A peace that would pass all thinking

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him

with his hand.

–– Psalm 37:23 and 24.

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley has said that the series of meetings

being sponsored and held by her Barbados Labour Party –– the People’s

Assemblies –– are meant for the ordinary people of Barbados to express

their opinions and make suggestions on the way forward for Barbados; not for

BLP politicians to threaten and vent. She would be guided by the sentiments of

the people.

The problem is this noble intent has not registered with very many of

her political colleagues. Here is Miss Mottley –– at least ostensibly –– trying

to weave a new thinking and projection of politics, and our hardened

representatives and wannabe MPs remain anchored in hostility, belligerence and

brouhaha, or a pretence of it, for personal political advantage.

So we may throw Miss Mottley’s publicly suggested national committee,

constructed from both political sides –– and including members of the Social

Partners –– through the window. Putting heads together for a consensus on

the way forward for Barbados in these very unusual circumstances we now find

matters not for many on Miss Mottley’s side, and strikes not an iota of interest

from the Freundel Stuart administration.

We may ask, yes: was Miss Mottley truly serious? But then she was not

put to the test. And even her predecessor Owen Arthur dismissed her

recommendation as a waste of time, and a gimmick at best, and would have

nothing to do with any Eminent Persons Group. Well, what is to

be expected of a man who writes a five-page letter to express his lack of

confidence in the leadership of the present chief voice of his very party?

We may be able to grapple with the scathing remarks from former Prime

Minister and Minister of Finance Owen Arthur on the performance of the

Democratic Labour Party-run Government and its leader Prime Minister

Frendel Stuart, but the quartering of his own official party leader is a state

of derision that cannot by any standard of social grace be accepted. Send Mr

Stuart home with the 3,000 plus public sector workers who are terminated at

month-end, if he will, but find more palatable and honourable ways of censuring

Miss Mottley –– if indeed she should be.

Now this, as we have said before, is not to take away from the more

sober suggestions Mr Arthur would have made for the future reining in of

Government expenditure and for the resumption of a more vibrant economy,

but, again, well intentioned proposals may go the way of the ravine when they

become wasted in a mix of blind-sided pillorying, invective and disesteem.

Regrettably, the People’s Assemblies, though well meaning, will make

their way to the gully too if the tirade and revilement espoused by the BLP’s

politicians at these meetings are not harnessed and discouraged. Miss Mottley

said at one of the very meetings that the People’s Assemblies were started

because she believed “fundamentally that power resides in the people. We are

servants of the people”, and as such the assemblies were a sounding board.

In the light of this, speakers’ vitriolic attacks on the trade unions and

the church in particular are unbecoming and serve little purpose other than

fomenting mental turmoil among the masses. Former BLP parliamentarian

Anthony Wood’s call for the people to get up and march, because the unions

do not think it is benefical at this time, is unsettling to say the least, particularly

when Mr Wood holds that there is a high level of frustrated young people

out there.

These BLP confabs ought to be emphasizing that there is an alternative

source of governance in the manner of how ideas and suggestions thrown up by

the people are further fashioned and offered. In the absence of the Eminent

Persons Group, these gatherings may yet throw up alternatives that our

current Government might consider.

Of course, we cannot help but comment on the contemptuous tone of the

Minister of Finance in suggesting that if Barbadians had any recommendations of

the way forward they could send a letter to the Prime Minister, or email or fax

the Government, or, worst yet, post their ideas on Facebook. Certainly there

wasn’t a trace of the notion that our politicians are the servants of the people

in Mr Sinckler’s voice whan he uttered these inglorious words.

There is clearly a case for restraint on either side. It would be useful and

refreshing –– perhaps tranquilizing –– if our parliamentary representatives

would be less insulting and combative, for all the stress that surrounds us. But

can it be?

We might take some heart though from John 14:27: “Peace, I leave with

you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not

your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

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