Down to the wire

Stuart not ringing the bell until his term officially ends

Prepare for the long haul!

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart today gave his strongest indication yet that he would not be ringing the general elections bell anytime soon.

In fact, those who have been banking on a December or even a January or February announcement, had better think again, since Stuart today suggested that he had every intention of serving out his entire five-year term in office.

With Parliament due to be dissolved by the end of March next year, it is a constitutional requirement that elections must be called within the next 90 days.

However, during today’s final sitting of Parliament for 2017, the Prime Minister made it clear that his Government’s work was far from done even as he rejected outright calls coming from the main Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) for an election date to be fixed and for him to immediately announce
the poll.

In fact, he told Parliament he did not believe in exiting office before the constitutional deadline, unless special circumstances dictated such.

“I don’t need any law to tell me that there should be any fixed election date because my view is, if the people vote for you for five years, serve five years unless there is a no confidence motion that brings the Government down.

“You are given five years, serve your five years. Don’t throw back the time that the people gave you, in their face,” he said.

“So I don’t need the sanctification of any law to tell me, ‘you should have a fixed election date’. I don’t need that.”

It was in this context that the Prime Minister made it clear that “we [the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP)] were given five years from February 21 until. So that is what we are going to do. And when Parliament is dissolved, the Constitution says you have to call an election within 90 days and all of that we know. So take it easy. The law is going to be observed at every point you can be sure about that,” he told members of the Mia Mottley-led parliamentary Opposition.

Though not singling out any of his parliamentary colleagues, Stuart also warned against thinking that politics was a game, while suggesting that some people were trying to “trick” Barbadians into voting for them.

He pledged that even as the imminent date for election approached, his administration would continue to do what it could to fix a number of challenges facing the Barbados economy and society.

“Politics to me has never been a game. I don’t believe that my role in politics is to try and choose the psychologically appropriate moment when I can trick the people to get them to vote for me. I think you are voted for, you are given a term for five years, serve your five years. Whatever the state of things may be at the time when the election is due, deal with those things because you were in charge,” said Stuart, whose Government has been facing an uphill battle in trying to dig the country out of an economic recession.

However, even with the national deficit said to be in the order of five per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), the national debt in excess of 100 per cent of GDP and the international reserves dangerously low of less than $600 million, Stuart said he was prepared to fight to the finish and to face up to whatever political fate the Barbadian electorate had in store for him.

“We are not running from any of the issues that face Barbados. We were in charge and we are going to account for our stewardship in Government. That is the point. Nothing to run from,” he stressed, even amid rising dissent over Government’s harsh taxation policies, highlighted by the hike back in July of the burdensome National Social Responsibility Levy from two to ten per cent on the customs value of locally manufactured, as well as imported goods.

In recent months, the Stuart administration has also been faced with the public backlash arising from its 2014 decision to end free tertiary education, which was considered a Holy Grail by many Barbadians. It has also been dogged with complaints about the state of the island’s roads and general infrastructure as well as harshly criticized over its seeming inability to resolve what were hitherto considered as routine challenges, such as sewage spilling over into the streets along the south coast and inadequate water supply in other areas of the country.

However, while seemingly determined to press on, Stuart, who is the seventh prime minister of Barbados, today touched on the vexing issue of vote buying, saying it was a “highly undesirable” thing, while promising that every attempt would be made to ensure that it was discouraged.

“It should be stamped out wherever it exist,” he said, reiterating a position he had issued at the end of the last election when he promised to wrestle the issue to the ground.

However, no action has been taken on the issue since then, but the Prime Minister today warned that “something as sacred and as important as the vote should not be seen as something for which you pay money.

“People should understand that the right to exercise a choice in an election was a long fought for right and therefore it should not be commercialized as we have seen happen in Barbados in recent times,” he said.

The St Michael South Member of Parliament recalled that coming out of the 2013 poll there were at least two allegations of vote buying, adding that none of them was related to the DLP.

“Outside of those two cases we have not had any serious problems on this issue, but as I said I am at one with the member of St George North [Gline Clarke] and St Thomas [Cynthia Forde] as well. We have to guard what we have achieved in Barbados very jealously. We have to protect free and fair elections and we have to protect our democracy,” Stuart declared.

