2013 BLP ‘nightmare’ back again

If recent public opinion polls were anything to go by, it would seem that the next election  is a far-gone conclusion and that the Mia Mottley-led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is on course for a major victory.

That’s if the main Opposition party can successfully overcome a number of recurring public ‘nightmares’ that appear to be keeping its political leadership up very late at night, tossing and turning in bed in the elusive hope that by first light this inescapable bad dream would simply just go away, without it ever having to be confronted head on.

But alas, the nightmares keep coming back, again and again.

Most hauntingly this past week it would seem, was the suggestion made by the party’s rookie candidate Ryan Straughn, while delivering the BLP’s Eighth Tom Adams Memorial lecture last week, that the state-run Transport Board should be sold.

Given the lengths that the party has gone since then to distance itself from that suggestion, we believe it is only fair to conclude that privatization is one of those recurring nightmares that the BLP, like the present Government, is desperate to avoid, but will eventually have to face up to, especially if it gets its electoral wish.

Which essentially is what Straughn was hinting at in his economic lecture when he dared to ask Barbados, “when will we recognize that the Government of Barbados does not have to own a bus to deliver subsidized fares for any of its citizens?”

With the economy currently in dire straits, it is for us a most pertinent question to pose, especially given, as Straughn rightly acknowledged, the island’s social and economic conditions have changed significantly since 1976 when Mr Adams was prime minister.

However, with elections around the corner, it clear that no one is prepared to give an answer, much less be  responsible for telling “the little old lady” that she will soon have to pay her own bus fare.

It was a strategy that the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) used successfully against the BLP in the last election.

So even though Rome may presently be burning all around us, the BLP will be damned to allow any political neophyte to cost them the election, even if his economic formula may later prove sound.

“Ryan Straughn is an economist, he is a young politician, he is new to politics. He gave a lecture, a lecture which was not edited and controlled by the party. He was allowed to give a lecture on his vision for Barbados, how he saw things going and he sees it in the terms of a technocrat,” was the way BLP General Secretary Dr  Jerome Walcott responded to Straughn’s comments yesterday at a press briefing at the party’s Roebuck Street, The City headquarters to launch the BLP’s 79th annual conference.

It came mere days after Member of Parliament for The City Jeffrey Bostic had also sought to make it clear that Straughn did not speak for the BLP on the issue.

“Comrade Jeffrey Bostic was asked if this was a policy decision of the Barbados Labour Party and he was in fact correct [in stating that it was not]. Policies in the BLP are discussed and formulated at the level of the parliamentary group, where all of the individuals within that group have an opportunity to express that concern and the policy comes out of those deliberations. So Ryan Straughn is giving his perspective as a young person and as a technocrat and Bostic is telling you policy is decided within the party. At the moment the parliamentary group has not discussed those matters, but certainly we are working on those matters which will be revealed in the lead up to the elections,” the general secretary stressed.

Clearly this issue is proving to be quite divisive.

But while the goodly economist is left to lick his own political  wounds, we are none the wiser economically with Government still trouncing around with 63 statutory boards in tow, numerous social entitlements, the International Monetary Fund knocking at the door and a humongous national debt of 140 per cent of gross domestic product holding us by the throat.

12 Responses to 2013 BLP ‘nightmare’ back again

  1. Jerry October 20, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Everyone loves a free ride in Barbados but someone else has to pay for all this freeness. The bucket is empty, the well has been sucked dry. Yes those old and infirm should be taken care off. Everyone else have to pull up their socks and get to work to bring their country back up. The Government can destroy a Country but only it’s citizens working collectively can save it. No country can print money and spend its way back to good economic health. It has gone past politics.DLP or BLP or it will be IMF.

  2. Ricardo Worrell
    Ricardo Worrell October 20, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    I wonder if they paid her for the ad by now

    • Ronnie Murrell October 23, 2017 at 11:46 pm

      That would be sad if she wasn’t paid because all yard fowls want is lil scratch grain. But I believe she offered her services for free just like the bus rides.

  3. Ronald Callender October 21, 2017 at 12:42 am

    The “party’s rookie candidate Ryan Straughn”, who suggested “that the state-run Transport Board should be sold”, should be asked to step down by his party brass. If they don’t ask him to stand down, then, we can safely say that his party is in favour of selling the TB.

    If the party leadership does nothing, then, the electorate should see to it that Mr. Straughn doesn’t get a seat in the next parliament.

    In the 1970s, Barbados has a better public transportation system than in recent times. The roads back then were far better than today.

    All major cities in the world have excellent public transportation system. Yet, some in Barbados believe that little Barbados should privatize its public transportation system. People need non-traditional solutions

    Here on the Lower Mainland of BC, we have an excellent public transportation system. It costs lots of money, and taxpayers always balk, but in the end, we cough up the money, and the Transit Authorities improve things.

    If Barbados develop a light rapid transportation system over twenty years, it would help Barbados financial and fiscal health in the long term.

    A privatized public transportation isn’t in the best interest of Barbados or the public’s.

    Mr. Straughn’s party should request him to submit yesterday the study he performed, if any. That demand would show if he spoke off the top of his head or he did study the issue. The study has to show that a privatized system is far superior to a government-run system. If he cannot meet this standard, he should go and work in the private sector, not the public.

    In this day and age, the electorate shouldn’t accept what politicians tell them hook, line, and sinker.

