Keep race out of our politics!

It is a really poor reflection on the state of Barbadian politics, as we approach our 51st anniversary as a sovereign, independent nation in this supposedly enlightened age of the 21st century, that there are persons in our midst who, in pursuit of narrow, self-serving political agendas, would seek to use the emotionally charged issue of race to set Barbadians against each other.

There was ample evidence of this ploy at work especially in various social media postings over the weekend as operatives, clearly in support of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP), waged an aggressive online campaign aimed at  dissuading black Barbadians from coming out to participate in yesterday’s anti-Budget protest march jointly organized by the umbrella private sector organization and the island’s four major trade unions.

Even though the organizers of the march were at pains to emphasize that its specific purpose was to get the Freundel Stuart administration to engage them in serious discussion on changes to the recent 400 per cent increase in the National Social Responsibility Levy (NRSL) that will significantly push up consumer prices, the on-line political operatives sought to give the demonstration a conspiratorial frame.

They claimed it was nothing but an attempt by the white Barbadian business class, using the black trade union leadership as pawns, to bring Barbadians out on to the streets in an attempt to bring down a black government. The political spin sought to exploit the front-line involvement of Mr Charles Herbert, president of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), and the fact that a number of prominent white-owned businesses had expressed support for the march. There were calls to boycott these businesses as well as few black-owned enterprises which the operatives saw as supporting the march.

“I have contacted one hundred and twenty seven persons from the area who have agreed to withdraw their patronage if you follow the white business community masquerading under the acronym BPSA to bring down a black democratically elected government,” said a Whatsapp message, styled as an “open letter” and directed at a black businessman, that made the rounds last weekend.

Using race to divide and rule is a despicable tactic which must be condemned by every right-thinking Barbadian. Indeed, the crude exploitation of race for political ends has contributed to much division and strife, sometimes with deadly consequences, in many countries across the world, only to set back their development prospects by decades and jeopardize the aspirations of the population to enjoy a better quality of life.

Fortunately for us in Barbados, ours has always been a society where blacks and whites and other races have peacefully co-existed.

The fact that black Barbadians have dominated national politics since Independence in 1966, does not mean politics and government have become their exclusive preserve. All Barbadians, whether black or white, brown or yellow, have the same rights under the Constitution and are therefore entitled to use their freedom of expression, for example, to comment on any political issue or engage in lawful and peaceful protest, especially in any instance where a government is widely seen as taking decisions which are not in the best interests of the citizens of the country.

The fact that up to 20,000 Barbadians, according to police estimates, chose to be on to the streets of Bridgetown yesterday, instead of remaining at home, showed that a significant percentage of the population shares the same view of their private sector and trade union leadership on the adverse effects of the NSRL and other tax measures presented in Government’s 2017 Budget. Otherwise, they would have simply stayed at home or remained at their workplaces.

The massive public participation in the march sends a clear message to the conspiracy theorists whose tactics ought to be publicly rebuked by the leadership of the DLP, that playing the race card must be kept out of Barbadian politics. Indeed, race should never be used to shield a government from having its actions being subjected to public scrutiny or from recognizing that, as a servant of the people, it has a responsibility to be accountable, not only at election time, but throughout its tenure in office when there are issues which have a major impact on the population.

While there is no denying that our slavery past has left some blemishes on race relations, if there is one lesson which South Africa’s post-apartheid experience and the example of the great Nelson Mandela can teach us, it is that it is better to attempt to heal old wounds instead of reopening them, for the sake of national cohesiveness which offers an opportunity for national development.instead of promoting new or reinforcing old divisions that undermine cooperation in the national interest.

28 Responses to Keep race out of our politics!

  1. Don Keyote July 26, 2017 at 5:33 am

    So that rebuke to the conspiracy theorists would be:
    “Do as I say, don’t do as I do”

    Reply
  2. Colin King July 26, 2017 at 6:34 am

    @Editorial

    As I have said previously there are statements coming from certain quarters, and let me be clear, on both sides of this issue, that leave a lot to be desired and can only result in an outcome that will be immensely detrimental to all.

    Bringing a Government “To Its Knees” and playing “The Race Card” are examples of the type of rhetoric/responses that needs to be taken out of this equation with immediate effect.

    Very, very, few people really understand the extremely difficult path ahead that Barbados and The World at large are facing!

    They are many, many storms on the horizon slowly gaining momentum and strength and ready to unleash their fury on unsuspecting populaces!

    We are seeing examples unfolding on a daily basis in all of the various news media across the World that confirm this to be the case.

    Just to remind one and all Barbados is part of The World!

    To deny and ignore has been the “Keystrokes” of choice used by many to try and wipe the reality of the situation from their “Hard Drives”.

    Big Mistake!

    Whether we like it or not these storms will have to be faced sooner rather than later!

