Growing distrust and DLP FACTS

Former American Senator, Tom Daschle, once said that “what we need is not more distrust and division. What we need now is acceptance.” This statement is applicable for Barbados, given the heightened political rhetoric and the dismissiveness that is implied in the many utterances from governing officials.

Increasingly, the Barbados society appears to be affected by a chronic failure of trust. Barbadians expect that politicians should come across as providing credible information, particularly as the national constituency relies on its institutions and elected officials for truth and facts. Clearly, in our adversarial system of governance, finding consensus is as much a challenge as choosing wisely those persons who would eventually become elected to govern this small developing nation.

It is ludicrous, for example, to hear an elected Member of Parliament suggest that citizens or groups are nuisances to development, simply because the secrecy or untenable actions of Government are sometimes challenged through the court system. One can easily ask: from whom will the country seek truth and justice? It is a known fact that, at times, the Government has acted ultra vires and effective recourse was only remedied through the involvement of the judiciary.

Barbadians have been experiencing a prolonged drift away from the civility that characterized the island’s internal affairs. Almost weekly, the current Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government seems at odds with one entity or another. Resolve is hardly determined by the procrastinating leadership, and the Cabinet’s arrogance often reflects intolerance to divergent views.

While intolerance is not a new dimension in Barbadian society, it is the cavalier cutting down of Barbadians and groups mounting critique by Government ministers that bastardizes governance on the island. Really, should the Barbadian people and the institutions that they operate through legitimate membership or association be demonized simply because an alternative view is presented?

The repetition of contemptuous behaviour by DLP spokespersons is alarming and is creating greater division in an already polarized society. The evidence is sighted in many recent episodes. For instance, the unnecessary verbal intrusion and imputations directed at union leaders in general, and certainly into the just concluded elections of the executive to serve the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW).

There is also the ongoing noise and scapegoating of teachers by an elected official who, not too long ago, himself was forcibly defending teachers’ rights. Added to these prevarications, the business community has had a sequel of turbulence in which its inputs have hardly been taken seriously. The private sector is frequently told that it has not done enough to help Barbados despite the Government has been exceptionally short on providing accurate and timely information on the state of the economy.

The ‘DLP FACTS’ mission is unlikely to reveal the truth about the things that have gone awry in Barbados. Daily, Barbadians are complaining about the dissonance happening in the economy and society. Serious crime, particularly gun violence, is setting a tone that minimizes the efforts of the police and other law abiding citizens. Disrespect for authority and the church is becoming more everyday as certain political mouthpieces hypocritically look to assert a moral high-ground although many of their actions in government are collectively debased.

It is precisely that type of governance which makes for a worsening society. Fuelled by prejudices, the political rhetoric of the failed DLP regime is being exposed by many persons who are frustrated with special interests gaining favour above the many Barbadians who sacrificed during the years of no economic growth. Why should a restitution of pay fall to the political class when our public servants are forced to languish without having had a pay increase for almost a decade?

Why should Barbadians still be crying out that they are ‘short of work for the past five years’ despite having the means and machinery to perform efficiently and contribute to this nation’s economy? Why should it appear that one entity surreptitiously get contracts for major government projects when a host of other contractors and businesses are left to wonder if they will even survive for another six months?

Policy-making in Barbados cannot continue to be informed by the kinds of institutional discrimination and marginalization that have enveloped the society over the last few years. Nor can silence be the best mode of engagement when so many facts are pointing to an economy and society hurting from the lack of effective decision-making and leadership. Barbadians must find it increasingly difficult to accept the words of a government that boasts of everything seemingly positive but is quick to rubbish anything that reflects their shortcomings or incompetence.

Incidentally, it was Prime Minister Freundel Stuart who advised last year that: “We see the family put under enormous threat and pressure; our institutions, which were supposed to reinforce our attachment to the building of a society, have been operating under untold pressure as well. The school, church, family, the labour movement, our political parties; all of these reinforcing institutions have been under enormous pressure.”

While Stuart may have placed “a very volatile global environment” as the causal factor, the perilous situation in Barbados equally has much to do with the increasing failures of Government to innovate and address the problems in a timely manner. In fact, growing mistrust in the society compounds the issues of governance. It is no respite for the DLP to commence a DLP FACTS mission when for far too long, the slippage was evident while the ‘sleeping giant’ rested in another phase far removed from ordinary people.

Admittedly, Prime Minister Stuart is correct when he asserts that: “If you have alienated people who are not feeling a part of the dynamic that is operative around them, then your society is under threat because you cannot count on these people to rise up and defend something of which they do not feel a part.” Now is the best time for Barbadians to hear all those presenting themselves as a politics of change.

Barbados needs vibrant and proactive leadership. Judging from the last nine years, the DLP has disqualified itself and Barbadians can only hope the self-determined DLP FACTS do not create more distrust and division. The alienation that comes from growing distrust will hurt us all.

