Could it be a ploy?

Wickham and Joseph respond to move to Republic

Two leading political scientists are questioning the timing of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s announcement that he intends to complete the process of decolonization with the establishment of a republican form of government “in the very near future”.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart Speaking at last night’s  DLP St George South constituency branch meeting.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart Speaking at last night’s DLP St George South constituency branch meeting.

Such a move, which would essentially remove the Queen as this island’s head of state, replacing her with a Barbadian president, would require two-thirds majority support in Parliament.

However, pollster and political scientist Peter Wickham has suggested that it was simply an attempt to “divert public attention away from current hot-button issues” of the day.

Peter Wickham
Pollster and political scientist Peter Wickham

“I think that before Stuart begins a conversation about republicanism, he needs to commence a conversation on CLICO, about income tax returns, about unemployment in the country, about the extent to which public trust in Government is at an all time low,” Wickham said.

“There are several of those issues which need to be placed ahead of a conversation about becoming a republic which he knows very well is controversial and cannot be approached in a situation where the [ruling] DLP does not have a two thirds majority.”

Wickham was equally dismissive of Stuart’s suggestion that the process would be completed by the time the island marks its 50th anniversary of political independence from Britain on November 30, 2016.

In fact, he said “the idea that Stuart has announced that we are going in that direction is a political nonsense”.

“I think that he really needs to get the conversation back to things that the people need to start talking about,” Wickham stressed, while cautioning members of the media not to fall victim to Stuart’s tactic.

However, Dr Tennyson Joseph of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies said he was not prepared to go as far as his colleague political scientist to suggest that the move was simply a “ploy”.

Political Scientist Tennyson Joseph
Dr Tennyson Joseph

“What I would say though is that it is an important issue to raise because, in a context where there is not much happening for the country economic wise, I think that some focus on political development would be a kind of interesting way to gain at least support across the political divide,” said Joseph, while noting that the issue of republicanism had previously been raised by the former Barbados Labour Party administration.

However, in the wake of the Stuart Government’s decision to stop paying tuition fees for UWI students, Joseph pointed out that a critical aspect of the party’s legacy, and in particular founding father Errol Barrow’s legacy of free tertiary education, had been reversed since the DLP’s return to office in 2008.

“They reversed aspects of the post colonial reality of Barbados and they have mainly undone things, rather than done things,” Joseph said.

Therefore, “republicanism is the kind of issue that a Government facing this kind of record can wrap itself around,” he argued.

In making the announcement before a gathering of party faithful at the weekend, the Prime Minister said: “We cannot pat ourselves on the shoulder at having gone into independence; having decolonized our politics; we cannot pat ourselves on the shoulders at having decolonized our jurisprudence by delinking from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and explain to anybody why we continue to have a monarchical system.

“Therefore, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow decolonized the politics; [former BLP leader] Owen Arthur decolonized the jurisprudence and Freundel Stuart is going to complete the process.”

He also promised Barbadians that the process of decolonization with the establishment of a republican form of government would be completed “in the very near future”.

Speaking at a DLP St George South constituency branch meeting at St Luke’s Resource Centre as he addressed a gathering that included Minister of Education Ronald Jones, Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development Denis Kellman, Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM Robert Bobby Morris, several members of the Senate and heads of Government statutory boards and agencies, Stuart did not give a timeline for the move.

However, he indicated it would be soon.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

“We respect [the Queen] very highly as head of the Commonwealth and accept that she and all of her successors will continue to be at the apex of our political understanding. But in terms of Barbados’ constitutional status we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future,” the Prime Minister explained.

Stuart pointed out that for all practical purposes, Barbados was already a republic.

“A republican form of government stipulates that those who run the people’s affairs should be chosen directly or indirectly by the people themselves. We already do that. We have been doing that continuously since 1951 when we got universal adult suffrage. Under republicanism, the persons who administer your affairs can serve during your pleasure. In other words, they should only be able to stay as long as you want them to stay. That’s what the people of St Philip South said to me in 1999. So Barbados satisfies that requirement as well,” he said.

“The third requirement Barbados has to satisfy is that there are people in the administrative structure of the Government, and in this case we are talking about the members of the judiciary, . . . continue to discharge the functions of their office as long as nobody can point a finger at them and accuse them of misconduct, and that misconduct turns out to be true. So once you are appointed or elected directly or indirectly, the people have a right to recall you.”            

13 Responses to Could it be a ploy?

  1. Louise King
    Louise King March 24, 2015 at 1:49 am

    got to first wash away all sins–sorry not under DEM—GOD IS TRUTH

  2. Dan Vaughn
    Dan Vaughn March 24, 2015 at 3:08 am

    Sit down and think up good for your country u r running out of options. Who cares about a republic?when the country is in turmoil

  3. Mieshell Burke
    Mieshell Burke March 24, 2015 at 3:33 am

    He want a bush bath

  4. Michael March 24, 2015 at 4:52 am

    just like de speaker of de house he needs to recuse himself from the office of the pm permanently

  5. jr smith March 24, 2015 at 6:52 am

    Our priminister,cannot be making this noise on his own thinking. Very few Republics in the world and especially in the Americas and Caribbean, have a base as strong as Barbados to start from, or a way of life as good as Barbados.
    You cannot blame him for trying to play politics, this is the first time he has said anything to stir bajans up, most of the time you will have to ask ,have we got a priminister and is he alive.

