The Barbadian people are truly “between a rock and a hard place”!
Tragically, they have tied themselves into a rigid two-party system, and now find themselves caught between a congenitally indecisive and unimaginative Democratic Labour Party administration, and a facile, money-driven Barbados Labour Party Opposition that lacks any sense of the fundamental, long-term interests of Barbados.
The DLP Government, for example, does not have a clue as to how the Barbadian economy might be expanded, and is so lacking in basic economic understanding that it continues to borrow funds on a monthly basis to pay the salaries of civil servants! The BLP, on the other hand, are promising a crass capitalist menu of privatisations and social-welfare restrictions that can only subvert the nation-building enterprise.
It is clear to us in the Peoples Empowerment Party that the traditional developmental paradigm that Barbados has pursued over the past 50 years has virtually come to an end, and that what is required now is to lift our developmental effort to a higher plane of sophistication and to pioneer several new and critical national initiatives.
Unfortunately, DLP and BLP politicians who are perpetually consumed with the goal of winning “the next election”, and who are constantly engaged in bribing the people, are incapable of the type of creative thinking and policy formulation required to take Barbados to the next level.
These, however, are the only politicians that the electorate will vote into office whenever the next elections are called! And so, we are forced to confidently – but forlornly – predict that Barbados is in for a period of national decline.
But the PEP has not given up on Barbados or on the Barbadian people! We have simply come to the realisation that it will take a long term effort to break apart the monolithic two-party structure that is currently stifling the nation, and that we will have to be prepared to diligently seek out civil society institutions and individual citizens that share our perspectives, and attempt to work with them in a manner that builds trust and solidarity. Clearly, this will have to be a long term effort.
One of the initiatives for which we will be seeking out civil society collaborators is what we have designated as our Latin American Hinterland Project.
Barbados, we believe, can be conceptualised as a “city-state” in search of a “hinterland” ( a large district that lies behind a city and that is a source of resources for the city). And clearly, one of the best candidates for the role of hinterland to the Barbadian city-state is the populous, rapidly industrialising, neighbouring region of Latin America.
The PEP is forging ahead with developing linkages and relationships with Latin America, and key to this effort is our relationship and rapport with Venezuela and its dynamic President, Hugo Chavez.
Barbados should be positioning itself to perform critical functions and services for the new industrial economy that is being built in Latin America. Furthermore, Barbados should be a member of the Bolivarian Alternative For Latin America and the Caribbean and the Petro Caribe Energy Cooperation Agreement, and should be seeking to engage with such visionary Chavista initiatives as “BancoSur” (the international bank of the South) and TeleSur (the multi-territory television network of the South).
The myopic DLP and BLP are so far removed from this vision that they have not even had the good diplomatic sense to publicly congratulate President Chavez on his recent electoral victory!
All Barbadian institutions and individuals who are interested in collaborating with the PEP on a “Latin American Hinterland Project” are encouraged to make contact with us.
* David Comissiong is President of the Peoples Empowerment Party.