    Preparation is the key to our survival!

    Let us begin today by working together to solve this particular issue at hand!!

    They are many, many more challenging ones ahead that will require significantly more resolve than this present one.

    Reply
  3. Cheryl Cumberbatch
    Cheryl Cumberbatch July 26, 2017 at 10:08 am

    I agree with this article

    Reply
  4. Michael Goodman
    Michael Goodman July 26, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Race was never in it. DLP operatives, sycophants and yardfowls, out of pure desperation, used and continue to use any means at their disposal in an attempt to diminish and discredit the march, and failed and are continuing to fail miserably. The people have had enough, and no amount of smoke and mirrors, rhetoric and fake letters can disguise and suppress that FACT any longer.

    Reply
  5. Wendell Kirton
    Wendell Kirton July 26, 2017 at 10:51 am

    I strongly agree keep race out people is people. Straight

    Reply
  6. Angela Griffith
    Angela Griffith July 26, 2017 at 10:58 am

    I agree

    Reply
  7. Philip Irie Clement
    Philip Irie Clement July 26, 2017 at 11:42 am

    It’s just desperation on “dem” part , I saw Proud Barbadians walk shoulder to shoulder in peaceful solidarity ,the only race involve here is the race to get DEM out of office. So #updething.

    Reply
    • George Hutchinson July 28, 2017 at 6:34 am

      Well said !!!

      Reply
  8. Maaz A Love
    Maaz A Love July 26, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    When i c some people marching with black people it makes me wonder..what is there ulterior motives.. hmmmm! Don’t be fool by some. Just sayin

    Reply
  9. Michael Goodman
    Michael Goodman July 26, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Rodney, I was referring specifically to Monday’s march. Sadly, of course race has played a devastating role in Barbados’ history.

    Reply
  10. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner July 26, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Really let’s be frigging real I was one of the people questioning private sector motives and I still do.PM got it right for once chicken and mongoose don’t mix mongoose which is private sector will eventually eat chicken which is unions and members,private sector using them to advance they agenda.I’m not a fan of either of these two political parties who have only ever govern Barbados period.About race let’s stop trying to pretend everything is peachy between races in Barbados because it’s not please don’t get it twisted.

    Reply
  11. Angela Griffith
    Angela Griffith July 26, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    No Rawle spooner pm is dead wrong

    Reply
    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner July 26, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Angie with all due respect a lot of people like myself see exactly what he was saying like I said no fan of PM nor anything he says but agree with him on this one.Not gine get into any back and forth about it because everyone entitle to their opinion and I’m sticking to mine,it is what it is.

      Reply
    • Randolph July 26, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Stuart is stirring up racial strife which will be his undoing in the next election.A desperate man.

      Reply
  12. Randolph July 26, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Well said Michael Goodman.These people don’t realize that the electorate has had enough of Dem.

    Reply
  13. Earl Lashley
    Earl Lashley July 26, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    As a black tradesman, I worked for black Bajan and the white as well. Of the two I would work for the white any day before the black. Just saying.

    Reply
  14. Bonita Weekes
    Bonita Weekes July 26, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Earl Lashley, I wholeheartedly agree with you, As self employed person your own clog gives you HELL. I have done it here and in another place and in both places it has been the same. The black ones will owe you and want to cuss you or pretend that they forgot, even after being reminded you still can’t get your money. The white ones come and they pay you for your work. I too would rather work for them.

    Reply
  15. Bonita Weekes
    Bonita Weekes July 26, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Your own color gives you………

    Reply
  16. Colin King July 26, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    @Randolph

    Excuse Me?

    Well said Michael Goodman??

    While the performance of this current Government to date is very, very questionable indeed, and yes, there may be some “Individuals” using various dubious means to ensure that this current Government somehow “keeps its head above water”, referring to people as sycophants and yardfowls is totally out of order.

    They are good people and they are bad people in any organization.

    That goes for both The DLP and The BLP……………….!

    That goes for The Anglican Church and The Catholic Church……!

    That goes for The Football Asoociation and The Cricket Asoociation……!

    That goes for your Family and My Family……….!

    The DLP and The BLP both have representation on the list of National Heroes of Barbados.

    Both parties have served Barbados outstandingly well over the years, since our Independence and should be recognized for their substantial contribution.

    The Political stability that has existed in Barbados is testament to the way both of these Parties have conducted themselves, sometimes in extremely difficult circumstances.

    This is yet another one of those extremely difficult circumstances.

    We are looked upon as an example to follow by many of our Caribbean Sisters and Brothers (Countries).

    We would surely want that to continue being the case.

    We can only hope that the level of maturity displayed in the past by both Parties, continues to be displayed during the upcoming election process.

    Yes, it is a political process, and debate will sometimes be heated, but we need to ensure, at all times, that we do not get “down into the gutter”.

