I don’t profess to be the brightest or the best at what I do, nor do I have powers of observation, discernment or discovery that are greater than any others in my field. I am merely a political adviser and strategist who has a little common sense, can read people reasonably well and who has always flown by light.
I confess to all of that even if only to give some small passing victory or even a political orgasm to those who jump at my every word on the blog sites and question the very right of a non-entity like me from the bowels of Ellerton, St. George to be respected or earn a salary anywhere in the Caribbean but least of all in sophisticated Barbados!
I also say all of that because I am genuinely confused. Ordinary Barbadians are justifiably confused. The people who now own or are about to own houses at Marchfield, Constant, Greens, Four Hill and Coverley and in so many sites throughout Barbados are more than confused.
The Barbados Labour Party’s Executive Council is confused – not to mention at least four members of its Parliamentary Group! I have also found more than a handful of ordinary Barbados Labour Party supporters totally confused and utterly dejected. They have an authentic and unaffected desire to know exactly where Mia Mottley, over the past few months, has been taking their Party!
They ask me, not because they believe that I would help them in any way win an election or anything else, but, I think, they want to engage in a healthy Saturday pudding and souse political discourse, engage in some sensible banter while playing dominoes or they want to start seeing the clearing in the woods.
My reply, when asked, is that I have never witnessed anything like this before in politics anywhere. And I mean that most sincerely. We therefore have to drop the topic. So this week I thought I would try to wrap my mind around it. Mia Mottley’s choice of issues, timing, public relations, team, themes and style are all out of synch. There is absolutely no direction or destination for the institution she leads and this is an awful statement of her leadership.
True, she is not being helped. And who should expect that anyway? Opposition Leadership is lonely business. The only man I have ever seen ask for the job was Owen Arthur who said he had difficulty paying his mortgage. Just a year or so ago, Owen Arthur laid out in the coldest, most unforgettable, brutal terms why no one should follow Ms. Mottley anywhere. He did not mince his words and he was neither short nor succinct in his expression of them. He rubbed it in like MSG on Sunday beef roast!
Now from that perspective, no one can fault the BLP leader for her Sunday Mottley Matinee meetings, given the brutality of Arthur’s attack and its clear intent. Mottley is a beleaguered “leader” who is all over the place. She talks a good game but is seldom prepared, consistent, inspiring or is she witty, engaging or humanistic; all hallmarks of leaders who knew where and when to face the public.
She is constantly bowling political wides and no balls!
She has to hold the Mottley Matinee Meetings for two obvious reasons one, is to redirect attention from the Arthur Circus which, though just a parade of circus animals and performers all adorned to salute a ring-master without a legacy; having had 14 years to build one. He has been able to garner page five of a certain publication every Monday to ensure that the ring-master gets his publicity. This is like a red rag to a bull. And Arthur conspires to do it weekly without allowing Mottley to settle down and, of course, never endorsing her leadership in the slightest way.
Second, the Matinee have to be held to give the impression the BLP, under her effective and now biblically-inspired leadership, is fighting a political war and she is out front doing battle. We can forgive – even empathise with – her for her nightmares. But should she sink a whole party in the process?
Which brings me to the real point that leads to the confusion in our minds, simpleton though I reiterate I am:
To create a political campaign around criticism of the Democratic Labour Party’s spectacularly successful housing programme and centring the battle around a desire to have Minister Michael Lashley fired is pure, unadulterated political madness – even suicide.
Wrong man, wrong issue, wrong place, wrong time! The glove simply doesn’t fit!
The prosecution of Michael Lashley has moved from his firing of the NHC Board Chairman to issues at Constant right through to a technicality in the clause of the Coverley Contract. and in all this, Joe the Plumber can’t make heads or tails what the bruhaha is all about. That the numbers attending the meetings are now dwindling is testimony to the confusion that reigns in the mind of the ordinary BLP supporter. They are drifting away from this unexplainable burden Ms. Mottley has placed around their necks. She has the life-vest but she has given them the cargo. They – the ordinary BLP supporter – can see the houses. They are applying for them too, as is their right. It is also their cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and neighbours who are moving into these houses built by the Democratic Labour Party in two years!
What an amazing record!
The contractors that Ms Mottley are lashing out against, are the same contractors that they used during their 14 year reign. Indeed it can be argued that they are today reinvesting profits from the jobs that were executed under her watch. The only difference is that the DLP is insisting that they utilise the services of small contractors. You can’t hide a whole wall house. You may be able to get away with hiding wooden structures, as we saw in the case of Hardwood Housing. But hiding wall houses?
I don’t think so!
And isn’t it strange that Ms. Mottley chooses all issues benefiting poor people to criticise? She never attacked the write off of the horse racing debt. She has not uttered a word in opposition to the Four Seasons Bail Out. She is mum on the removal of taxes and levies on big business, but free rides for school children is a sin. So too is summer camps that help thousands of children and a couple hundred small caterers. She now criticises the programs that have seen houses being built without one dollar of government money being spent. Yet, she was among a Cabinet of ministers that sanctioned the prison holocaust, the 3S conundrum and the Al Barack fiasco.
Can you believe it?
This is why now the more sophisticated, armchair BLP supporter has not bestirred himself from the comforts of his living room on Sunday nights at all because his ultimate question – and Ms. Mottley has done more than anyone else to bring it to the fore by her antics is – “Where is my party headed?” They, based on experience, know where this will lead.
It’s leading the BLP into a political cul-de-sac!
Furthermore, they ask themselves, before they will adorn a hat to take in some night dew and head out on a Sunday night, “Does my Party really expect that the people of Barbados will re-elect the likes of Kerrie Symmonds, Liz Thompson and Noel Lynch?” who are some of the most obvious and glaring symbols of BLP?
How is it that you name about 15 new “bright and talented” candidates, yet each week is moving around with the same old baggage? Are you admitting that the new admissions have brought nothing to the table?
But that’s not all!
Of all the places in Barbados Ms. Mottley could have held a public meeting on alleged corruption in government, she chose Haggatt Hall. Dear Reader, I ask of thee, in the context of recent Barbados politics, when ever mention is made of Haggatt Hall, what do you remember? What images are conjured up in your mind? Do you now see the real sinister plan behind last Sunday night’s meeting?
All this internecine party skulduggery would be funny if Barbados did not now need all hands on deck to navigate us through these perilous economic times. The forecasts are that the American and Japanese economies will slump even further in the months ahead.
The new British government is finding it rather challenging to lift off in respect of employment generation and attracting large scale investment. We here in Barbados are doing a relatively good job of staying afloat, and these guys are obsessed with going for each other’s jugular. I don’t know – and frankly don’t care enough – where Mia Mottley leads the BLP, but at this rate she has them out to sea without an engine, sail, compass or other navigation equipment and they are heading to the point of no return.
From where I stand, that is not good for democracy in Barbados!