    • Olutoye Walrond March 24, 2015 at 9:32 am

      If it does anything, the Prime Minister’s announcement has shown very clearly that people simply don’t have a clue what a republic is.

      I mean – on what basis can you make the claim that “Very few Republics in the world and especially in the Americas and Caribbean, have a base as strong as Barbados to start from, or a way of life as good as Barbados”?

      Is the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, all industrial nations with high standards of living, not in the Americas?

    • Dash Gap Watchman March 29, 2015 at 11:57 pm

      Guest you have a short memory, the BLP under Owen Arthur as PM, is who first bring the Republic talk, and Mia was there she did not speak then so what she gine say now. Going Republic we will just change the Governor General to a President instead, and life goes on.

  6. seagul March 24, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Society is a Republic.

  7. seagul March 24, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    What Barbados should have done is hold a vote to remove the monarchy and announce it first, rather than announce that they will vote on it next year. This will give the monarchy the opportunity to do what they know what to do best; bribery, intimidation, and assassination to swing the vote in their favor.

  8. zeus March 24, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Mr Wickham why don’t u throw in the towel this is years now u trying to get under the PM’s skin and not once has it worked the problem is u really don’t want him to talk about those things u really want him to talk to u …and yes Mr Waldron I totally agree with you 90% of these bloggers have no clue what they are talking about I really can’t believe they say that Barbados is 99% literate ….freedom of speech really really gone to the dogs

  9. David March 25, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Mr Editor,how can you allow that contributor Jus Me to insult not only our Prime Minister but all of us of African descent.
    That contributor comments are extremely offensive. The individual in question ought to be censored for making such comments.
    All of us should be able to make our points with out getting personal and seeking to denigrate an individual base on his ethnicity,class or creed.
    I take offence to the obnoxious comments Jus Me has posted about our Prime Minister.

    NB: People want us to believe that racism does not exist in Barbados

  10. Babsie March 28, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Proverbs 28:2

    For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.

    Click here to listen to Commentary

    Political instability is the consequence and judgment for a nation’s sins. Rebelling against the God of heaven exposes a nation to civil corruption, decay, or revolution. The greatest boon to a land is a leader fearing God and following righteousness. His rule will preserve, prolong, protect, and prosper a country. The contrasting histories of Israel and Judah and their kings, recorded carefully in the Bible for your learning, testify to this political fact.

    Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, was king of Israel, a rich and powerful nation. His wisdom was renowned worldwide (I Kgs 4:29-34). He wrote 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. He expanded the knowledge of botany, zoology, political science, and other fields. Governments sent men to ask questions of his great wisdom. He inherited the throne from his father David, and he taught his son how to preserve the nation.

    He taught in another proverb, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Pr 14:34). There are natural and supernatural laws at work in every government and nation. Natural laws are the ordinary and logical consequences of a nation’s good or bad character, conduct, and legislation. Supernatural laws are God’s rewards or punishments on a government or nation for its policies and practices.

    When a nation sets itself against the Source of authority, God Himself, and the wisdom of authority, God’s Word, they enter a situation where both natural and supernatural laws will punish them. Corruption breeds corruption. A corrupt nation will have a corrupt government, and a corrupt government will be subject to decay, mistrust, turmoil, or revolution. Princes will multiply as successive changes disrupt any continuity. The great God will punish that nation to uphold the integrity of His Word (Is 3:1-7; Hos 13:11).

    The many princes of this proverb are many princes in succession. Though the exponential and destructive growth of a bureaucratic government is terrible, this proverb does not teach it. How can you know this? Compare the two parts of the parallel construction of the proverb. Many princes are contrasted to the prolonging of the state, not its efficiency. The longevity and stability of civil authority is what benefits by national righteousness.

    A government will prosper as long as the nation and its leaders are righteous. A man of understanding and knowledge is not merely a degreed fool, the product of modern educational ignorance. He is rather a man that fears God and pursues righteousness, the only basis for knowledge and understanding (Pr 1:7; 9:10; Job 28:28; Ps 111:10). Both natural and supernatural blessings will reward the righteous leader and nation. Blessed and happy are those people whose God is the LORD (Ps 33:12; 144:15).

    No nation on earth today exalts God and His righteousness; therefore the world’s political environment is quite unstable, whether it is individual nations or combinations of them. The nations that have set themselves most openly against God and truth are generally the most unstable. The frequency of coups, turmoil, and revolutions in a nation often reflects its degree of rebellion against divine authority and Bible holiness.

    The French Revolution was no accident: it resulted from the atheism promoted before it. Germany, home of Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and others was politically volatile around two destructive world wars. Atheistic Russia has had three forms of oppressive rule during a similar period of time. And the United States, a young nation, is headed for similar upheaval without repentance, for the transgressions of America are very great.

    What can you do? Live the righteous life God requires in His Word and pray for your nation and its leaders (Jer 29:4-7; I Tim 2:1-2). You might be the one the LORD looks to as the intercessor for the peace and prolonging of the state (Ezek 22:29-31). It is the duty of every God-fearing citizen to seek His mercy toward a wicked land (II Chron 7:14).


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