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a political consultant. Email: brathwaitegc@gmail.com)

11 Responses to Growing distrust and DLP FACTS

  1. Tony Webster April 11, 2017 at 4:34 am

    FACT: you got a real bad tooth-ache, and DEM dentists try many times to “fix’ it…and it still hurting yuh real bad?

    FACT: PULL IT OUT!

    Reply
  2. jrsmith April 11, 2017 at 5:06 am

    If bajans is going to wait until now to realize , our politicians is not trustworthy , we all should just pack up and leave for mars………… Bajans is screaming how since the last election , people haven’t seen the so call members of parliament for many continuances….
    …………………………………………………………………….
    Again my take ,the people of barbados needs to regain the upper hand from our arrogant ,rude useless inactive politicians , but not only bajans people, but people of the world need to have lines written in the political parties constitutions to bring the politicians under control , this automatically make them accountable to the people , from the time they sit in office………………………….

    In barbados we need these lines in place before the next general election , this is for the people , we dont want what bajans have gone through from this present government , to ever happen in barbados again………. (bajans want that right ) through a vote of no confidence to be able to remove from constituents , the failed politicians him / her, one by one from office throw them out on they ears…………………………………………………………….

    Reply
  3. Krystle Howell
    Krystle Howell April 11, 2017 at 6:35 am

    This author hit the nail on the head! Well done!

    Reply
  4. Jea Alleyne April 11, 2017 at 8:09 am

    And Quote: The private sector is frequently told that it has not done enough to help Barbados despite the Government has been exceptionally short on providing accurate and timely information on the state of the economy.

    Failures in office….you are running a country. You need to provide accurate and timely information on the state of the enconomy, WE all live in Barbados and as such SHOULD have a say about the Finances of the said Country, it is OUR money !!

    Jrsmith is right. Citizens should have the right to remove politicians, there are too many not doing enough for the people. When employed you are sometimes on a 3 month trial, a probation period to prove you can do the job.

    How do we go about as citizens to get the right put in our constitution as well as the same rights of our mother country – The UK to have the Freedom of Information Act to make Government accountable and transparent and drag them into the 21st century like all other international countries across the World.

    Reply
  5. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner April 11, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Nice read very true but government not gine listen.

    Reply
  6. Cjwilliams April 11, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Wow!!! This writer lives here?? Boy he hit the nail on the head he touched on all the entitiesa d the fed up and disgusted eventhe sleeping giant.
    SPEAK BROTHER SPEAK You will be called a BLP operative but I voting early.

    Reply
  7. hcalndre April 11, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Looking back on the last 9 years that this DLP was given the opportunity to run Barbados, the person that has to take the full blame for the demise of the party and the poor handling of barbados` economy has to be firmly put on PM Stuart. You can`t be a leader and be leading from the back, you have to be up front, be seen and be heard.

    Reply
  8. Aneta April 11, 2017 at 10:51 am

    By George, you truly hit the nail directly in the middle of the head
    Never truer words were spoken. Now this is FACTS. Not the garbage the DEMS trying to fool Joe public. Thumbs up

    Reply
  9. Sandor Barker
    Sandor Barker April 11, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Well said critical and to the point

    Reply
  10. Cavil Best April 11, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Another Doctaar. Boobee or probably a Doctaar. Rat!

    Reply
  11. BimJim April 11, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I disagree with many things done in the USA, but “recall” legislation is one thing they appear to have got right.

    Democracy as we know it – worldwide – has been corrupted, twisted and mangled to favour and assist the politicians – now also known as the “lawmakers” – but the greed and abuses of human nature have taken their toll and we the suffering people need some changes to ensure there is balance.

    I propose, as a start, a wish list we should ask each end every Party – nay, every individual – standing for political office at the next election to swear they will initiate, support and vote FOR all of the following:

    1. Recall legislation, where any group submitting a petition of 10,000 signatures to the Attorney General immediately removes the target politician or civil servant from office for replacement, subject to a review by a standard legal jury of taxpayers.

    2. Transparency in office, where every politician who is elected provides the Attorney General with a notarised list of their property and interests, subject to removal from office and a $1 million fine if either is deemed in a court of law to be made falsely or fraudulently.

    3. Monitoring of election promises and performance – no excuses. If a promise is made, and then retracted or not enacted within a year after the election, then such ignorance and lack of interest in the facts and doing research clearly makes the person ineligible to represent us – at the bare minimum they have been elected to office on fraudulent premises, possibly just outright lies. OUT.

    4. Some kind of control over “yard fowls”, those who mutter and shout the Party Line because they are being paid or rewarded in some way when they really have no affiliation.

    And so on.

    It is seriously time we, as Bajans, take the business of politics to the next level, stop looking sideways at how others are doing it and decide how WE want to do it in OUR country. If that means we end up with honest politicians – God forbid!! – then so be it.

    Another serious consideration might be requiring a government to be made up of a proportional representation where power is shared and all decisions have to be mutually agreed – instead of this “we” and “them” mentality where armies of politicians cross swords across the Parliamentary aisle, cackle like juvenile idiots, we end up with an elected dictator and and they get little or nothing of good done for the people of the country.

    Reply

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