The politics of convenience, opportunism, and promises are built upon less than solid foundations. As the winds blow and tremendous waves encroach, the sands upon which the tower of fortune is erected bear major disaster for the victims of happenstance. Late 2007, Barbados was bombarded with all myriad claims that the government of the day was no longer in touch with the ordinary citizen; signs of corruption and mismanagement figured larger than the propensity to lower the cost of living; and among other things, the leader at the time had surpassed his ‘best buy’ date. Barbadians listened, even if with some scepticism. By January 15 2008, there was a clear endorsement for a politics of change and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was entrusted with the good governance of the little paradise called Barbados.
Although time waits on no man and a day in politics can be a very long time, today Barbadians are seeing first-hand that art is truly long while life is short. Has political, social, and economic life in Barbados been better since the entry of the DLP? Has things remained relatively the same with large numbers of Barbadians employed in meaningful jobs doing decent work and providing for their families despite a high cost of living that to some extent were often influence by external factors and events? Worse yet, have the changes for which Barbadians are now seeing, scenarios that depict striking resemblance to the post-Barrow years and up until at least early 1995?
The sorts of changes that were promised are deeply embedded in the psyche of Barbadians because although there was the appearance of exaggeration, the idealistic nature of the promises cut across an entire nation. Many individuals and pundits were unsure of whether to break with tradition by taking that extra-step and re-elect a political party for an additional five years on top of what was practically a period of 14 years of sustained socio-economic recovery and growth in that order, or hold to political custom and deny the precedence of a fourth political term, despite knowing that to follow tradition, meant to also put in motion a string of events that would see a captain beleaguered from the financial and economic debacle of the early 1990s lead a group inexperienced with governance and certainly a group that had the makings of implosion due to their tumultuous years in opposition. We know what the choice was; hence I must ask, why do I keep fooling myself?
After listening to and reading excerpts and reports on the current state of Barbados’ economy, including those from the Governor of the Central Bank, Senator Darcy Boyce, Leader of Her majesty’s Opposition in Barbados, and several other sources, I have come to a single, rational, yet conscious conclusion. The DLP-led administration is anxious to govern but lack the guts and presence of mind to do so; this in an environment that requires innovativeness and proactive decision-making. While the DLP can reach out to those from the former administration who have demonstrated a far more visionary and pragmatic understanding of how to take a country out of calamity and make it bloom, it is highly unlikely and maybe unthinkable for the current administration to do so. Why?
The tragedy of engaging in politics of camouflage is suggesting that this crop of DLP politicians are as lost as one can be; when they look into their mirrors, they know not who they are, they know not ordinary Barbadians that are suffering, and they have absolutely no knowledge of the promises they made to a nation who gave them goodwill starting since January 2008. How can a regime in treating to the difficult circumstances of today, suggest as they are suggesting, that they have to wait and see how others in the global arena respond, and wait to see what the developed world do, since the making of a crisis and recessionary times was not their doing. It is ludicrous to fathom these excuses, and more concerning, to make them public. Barbadians ought to be demanding more from the administration.
A developmental researcher, Fouad Makki, posited a view more than five years ago that “passive acceptance of the claim that the current form of globalisation is a fate we have to resign ourselves to has become a convenient alibi for governments who willingly or unwillingly subscribe to the dogmas of market purism” (2004, 163). There is nothing earth shattering in the relative silence of the government, or the recline they take in playing the blame game on the last administration; however, it is that type of political expedience that is causing children to go hungry, mothers to weep before they sleep, and is bringing a sense of nervous tension to local and foreign investors.
My final point at this time, is simply to state that if between 1994 and January 2008 the BLP regime borrowed in excess of $2 billion which may have represented a doubling of state debt, I am bemused that the DLP would again make that a problem whilst to date they are fast approaching a similar amount, not in 14 years but in under 3 years. I am dumbfounded by the callousness being exposed by the most depleted and self-congratulatory form of government to be witnessed in Barbados’ post-independent development; they act without stirring a social revolution of any kind notwithstanding that the ‘no bus-fares’ and ‘summer camps’ are nothing but cotton wool to shield the eyes from seeing just as Senator Boyce’s seeming modesty a guile to silence the quivering heart that knows it has been duped. Barbadians, be not fooled! Do not be fooled by others who twist and turn rather than think and govern. We must call a spade a spade, and a joker a joker. That does not change, and if you are not dealt a good hand, it means that you have to raise your level of playing and deal with the realities that you have been dealt. Sad to say, the DLP regime has failed us all, they pass hand after hand. I offer my sympathy especially to their supporters and members who expected much, much, much more than they have received. Luckily, the time is shortened. The Psalmist says to wait patiently upon the Lord. Barbados, you are my love, I shall defend your honour.