It is almost as if the country could not wait for Crop-Over to end! It seems like the last band had barely left Spring Garden Highway and the good men and women from the Sanitation Service Authority were still sweeping up the debris left when somehow we slipped headlong into election mode.
We heard of those who wanted to replace MP Hamilton Lashley in St. Michael South East, followed by Lashley’s own confirmation that he would be retiring once elections are called. And before “de rastaman from de Pine” could close his mouth, disaffected former Dem, Taan Abed made it clear that since he was not happy about his treatment by the Democratic Labour Party and since the people of Christ Church West deserve better, he will be running as a independent.
Now add to that a little fuel: Lashley’s suggestion that the Dems will have one hell of a fight on their hands if they want to retain the Government once Prime Minister Freundel Stuart signals the date. This is fuel because it give the Opposition Barbados Labour Party platform fodder — partisan politicians are known for going to their grave spouting that their party is always a winner. Implicit in Lashley’s comment is the suggestion that the Bees will present a serious challenge.
So, we are in election mode — whether or not Stuart is ready to announce a day — which, by the way is still the source of discussion where ever election-loving Bajans gather. It is virtually impossible these days to pause for a conversation without someone asking: “You feel he gine call it before Christmas?” Or perhaps the bolder declaration: “It got to be October or November!”
Whatever the date, the Prime Minister’s window is closing rapidly and the people are becoming increasingly anxious. No one is apparently losing sleep over the Standard & Poors downgrade, but those responsible for the economy should not take this to mean that they are not concerned about the general state of affairs. Again, any Bajan who does not encounter someone expressing some sort of fear, anxiety or reservation on any given day would have to be a Bajan discovered by the NASA Rover now on Mars.
Our point is that in all of this Barbadians need to be sober in their judgement of politicians, political parties and what they present over the next few months, keeping in mind that emails, brochures, platform rhetoric and the like do not change the reality of our situation. Lofty promises, as we have seen, also do not amount to much when those who promise lack the wherewithal to deliver.
We are sure that the party operatives will not agree with us, but we admonish Barbadians who see themselves as Bees or Dems to throw of their political hats long enough to make unbiased assessment before they determine which candidate will get their vote.
Our maturity and sense of duty to country, particularly to those who don’t yet have the right to vote, ought to compel us to support the best option, without blindly believing that that option always comes in a particular colour. By now we should be beyond “I would vote for a dog, if that is what my party brings!”
We all know that the current hard times will not go on for ever; but how soon we get out and how many scars disfigure our backs will be determined to a large extent by the actions, or lack thereof, of those who lead. We may not be able to tell those who lead what to do, but we certainly have the final say on who will lead.
So again we advise Barbadians to be discerning listeners during this campaign, which declared or not, has already started.