In response to concerns raised today about why the multi-purpose ID card for Barbados was seemingly abandoned, Stuart said while the issue was not off the table it was decided that it would be put on pause given that it would coincide with the current election cycle.

“It is still a wide open issue but I think that the commission was wise not to try to force it down people’s throat in circumstances where the national registration exercise could have been disruptive and that kind of thing. But I think it is an issue to which we have to get back to after more consultation,” he said.

During today’s shorter than usual sitting, Opposition parliamentarians also raised concern about delays in transfers, pointing out that some residents over the years had difficulty casting a vote in one constituency after relocating despite filling out the necessary forms.

marlonmadden@barbadostoday.bb

60 Responses to Down to the wire

  1. Cisco Wolf
    Cisco Wolf December 20, 2017 at 12:03 am

    https://youtu.be/qKBFHVNu6iw

    Reply
  2. Mic Taylor
    Mic Taylor December 20, 2017 at 1:23 am

    It’s okay we don’t mind if you call elections early, we will get by without you !

    Reply
  3. Arlington Andrews Farley
    Arlington Andrews Farley December 20, 2017 at 1:41 am

    Time is longer than twine, we can wait .

    Reply
  4. Roger Fitzgerald
    Roger Fitzgerald December 20, 2017 at 2:18 am

    True serve ur time five years it will be the last one we will wait 10 more weeks an good ridanc to u

    Reply
  5. Clifford Ward
    Clifford Ward December 20, 2017 at 3:26 am

    This man has no scruples,a total disgrace too our little Island.Any way big snout,enjoy it your power hungry days fast approaching.What were bajans thinking when they gave these losers 10 years.Stuartie boy u and your ministers living at the well’s head u don’t have too care.GOD AIN’T SLEEPING.

    Reply
  6. hcalndre December 20, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Listening to what some ministers say in the parliament makes me wonder if they think all who hear them are stupid. The issue of a person who moves from one constituency to another, notified the office of their relocation and when they go to vote at the polling station, their names are not on the list. This is what the idiot from the DLP said, the person could still vote. I would like to ask the minister if the person had move miles away if he/she could still cast their vote in the constituency that the are now living when they are not registered to vote there and the candidate would be different. Do they accept writing-in votes? Countries with millions of people, every household at election time gets mail telling then where their polling station is and the election date, while Barbados with 200 voters can`t get any information out. Another minister gave wrong information about the US voting day and date.

    Reply
  7. Pullhead Davis
    Pullhead Davis December 20, 2017 at 5:32 am

    Tell me that why he rushing parliament 2 week to pass things that won’t get governor signature by June but March 6th parliament ends March 31st no estimates a lot of payments government pays monthly including salaries could be in trouble if they is no estimates and then bajans will turn red or orange with they anger against you election day

    Reply
  8. Sophia Lewis
    Sophia Lewis December 20, 2017 at 5:38 am

    Money transactions still to close off and has to wait till the funds hit the account. People if you had millions coming to you but ain arrive yet well… ?

    Reply
  9. Sophia Lewis
    Sophia Lewis December 20, 2017 at 5:40 am

    By the way … .apparently good things come to those who wait. Let’s wait then. Foot tapping

    Reply
  10. Pearl Greene
    Pearl Greene December 20, 2017 at 5:51 am

    They have to get their coffers over flowing before the depart

    Reply
  11. Jackie Bayne
    Jackie Bayne December 20, 2017 at 6:05 am

    Too late will b your cry

    Reply
  12. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall December 20, 2017 at 6:07 am

    I hope voters wake up to the emotional abuse this administration put as though and become let it come to an end we have to endure a lot longer.
    People of St John, St Lucy and the rest of the constituencies these have not earn a vote from not a voter.

    Reply
  13. Mhizzeyejoyful Reece
    Mhizzeyejoyful Reece December 20, 2017 at 6:23 am

    Tick tock⏰

    Reply
  14. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd December 20, 2017 at 6:23 am

    WAITING LONGER TO PICK MORE FROM THE NATION POCKETS!!!!!

