Higher probability of DLP defeat

Is there now a higher probability that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) will lose the next general election following last week’s cataclysmic general election in the Bahamas that saw Perry Christie’s Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) humiliatingly suffering the worst-ever defeat for a ruling party in the country’s history?

 

The answer is definitely yes. What the Bahamian election result confirmed yet again is that there is a strong wind of political change blowing across the English-speaking Caribbean, and it is more likely to sweep an incumbent from office than provide an extension of its tenure. In 11 general elections held across the region over the last three years, eight governments were replaced.

 

Since 2015, the voters of St Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St Lucia, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and now the Bahamas have opted for regime change. The incumbents were given an extended lease on life in Belize, the British Virgin Islands and St Vincent and the Grenadines though, in the last case, the election result remains hotly disputed and is before the law courts.

 

So, make no bones about it, there is an unmistakably clear clamour for change across the region and an analysis of prevailing public opinion in Barbados shows voters are similarly inclined, after the DLP’s lacklustre performance over the past six years in particular. With mere months to go before the expiry of its current mandate, it will take nothing less than a miracle to reverse the DLP’s plummeting fortunes which seem to have hit rock-bottom.

 

Compared with Barbados, what was remarkable about the Bahamian general election was the striking similarity of voter grievances against the incumbent. There were complaints –oh so familiar with Barbadians – related to alleged corruption, arrogance, ineffective leadership, poor communication, a government out of touch with the real needs of the people, and a lack of accountability and transparency.

 

Though well-liked on a personal level in the constituency where he ran, a high-profile losing PLP candidate concluded that he did not make it because the people saw voting for him as an endorsement of the ineffective leadership that was not making any meaningful difference in their lives. Alfred Sears, a former attorney-general who unsuccessfully challenged Christie for the PLP leadership months ago, said this response came not only from the average constituent but also from persons previously known to support the PLP.

 

He told a local newspaper: “As I canvassed, the refrain that I met almost unbearably is that ‘we like you, we respect you and we feel that you would be a good Member of Parliament for this constituency… but we cannot in good conscience continue with the leadership of our country for another five years.”

 

Aren’t many Barbadians expressing similar sentiments about Freundel Stuart’s leadership? It is quire likely, therefore, that some DLP candidates, although well-liked in their constituencies, may encounter the same challenge convincing persons to vote for them.

 

It is pretty clear, from all that is being said on the ground, that a significant percentage of Barbadians, with the exception of a dwindling number of die-hard Dems, are eager to see the back of Stuart. Achieving this objective through the ballot box will therefore be their foremost consideration come election day.

 

In relation to the two dominant parties, there were a few other striking similarities that Barbadians will find interesting. Ironically, yellow, the party colour of the DLP, is also the party colour of the defeated PLP. Red, the colour of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), is the colour of the victorious Free National Movement (FNM). Similarly, Barbados’ forthcoming general election will be a battle between yellow and red.

 

The PLP and DLP also have a common history. They came to prominence in the context of the struggle against British colonialism and led their respective countries to Independence under the leadership of towering political figures — the Right Excellent Errol Barrow, in our case, and the Lynden Oscar Pindling in the case of the Bahamas. Because of progressive policies pursued by both leaders, the PLP and DLP came to be widely seen as parties of the people and, as a result, enjoyed lengthy sojourns in office.

 

However, following the deaths of their founder leaders, the political fortunes of both parties steadily declined and, though they managed to win subsequent elections after stints in Opposition, they have been unable to regain past glory. In contrast, the FNM and the BLP were seen as the party of the well-off. The party of the “Bay Street boys” was the common description of the FNM at the height of Pindlingmania.

 

Going into the next general election, the odds are considerably stacked against the DLP for another reason. The DLP barely won the last general election in 2013, suggesting it was the object of significant voter ambivalence. If they could only manage to scrape home by just two seats when conditions were far more favourable than what exists today with the widespread pessimism, how can they realistically do better when considerably more Barbadians are dissatisfied with both the leadership and the party’s overall performance?

 

With the Dems hopelessly unable to defend their unimpressive economic management record, it was not surprising to hear the God’s Bible School graduate, Denis Lowe, seeking to shore up waning support in Christ Church East by promising constituents that he would not support gay marriage whilst implying such would occur if there is a change of government. Voters must not allow themselves to be so distracted. Instead, they must ask Lowe, when he comes knocking on their doors, to specifically explain how his not supporting gay marriage will bring about a fundamental improvement in their circumstances which have gone downhill under the Dems.

 

Of course, Lowe’s comments will readily appeal to the DLP’s fundamentalist Christian constituency, led in some cases by persons who can best be described as theologically illiterate, given the barrifle of nonsense they sometimes preach that is not a true reflection of what Scripture means, while they encourage their misguided flock to plant “seed” for their own enrichment.

 

They use the Bible to scare a lot of people into submission. They can’t scare me. I have been liberated from such ignorance as a result of spending two years studying the Bible and theology, not at any fly-by-night degree mill which awards doctorates after a few months, but at a reputable theological institution in Codrington College.

 

Donville Inniss must be commended for his honesty in debunking the nonsense. Only if the DLP is totally free of a homosexual presence, should they pontificate on the subject. Perhaps, the despairing Dems’ only hope at this eleventh hour is a low voter turn-out but, even here, they are vulnerable. Many Dems say they will not be voting for the DLP because it only knows its supporters in opposition but ignores them in government.

 

However, the clearest sign of jitters in the DLP camp after the Bahamas election was the call by Chris Sinckler to Barbadians not to vote for change for the sake of change. Barbadians do not want just a change of government. They want fundamental change to our governance system to ensure greater openness, accountability and responsiveness on the part of elected representatives.

