

Anytime a government lacks vision, the people perish. It was not surprising, therefore, that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler resorted to trumpeting  morality as as he addressed a gathering of the Christ Church constituency branches last Sunday. The Dems may see morality as the panacea to their political problem but it does not provide food for hungry bellies or opportunity for those whose dreams for a better life have been shattered by DLP policies.

Will the Evangelicals realize that they are just the means to a political end? The Dems roped them into their winning coalition for the 2008 general election, not out of a genuine desire to promote Christian values, but specifically because the Evangelicals had significant votes to deliver once the leadership was massaged with the right messages. I was in the campaign engine room.

At any rate, the Dems lack credibility even on morality. When a party solemnly promises to do one thing during an election campaign but then proceeds after taking office to do the exact opposite, the betrayal raises moral questions. Weeks prior to the 2013 general election, Barbadians were told a vote for the DLP was a vote for public sector job protection because a BLP government would fire people left, right and centre. Months later, thousands were going home as casualties of a downsizing plan.

The danger of not standing for something is that it becomes easy to fall for anything. Such is the sad predicament of today’s DLP which finds itself like King Saul in the First Book of Samuel after the prophet informed him that he no longer enjoyed the divine favour. “The Lord told Samuel: ‘Saul has stopped obeying me and I am sorry that I made him king.’” It was downhill for Saul from then on and so it will be for the Dems.

The Bible, by the way, is replete with examples of Almighty Yahweh using persons considered sinful by men as instruments for working His divine purpose out. What this affirms is that God does not judge people by human standards. As demonstrated in the most unexpected case of Persian King Cyrus, related in the Old Testament, God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform, especially when it comes to the liberation of His people.

(Reudon Eversley is a political strategist, strategic communication specialist and longstanding journalist. Email: reudon@gmx.com)

10 Responses to A ‘morality’ red herring

  1. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd November 5, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    THE YOUTH WERE THERE IN THEIR NUMBERS

    Reply
  2. Heather Cole
    Heather Cole November 5, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    The only thing that I did not agree with in this article is the comparison of Ms Mottley with David Thompson. That man never had the engaging charisma of Mottley. It was based on a campaign of deceit that he won an election.

    Reply
  3. Adrian Reid
    Adrian Reid November 5, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Mia for prime minister.

    Reply
  4. Charles Alleyne
    Charles Alleyne November 5, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    @eversley file..your friend bought the morality issue hook line and sinker ,because he is running town handing out leaflets about the same leader of the opposition making reference she is not fit to be prime minister. These said persons who speak on morality cannot even cast the first stone.

    Reply
  5. Carson C Cadogan November 5, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    “There was, on one hand, the image of a confident, upbeat and purposeful Barbados Labour Party (BLP) articulating aspects of an imaginative policy agenda, days after finalizing an attractive slate of mostly new candidates who come from different professional backgrounds.

    The agenda speaks, among other things, of a bold strategy for revitalizing the ailing Barbados economy beginning with the restoration of confidence which has nosedived under the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP).”

    How wonderful are the compliments being paid to the Barbados Labour Party by Reudon Eversley.

    But I must ask a question, could this possibly be the same Reudon Eversley who worked at the Barbados Advocate not so long ago?

    Is this The same Reudon Eversley who labeled the Barbados Labour Party as evil and wicked and how he hoped that they would never be elected to political office in Barbados again?

    Is this the same Reudon Eversley who said that the Barbados Labour Party hounded him almost into the ground?

    Could this be the same Reudon Eversley who said that the Barbados Labour Party Govt. had his phones tapped?

    Could this be the same Reudon Eversley who said that members of the Barbados Labour Party Govt. went all out to make sure that he didnt work in Barbados again so that he could not feed himself or his family?

    Is this the same Reudon Eversley that the Democratic Labour Party Govt. had to rescue and give him a decent job so that he could put food on his table and he didnt have to starve to death?

    I am just trying to find out if this is the same Reudon Eversley or is this a different Reudon Eversley?

    Just asking a few questions!!!!!

    Is this

    Reply
  6. Carson C Cadogan November 5, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    “EVIL AS HELL THE LOT OF THEM

    Reudon Eversley

    The long dark night of the BLP has come to an end. May Barbados never see the likes of it again. By the way, I want to encourage other Barbadians who were similarly targetted by the BLP because they were Dems or were otherwise affiliated, to tell their story. Barbadians must get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It must no longer be kept under the carpet. So Mia Mottley is calling for justice for BLP supporters. Why didn’t she call for justice for me, when I was editor of the Advocate and was being persecuted almost on a daily basis by the BLP?”
    “The full story of how I was treated by the Barbados Labour Party has not been told but I will do so one day and Barbadians will see what an authoritarian government we had. How we were on the brink of dictatorship because when the press is attacked and bullied into submission, freedom is always in danger.”
    ……………………”How many Barbadians know, for example, that the BLP complained to the Advocate’s management because I refused to eat their food at a media luncheon to launch their 1999 general election campaign? As a result, I was threatened with dismissal. Well, I sought legal advice and was prepared to sue the Advocate for breach of my human rights so they backed off.”
    ……………………”Why would I want to eat from the BLP ? Their yardfowls used to leave the most foul messages on my voicemail, telling me they are going to get my … you know what .. out of the Advocate because I am a Dem. They could have easily poisoned me had I eaten their food and I certainly was not going to expose myself to that risk. I have my children to live for.”

    This was written back in 2008

    THERE IS MORE BUT FOR ANOTHER TIME.

    Reply
  7. Bobo November 6, 2016 at 7:48 am

    Mr Cadogan tell it as it is—Barbados BLP-and America Republican conservative narcissism, folks what are the difference?

    From Africa to the Caribbean since independence -Black Politicians lies, hatred, and corrupt minds have destroyed each country future, at the moment Switzerland has seize Equatorial Guinea vice president Teodoro Nguema collection of 11 cars–Bugatti, Ferrari f12, Porche, meanwhile Guinea population are living on one dollar per day.

    Give me ”one” independent Black indigenous country where the population are happy with its leaders past and present visions.

    Reply
  8. vad50 November 6, 2016 at 8:57 am

    I certainly agree with Mr. Codogan, and my question would be, what was Mr. Reudon Eversley promised to write such a glowing article.

    May I remind Barbadians that this the BLP is the same government that sold our National Bank to the Republic Bank of Trinidad, with the understanding that the funds would be there to support the country in a recession. Also, it is the same party that left the country on the edge of bankruptcy. And it is the same party that did to the current government what the Republicans did to President Barack Obama. Is this the type of government that you wish in Barbados? Barbadians should remember that it is the DLP which moved the island to Independence and ensured that every had the opportunity to education. How soon we forget, because many of you did not have to live through the days under the colonialism. But it was the same BLP Party under the old regime who tried to stop Barbados from receiving independence.

    Our late Prime Minister, His Excellency Errol Barrow stated that ‘Barbadians has short memories”; and he is right.

    Reply
    • Carson C Cadogan November 6, 2016 at 11:54 am

      “…… His Excellency Errol Barrow stated that ‘Barbadians has short memories””

      Just a note of correction, it was Grantley Adams.

      No disrespect intended.

      Reply
  9. Carson C Cadogan November 6, 2016 at 11:52 am

    There is another turncoat who is now firmly in the camp of Mia Mottley and her henchmen.

    He was recently sent over to St. Lucia by the Barbados Labour Party to engineer regime change and to interfere in St. Lucia internal affairs.

    It boggles my mind how the St. Lucians tolerated that travesty.

    Reply

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