    Reply
  15. Tony Webster December 20, 2017 at 6:33 am

    This man, by his own words, is evidently gleeful that he can…and intends to… impose the last drop of misery…can wring our necks to the max…before the Good Lord delivers us suffering citizens out of his hands.

    Lord, please tarry us no longer in this Rocky gully….do your stuff, please Lord.

    Reply
    • jennifer December 20, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Be very careful what u wish for. Hahahaha. That is a day u do not want to see.

      Reply
      • harry turnover December 20, 2017 at 1:19 pm

        Jenny..didn’t I tell you that Stuart going out to the baller ” again ?and I will say also that when DEM lose he is not going to speak to ANY REPORTER either.
        Would probably refer them to the OPPOSITION LEADER jf he says anything at all.

        Reply
  16. Errol Rayside
    Errol Rayside December 20, 2017 at 6:33 am

    ahh

    Reply
    • Dawn Forde
      Dawn Forde December 20, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Enjoy it while it last. Lol.

      Reply
  17. Alex Alleyne December 20, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Hoping to shake off the fleas and come out scratching.

    Reply
  18. Colin Daniel December 20, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Will they have an appropriations bill approved before March 6, 2018 so that government can operate? Parliament automatically expires on that date.

    Reply
  19. John Nicholls
    John Nicholls December 20, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Well to each his own. As far as I know the life of parliament constitutionally comes to an end on March 6, 2018. Thereafter the constitution directs.

    Reply
  20. John Nicholls
    John Nicholls December 20, 2017 at 7:12 am

    One correction. Anthony Daniel, parliament doesn’t have to be dissolved by the March 6th 2018 date it will dissolve itself as it were at that date as per the constitution. In other words the life of parliament comes to an end then. Just mentioning but you raise an interesting scenario.

    Reply
  21. Caroline Boxill
    Caroline Boxill December 20, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Before ya sneeze from that big nose it will be June so no worries

    Reply
  22. Deangelo Dixie Mayers
    Deangelo Dixie Mayers December 20, 2017 at 7:20 am

    This man has no respect for ppl
    Don’t know why Barbados today print these stupid articles about these stupid ppl

    Reply
  23. Mervin Phillips
    Mervin Phillips December 20, 2017 at 7:26 am

    This is the worst prime minister they ever had in the comonwealth,he sits down and watch his ministers do everything that is wrong on earth,before he talk to them he gives them encouragement to do more foolishness,he let chris a square peg in round hole destroy the ministry of finance printing money all the time to pay civil servants and now got the foreign reserves down to four weeks.

    Reply
  24. Cheryl Onita
    Cheryl Onita December 20, 2017 at 7:36 am

    This man talk like one that never went to school stupe I am sick with everyone of them

    Reply
  25. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn December 20, 2017 at 7:37 am

    If you know within your heart you is going to lose the next general election. Would you call election early.

    Reply
  26. Tony Webster December 20, 2017 at 8:08 am

    @Colin Daniel. Great point. Poisoned Chalice? Or just behaviour “to character”?
    Seeing this nation gathering speed down the proverbial slippery slope is not a pleasant experience, though it is hugely ” instructive”.

    Reply
  27. Randolph December 20, 2017 at 8:11 am

    The people are suffering so much and yet he wants them to suffer more.What a travesty.May God have mercy on his soul.His legacy will be that he was the worse PM in the history of B’dos.

    Reply
  28. Rasheed Spikey Singh
    Rasheed Spikey Singh December 20, 2017 at 8:13 am

    He need to screw over Barbados some more

    Reply
  29. Lee December 20, 2017 at 8:52 am

    The IMF is going to win this next election. We have squandered our independence in eight years’ of mismanagement by a racially inspired Demagogue Labour Party. These wounds will not heal with an election – much like the sewerage overflow problem, we will have to reform the whole structure before Barbados is fixed.

    Reply
  30. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore December 20, 2017 at 9:19 am

    The face of arrogance. A real RH.