 

Based on their 2008 campaign commitments, the Dems were given a chance to do so but failed to deliver. It is too late now; Barbadians are leaning more and more towards giving Mia Mottley a chance, albeit cautiously. She must be mindful of this reality and, in everything, strive never to take the people’s confidence for granted or else she too will eventually pay the price.

 

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

11 Responses to Higher probability of DLP defeat

  1. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd May 20, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    I GOING WITH MIA

    Reply
  2. jrsmith May 20, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    For change to happen people must first change , the way they think and vote ……….
    I am of the opinion that this said government, is going to be in office after the coming election… the silent majority of black bajans the party animals who raises they right hand , bow they heads and utter nothing is the force to reckon with , people who want to change but scared to do so, thats why you never really hear the bajan voices too frighten to speak……………………….
    ***************************************************
    My take I live between barbados and the (UK) because of family and business interest, but I am scared , as to what would be the out come of barbados and our people , if the present lot is still in power…….
    Thats why something need to be in place , so voters who really care for our nation , can use the same vote which put the (MPs ) in office , to remove them if they are not working for the interest of the (people /voters) bajans must not ever suffer again by the hands of crooked corrupt politicians….Bajan politicians have no shame ……….

    Reply
  3. jrsmith May 20, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    As for the use of the bible to scare the people into submission , the black politicians has learnt from the white man how easy it is to control black people with the bible, look how its done so simple in the (UK) allow black people to start a church anywhere , no fuss no bother and their are then rob blind by some black pastor… all driving £75,000.00 range rovers its all ……………….. …..black on black……

    Reply
  4. Tony Webster May 20, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    It’s so simple:, especially goal populace of .99.9999% educated” folks.
    Tel your pick
    1. You are a proud, industrious, patriotic and independent Bajan. So which shall you put first: your selfish personal interests, or vote PRO PATRIA”?
    2. You been tricked; promised dis and dat; taxed “temporarily”; ent seen a penny-raise in donkey years; taxed permanently; ” taxed by “cess” ( what’s the difference?); cessed” dis and dust; tax allowances ceased; tax returns not coming. Taxes on evahting except breathing in,and movement actions. So what you want.? More of the same?
    Lord, ,please deliver us out of this Rocky Gully: Effin Sandals cud get 40 years of milk and honey, spare us a cupple cups too,, nuh?

    Yuh better have something strong to “stabilize” yuh nerves come 30 May.

    Reply
  5. BimJim May 20, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    The current mess in Barbados has come about, not solely through the DLP, but through the steady and increasing incompetence and arrogance of alternate BLP and DLP administrations – voters MUST pick one or the other, or abstain.

    For me, the solution lies not in re-electing the BLP but throwing out BOTH the baby AND the bathwater, and finding alternate choices – Barbados has been a solely two-party, take it or leave it, political conundrum for far too long.

    I like to say that a class of Fifth Form students could do better than these two herds of braying jackasses we have been forced to become accustomed to. But instead of robbing the schools – the career politicians in neither Party seem to ever have left those juvenile long-vacation and name-calling environments – let us offer a third or even a fourth Party to show us what they can do, they CANNOT do any worse .

    In politics, choice is good. Today, the career politicians globally seem to have corrupted democracy as far as it can go without actually becoming open dictatorships or oligarchies, and perhaps – instead of having an “elected dictator” – an environment where consensus and negotiation between factions is a required part of government would be a far better approach.

    The immediate opposition I would expect is that such formats take too long to get things done. My response is that the Scandinavian countries DO seem to be flourishing under such arrangements, and I would personally rather see things carefully considered and a consensual decision be reached at the very top of our government before they decide to rape the taxpayer yet again.

    Granville Phillips, WHERE ARE YOU?

    Reply
  6. Mikey May 20, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    @jrsmith has at least 3 or 4 times suggested that the current idiots will regain power ! With jrsmith voting for them ?
    Do You think that Bajans, the majority who have never visited the UK will have the same feeling as You jrsmith and vote them back next time ??? We are not as stupid and brain-dead as You are.

    THE ULTIMATE SAVIOUR OF BARBADOS WILL BE A NEW PARTY SOLUTIONS BARBADOS OR A COALITION OF NEW PARTIES.
    OUT WITH BOTH BEE’s AND DEE’S.
    THEY HAVE DONE US A DISSERVICE FOR THE PAST 55 OR MORE YEARS AND IT IS TIME FOR NEW BLOOD, NEW THINKING, NEW ACTION TO MOVE BARBADOS FORWARD.

    Reply
  7. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba May 20, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    EARTHQUAKE IN BAHAMAS, TSUNAMI, VOLCANO, AVALANCHE IN BIM….FOR DEM SICK ASS MORONS COME 2018

    Reply
  8. Ricci Khan May 20, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Rubbish article. To suggest that Barbados will follow suit to other countries is folly.

    Reply
  9. Patty May 21, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Of course, Lowe’s comments will readily appeal to the DLP’s fundamentalist Christian constituency, led in some cases by persons who can best be described as theologically illiterate, given the barrifle of nonsense they sometimes preach that is not a true reflection of what Scripture means, while they encourage their misguided flock to plant “seed” for their own enrichment.

    They use the Bible to scare a lot of people into submission. They can’t scare me. I have been liberated from such ignorance as a result of spending two years studying the Bible and theology, not at any fly-by-night degree mill which awards doctorates after a few months, but at a reputable theological institution in Codrington College.

    Well everyone seems to be an expert on what the Bible means….How about then following what the word of God says

    Reply
  10. sunshinecanada May 22, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    all a-we will be, lilian, let thems talk,

    Reply

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