There is the law and then there is the politics.
The Prime Minister is not breaking any law by not issuing the general election date. The question which the Prime Minister should have considered however is whether by betraying convention he has contributed to the deterioration of political stability. Barbados is a country which is highly regarded across the world about how it manages the electoral process.
Based on a recent CADRES poll the Prime Minister’s leadership approval rating has increased. If a political party is in the business of winning elections, the Prime Minister may feel vindicated that his strategy of using the full ‘legal period’ to call the general election is working. According to the poll Prime Minister Stuart’s leadership approval rating has jumped from 9.9% to 23%. Despite the jump however he [Stuart] continues to trail Owen Arthur whose approval rating has moved from 29.8% to 39%.
BU’s view is that at a time of unprecedented economic challenge the country should not have to be side tracked by the politics of whether an election should be called or not. Prime Minister Stuart obviously does not subscribe to the tradition of a government calling an election on a date which gives political advantage. Surely after the death of Prime Minister David Thompson and the conflict which played out with the Gang of 5 within the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), it was politically advantageous for Stuart to seek his mandate at that time. And he had the advantage of recalling that Arthur made a similar slip and paid the political price.
The law is on Stuart’s side but…
The other issue is the BLP’s attempt to schedule a political meeting in Heroes Square on a date when all should have been aware that the Senate meets. In the same way the BLP has boycotted parliament to win an advantage on whether government should call the general election, surely it is the government’s right to do similarly by frustrating the effort. Whether the government has done so in this case is unclear. Although it is unusual for the Senate to meet late into the evening, it has been known to happen, the BLP was injudicious in fixing the date of the mass political meeting. BU has not even considered that the government could have influenced the decision of the Commission of Police to intervene.
What is distasteful are the LIES being generated to ‘spin’ the matter. Here is a comment which was posted by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) on Facebook. Here is the letter of approval from the police giving permission to the BLP to schedule the meeting which was withdrawn yesterday evening. The Commissioner of Police is not entirely blameless in this episode of foul ups bleeps and blunders.
This is the silly season, these are the people who we have to entrust the management of the country, these are the days of our lives.