    The early omens do not augur well, and Mr. Goodman’s comments will only aggravate matters and make them substantially worse.

    It is this type of abrasive and repulsive attitude that often becomes prevalent during “The Silly Season” and needs to be stamped out with great haste.

    We can only hope that common sense prevails and that The Political Parties and the Electorate refrain from opening A Pandora,s Box.

    Once opened it can never ever be shut back again.

    Reply
  17. Sam Alleyne July 26, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Michael Goodman, you hit the nail squarely on the head, we’ll said.

    Reply
  18. Sheldon Williams
    Sheldon Williams July 26, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Wake to hell up

    Reply
  19. Colin King July 27, 2017 at 7:05 am

    @Sam Alleyne

    It is truly a sad day in Barbados to have reached the stage where bringing a Government “to its knees”, playing “the “race card”, referring to fellow Bajans as “sycophants and yardfowls”…………!

    I am now absolutely certain that before this election process is over, that considerably worse words will be spoken, and considerably worse actions will be taken, by people who clearly have no respect for human normalcy and decency.

    We always blame the youth for their actions yet we continue to set a standard of behaviour for them to follow and emulate that certainly leavesca lot to be desired.

    I hope that when we wake up the day after the election that we will be able to look back and be proud of what we have achieved.

    Somehow I doubt very much that that will be the case.

    Reply
  20. Colin King July 27, 2017 at 9:16 am

    All of what is currently transpiring in Barbados (and the wider World in general) leads me to the following conclusion.

    We are all now so programmed to Compete rather than Cooperate that we are willing to destroy our country(ies), and by extension ourselves, in the process.

    And we will, in so many, many ways, at the rate, and in the direction, that we are currently going!

    We teach our children at school on a daily basis that they must become more competitive.

    When they leave school and go into the workplace they are programmed to become more competitive.

    At the end of the day Competition inevitably leads to Conflict.

    There must always be a winner and there must always be a loser.

    On the other hand.

    At the end of the day Cooperation inevitably leads to Compromise.

    There are only winners and no losers.

    Which do you believe is the right path if we are to have a country (Barbados) and a World worth living in?

    Great men, both past and present, understood/and understand
    the difference between the two approaches and the very, very few positives and the many, many negatives inherent in the first (Competition), and the many, many positives and the very, very few negatives inherent in the second (Cooperation).

    We need look no further than the following individuals who would have come to this conclusion.

    Jesus Christ
    Mahatma Gandhi
    Martin Luther King
    Nelson Mandela
    The Dalai Lama
    Saint Francis Of Assisi
    Muhammad
    The Buddha
    Brahma
    Pope Francis

    There are many more.

    I doubt very, very, much indeed, and feel free to correct me if you think that I am wrong, that any of these Great Men listed above would have endorsed/would endorse the approaches that we are seeing being taken in this election process in Barbados to date, to solve the myriad of problems that we are all currently facing as a country.

    This is why my position, which I have held for some time, now is that “The System” must change!

    The sooner the better!

    I will now leave it at that for the time being.

    Think on these things as we go deeper and deeper into the election process here in Barbados.

    There is a lot at stake and we had better start making the right choices, and soon, if we want an outcome that is palatable for one and all.

    We all have a clear opportunity to separate ourselves, and Barbados, from the way in which the Rest of the World solves its problems!

    Let us be that one shining light, and grab this opportunity with both hands!

    Carpe Diem!

    Reply
  21. Colin King July 27, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    A very good friend of mine on reading the above post pointed out an error which I readily admit to.

    Brahma was not a man but The Creator God in The Hindu Religion.

    I apologize to all those followers of The Hindu Religion for my error.

    Reply
  22. hcalndre July 27, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Look who is pushing the race card, I interpret the “lion and lamb” as a racist disguise statement.

    Reply
  23. Carson C Cadogan July 27, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    “Fortunately for us in Barbados, ours has always been a society where blacks and whites and other races have peacefully co-existed.”

    I agree with you.

    …….as long as BLACKS are at the bottom of the heap.
    ……..as long as BLACKS are being treated as something that you scrape off the bottom of your shoe.
    …….as long as BLACKS are treated like boys and girls in the yard.
    …….as long as BLACKS continue to hewers of wood and drawers.
    …….as long as BLACKS know their place.
    …….as long as BLACKS don’t challenge other races right to the BEST of everything.

    Yeah, we get along real peace full.

    Reply
  24. Carson C Cadogan July 27, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    that should be “”as long as BLACKS continue to be hewers of wood and drawers of water.””

    And I should also add:
    …….as long as BLACKS make up 100% of the inmate population of Dodds Prison.

    Yeah, we get along real peaceful.

    Reply
    • Hewers of wood July 28, 2017 at 10:16 am

      hahahahaha – Carson you too sweet and nailed it too.

      Reply

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