    The electorate should request all politicians provide proof that what they are proposing is workable and helps the country fiscally.

    Moreover, vote seekers should submit their findings well in advance of any election. This way, the people can scrutinize any proposal to see if it holds water or if the people have to tell the politician: “There is a hole in the bucket, dear politician, dear politician.”

    When people say that the public transportation system is subsidized, ask them to name something that isn’t. If motorists had to pay the true cost for using roads, including their maintenance, most drivers would opt for public transportation.

    The government-run transportation system need restructuring. Here on the Lower Mainland of BC, regional municipal governments have given public transportation the green light. As result, commuters have been paying more at the pump. Those revenues go to improving the system. In the last two years, ridership has increased: “Ridership on Metro Vancouver’s public transit system increased another 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 following 4.5 per cent growth in 2016.”

    Without a vision and knowing what is in the best interest of Barbados today and in future, things will get a whole lot worse. Why? Only two possibilities exist: If things aren’t getting better, they’re getting worse.

    Wake up electorate, because at the end of the day, you will choose the next government. Therefore, decide today, if you want to look in the mirror after the next election and smile or sigh.

    • ebaje October 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      Stop misleading the public with nonsense. All major cities do have public transportation, but not all are government operated as some cities contract the actual operation of routes to private companies. The public transportation system in Barbados is already largely private and proves that operation is not the issue. Government just needs to retain the authority to set bus fares and grant routes, as is now the case with bus fare the same whether on TB, ZR or minibuses.

      Would the cost of travel on a rapid rail be cheaper than bus? Would a light rapid rail transit attract the level of ridership that would be required to keep it afloat financially? Our settlement patterns, hence residential densities, do not suggest so, not to mention the maintenance and operating costs. If we can’t afford to maintain buses, I can’t see us being able to do so with a light rapid rail.

      You’re asking Ryan Straughn to provide a study to show that privatisation is better; yet you are pontificating about rapid rail and keeping the TB government-operated without one single study.

      Asking for him to be removed from the party is even a greater degree of nonsense. Straughn was not a political platform or in a parliamentary debate, he was delivering a public lecture presenting his views. Even so, differences of opinion amongst members on policy is characteristic of political parties. It is not divisive, certainly not in this instance, as this editorial contends. In fact 34 Democrats voted against Obama’s healthcare. I get the impression that whoever wrote this is either being deliberately malicious or does not understand how to use the word “divisive”.

  4. Richard Johnston October 21, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Dear esteemed editorial writer: Kindly use the correct form “foregone conclusion.” Doing so might add credibility.

  5. Ras October 21, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    BLP sell The Barbados National Bank to Trinidad what else they won’t sell

    Ryan Straughn jump thee gun that’s all

  6. Ras October 21, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    BLP sell The Barbados National Bank to Trinidad what else they won’t sell

    Ryan Straughn jump thee gun that’s all, he can’t keep a secret

  7. luther thorne October 21, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    It would be sad if the DLP wins the next election because of this crap. By the time they finish with the Transport Boatd , there will be nothing to sell. Not one single Bus has been bought by the DLP in their two terms . What a Shame ! Things is that they have started the Privitization process by issuing scores of ZR permits. Yet these tricksters who know how to tell lies and win an election but cannot run the Country having destroyed the economy, the roads, the transport Board, Garbage collection, polarize the country and reduce our credit rating to below junk bond status would want to fool the people again with NONSENSE.

  8. The Negrocrat October 22, 2017 at 8:04 am

    What is there to sell?
    Those buses were constructed from old chassis they were cut and welded. That is why many of them are not properly aligned.

    Ask the mechanics from UCAL.

  9. Greengiant October 22, 2017 at 11:13 am

    @ luther thorne: Can I believe that the tricksters to whom you refer are both the current D L P administration, and the former
    B L P administration? Or are you yet another supporter of one of these two dead end parties who’s policies and ideology has no relevance to 21st century Barbados?

    We now have a larger number of students per year group at primary, secondary, college and University levels, more cars on the roads, more employment and more unemployment, more investors and businesses, a larger airport, and sea port, more flights, cargo ships, and cruise ships, more hotels, restaurants,
    a larger banking and business sector. These like the population has increased since the 70’s and 80’s yet we have two leading parties who want to run our affairs with the same policies from those years. They still have the same ideology, they concept to empowerment is the same, their way of supporting local small business is still the same, their way of political campaigning is the same, their way of dialogue with the people hasn’t changed.

    Yet Barbadians see them as the only alternative to one another. We can’t be serious about change and be even thinking about returning to the B L P. They were removed only in 2008 for the same issues we are complaining about now. We as a country need alternatives, from alternative energy, to alternative ways of administrating our affairs. This will only happen with a different party, these two don’t offer an alternative. They’ve been there and done that, our country has outgrown them both. They need to share the opposition benches to find themselves, recruit younger candidates with new futuristic ideas before they approach the electorate again for a mandate.

  10. luther thorne October 22, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Please identify that “Alternative” – Party. And please identify what it is that they will do different. GreenGiant it is ok to make statements about the two established parties but the two parties have had the experience and know how to get things done. People like you and I should pressure them to be transparent but if you the two parties have failed, the people of Barbados have failed too. We now have some of the weakest Permanent Secretaries in the history of Barbados. Politicians who should be taking the fight to Ministers just lie prostrate and allow themselves to be administratively raped and just hush it up. So who is to blame ? Politicians or the people ?


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