    Reply
  31. Star Wood
    Star Wood December 20, 2017 at 9:22 am

    He knows this is his last mas so i’m not surprised i told ppl these demons will do this

    Reply
  32. Kevin December 20, 2017 at 9:58 am

    If the BLP gets in, let them introduce fixed terms.

    Reply
  33. Lynda Bonnett
    Lynda Bonnett December 20, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Woiiiiiiiiiiii lmao lol lol

    Reply
  34. archy perch December 20, 2017 at 11:12 am

    The crooked Barbados Labour Party is the answer folks. Their documented record is their Bible. No matter what they say, the mismanagement of the BLP Owen Arthur administration is engraved in the payes of our newspapers and social media like Barbados Underground and Barbados Free Press. Now that crooked party wants to gain power again and with much of the same rascals that held ministries. And you people who claim university training AND COMMON SENSE, seen to be willing to overlook facts. That same university you attended was established under a DLP government. The same NIS which people criticise was established by the DLP government. The Idependence which people criticise was established by the DLP government. The excellent health care system in Barbados today, was and is being perfected by the DLP government.I could go on and on.The same darn fools that fiercely criticise the DLP government in Parliament today, were formerly DLP members now disgruntled members. They know the chances of them becoming millionaires are better within that crooked BLP bunch of elitists.

    Reply
  35. Mark Marlon Phil
    Mark Marlon Phil December 20, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Worst government period need removing asap

    Reply
  36. Pat BB
    Pat BB December 20, 2017 at 11:34 am

    So this suppose to be something new?? NEXT!!

    Reply
  37. Kamila Burrowes
    Kamila Burrowes December 20, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    I dunno wtf he don’t call em ppl tired ah u and this government

    Reply
  38. Ossie Moore December 20, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    So! Citizens please give me what corrective measures will bring about prosperity for all nationals? What are the remedies and how long will these remedies take to show positive results; that’s the big picture. Lots of talk with no meaningful actions or progressive plans leaves you in the channel with your fishing boat Peta engine pushing against a tide which is speeding toward you at twice your speed Then what? We never get to port.

    Reply
  39. Anfaani Henry
    Anfaani Henry December 20, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Elections please and done

    Reply
  40. straight talk December 20, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    This government want to do all the nice things now in the few months left cause them want to say that the DLP did this and the DLP did that with the hope that it will make them look good during elections after making life five times harder poor people than it was since coming to office in 2008 till now.

    Reply
  41. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd December 20, 2017 at 3:03 pm
    Reply
  42. Baz Moz
    Baz Moz December 20, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    The long haul started when you got, in unfortunately it’s been a long haul backwards

    Reply
  43. Belfast December 20, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    He has taken Barbados down past the wire, why not add the next General election as well.

    Reply
  44. Janette Reifer
    Janette Reifer December 20, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    No looking right. Need a check. Blowing out.

    Reply
  45. janette reifer December 20, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    What soever a man sow, that shall he also reap.

    Reply
  46. luther thorne December 20, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    CALL DE FRIGGING ELECTIONS

    Reply
  47. luther thorne December 20, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    I wrote the above comment before reading all the other comments. Now that I have read the comments, you people sound like a bunch of helpless people complaining but not willing to act. This CountryWe has become to a juncture in time when the people of this country should not be begging any politician to do anything . Politicians are the servants of the people and the people of this country need to internalize that fact and take the necessary and appropriate action. Stop behaving like helpless slaves and do something about the situation. I do not expect anybody to support my call. Barbados has always been populated by docile persons who are always ripe for subjugation .

    Reply
  48. luther thorne December 20, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    This CountryWe has become to a juncture in time when the people of this country should not be begging any politician

    SHOULD READ

    This Country has come to a juncture in time when the people of this country should not be begging any politician

    Reply
  49. Troy December 21, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Mr. PM . Kindly give us our tax refunds. Fix de roads. Get the faeces off de south coast….Bajans tired of the rhetoric….do us a favour and bow out gracefully.

    Reply
  50. Corbin December 22, 2017 at 1:05 am

    Preparing for his grand departure of never returning!

    Reply

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