What elitism?

I initially resisted the provocation to respond to the Prime Minister’s accusation that the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) was “elitist”, since I recognized it was said to distract Barbadians from focusing on being worse off today than they were in 2008, when his party first came to office.

His equally ridiculous suggestion that BLP political leader, Mia Mottley, is an “arch conservative” and Barbados’ interest would not be best served under her leadership, was even more laughable. That statement demonstrated the PM’s conformity to author Piers Anthony’s assertion that, “when one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one. Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamour”.

The fact is that Freundel Stuart, who nauseatingly extols his working class origins in St Philip, was rejected by those same people among whom he lived, because they saw him for the aloof individual all Barbadians have since come to know.

In contrast, Ms Mottley has repeatedly had large victory margins in a working class constituency. Her success is due to the quality of her representation, not to circumstances surrounding her birth. This, PM Stuart, is what matters.

Your suggestion that the BLP is elitist says more about your perception of reality than it does about the BLP and its 79 years of providing a better life for all Barbadians.

However, given the context of Stuart’s statement and the occasion, it is necessary, for the record, to correct his grossly inaccurate assertion. First, the BLP secured adult suffrage – the right to vote – for all Barbadians. That act gave Barbadians a say in their future and allowed people of humble origins, like Mr Stuart, to be become PM. Was that the action of an elitist party?

Further, the BLP fought for workers’ rights and established the Barbados Workers’ Union to lead the charge for better working conditions for the working class. The BLP introduced minimum wages, protection of wages, holiday with pay, workers’ compensation and unemployment legislation. It also paved the way for thousands of casual and temporary public workers to become full-time employees with improved long-term benefits by legislating that anyone acting in a post must be appointed after three years. We also introduced maternity leave with pay.

The BLP transformed the education system, ensuring that the working class could better themselves. We moved a generation beyond “sixth standard” with the introduction of free secondary education, opening the St Leonard’s, Parkinson, West St Joseph (now Grantley Adams) and Princess Margaret schools. We pioneered technical, skills and vocational training, implemented Edutech and provided and equipped community resource centres. We also raised the school leaving age from 14 to 16 years.

In health, the BLP uplifted the working class by establishing international standards and universal access to healthcare. Initiatives ranged from our immunization (vaccination) programme; provision of the first health centres; construction of the QEH and five polyclinics; implementation of the home help service and the Barbados Drug Service to ensure average Barbadians could get quality medication free.

Furthermore, the so-called elitist BLP was the driving force behind the expansion of the credit union movement which helps thousands of working class Barbadians to own homes, land, vehicles and to start businesses.

We provided the first housing units – the Pine, Cave Hill and Grazettes, St Michael; St Matthias and Sayers Court, Christ Church; Six Roads, St Philip; Coach Hill, St John; and Belleplaine, St Andrew. This continued with Ferniehurst and Rosemont in St Michael, and Kensington Lodge and London Bourne Towers in Bridgetown. The BLP also developed for sale to only working class people, nearly 3,000 house lots.

The BLP then enabled thousands living on plantation tenantries to purchase the land they occupied at 10 cents per square foot through passage of the revolutionary Tenantries Freehold Purchase Act, 1980, which Stuart’s party was against. We created the Urban Development Commission and Rural Development Commission to improve the quality of housing, roads and business chances for working class people.

Further, we enacted the Status of Children Reform Act that gave legal rights to children born out of wedlock, and ended the concept of illegitimacy. These are just a snapshot of what the supposed elitist BLP did.

Conversely, the self-declared non-elitist Freundel Stuart administration stoutly refuses to communicate with the electorate, and has piled on or increased the rate of 30-odd taxes on the backs of the working class.

The self-proclaimed, more caring Mr Stuart himself stated no public workers would be going home, but within weeks 3,000 of them were axed. To add insult to injury, no public workers have had a salary hike in eight years, yet Mr Stuart and his colleagues reinstated the 10 per cent cut to their salaries and made it retroactive, and so collected hundreds of thousands of dollars.

These are but a few of the facts about your fanciful elitism in Barbados’ politics, Mr Stuart, which your misdirected misrepresentation can never change nor erase.

Source: (Senator Dr Jerome Walcott is the General Secretary of the Barbados Labour Party)

12 Responses to What elitism?

  1. john jochum September 16, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Are you still there, Mr.Stuart ???

    Reply
  2. Johnathan September 16, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Dr. Walcott thank you for showing up this snotty PM who hardly spoke to any of the boys at school,nor in his district. He has always held his nose high no wonder the exercise got it so large asross his face. He even finds his Ministers inferior simply because he himself suffers from an inferiority complex. He had them texting him if they wanted to speak with and some of his Ministers refused to saying he calls back 3 or 4 days later and by then they have forgotten what they actually wanted. That is eliteism. He has at least 5 of Ministers who refuse to speak a t cabinet meetings.

    Reply
  3. Tony Webster September 16, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    @Jonathan: thanks bruds; had no idea the Thursduh Throng was into tragi-comedy. No wonder we are stuck in neutral, and evahbody breaking for demself.

    Reply
  4. Sandra Husbands September 17, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Barbadians need the truth and not the spinning of tales and lies by this DLP government.

    Reply
  5. Carson C Cadogan September 17, 2017 at 8:33 am

    When can we expect a report from you about Mia’s Legal qualifications?

    Reply
  6. Carson C Cadogan September 17, 2017 at 8:40 am

    This is all white wash.

    Bajans all know that the Barbados Labour Party is the conservative party of the 3% of the population of Barbados. That is why the whites and the Indians throw their full support including their funds behind the Barbados Labour Party. They get things done their way when ever the BLP is in power as they like to call it.

    The Hon. Prime Minister is absolutely right calling the BLP Elitist. It is not the party of the MASSES, it is the party of THE ELITE. There can be no honest denying of that whatsoever.

    Reply
  7. Rasta Wain September 17, 2017 at 9:00 am

    what a bunch of misinformation, this piece of Newsday should be ashamed to publish this garbage, Parkinson and st. Leonard’s was in. or before EWB time So what has the Blp has to do with free secondary education? need I say more, maybe the esteemed bible pusher should write his own editorial ,explaing why a police officer who happens to be from the opposition’s leader constituency, obtainedbail for shooting a father and son ,one of them fatally, and is now walking free on bail, while person’s are doing time for a spliff.

    Reply
  8. Carson C Cadogan September 17, 2017 at 9:39 am

    The Barbados Labour Party opposed, as they always do, free secondary education in Barbados.

    Grantley Adams, one of the founders of the Barbados Labour Party, said that if you educate all the Black people who will cut the white people canes

    Reply
  9. wayne September 17, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Carson , I can and will stay away for 5 years, Barbados deserves the BLP and the BLP deserves Barbados, let’s hope the damagecreated in 5 years is repairable.

    Reply
  10. Jus me September 17, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    This so called e newspaper, Censores
    legitimate comment.
    It is just a mouthpiece for those who rob us blind

    Reply
  11. Jus me September 17, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    BLP or DLP

    My pocket still empty.

    Vote for a new party.

    No more professional
    Politicians
    Especially Lawyers

    Reply
  12. Arri Mayers September 17, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    Look how the DLP yardfowls are crawling out of the garbage pile when their arch fowl cock is counter-attacked. They know which side of their bread is scatchgrained.

    Reply

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