There is no news reporter worth his salt who does not like a “juicy” piece of news. It’s what reporters live for — and the more the merrier.
For reasons we really don’t need to debate, on a large percentage of the occasions when this juicy news pops into the lap of a journalist, there is a politician or two involved.
One of the hottest pieces of political news in recent weeks has centred on the revelation that veteran MP and Queen’s Counsel George Payne is suing fellow MP and party colleague, Edmund Hinkson, a first-timer in the House of Assembly.
Political fights are nothing new. Our politicians have been sparring across the political divide for as long as there have been political parties. In fact, we have had some memorable public skirmishes and even bruising battles within parties.
The differences between St. Lucy MP Denis Kellman and late colleague David Thompson would hardly have faded from the minds of those who follow politics, and neither would have exchanges between Thompson and Clyde Mascoll, or Thompson and Freundel Stuart — all members of the Democratic Labour Party when they were at odds.
By the same token, we are reasonably sure that when Barbadians went to the polls in February many would still not have been able to wash away the bitter taste of the Owen Arthur/Mia Mottley episodes. And even though it is much older, we are just as certain that Barbadians have not forgotten that Payne and Arthur also experienced episodes of acrimony. Former BLP Government MP Rommell Marshall has been at loggerheads with party colleagues Arthur and Dale Marshall for some time now. And no one can forget MP Trevor Prescod’s verbal undressing of colleague Liz Thompson on the floor of Parliament some years ago.
Politics is a game for people with strong personalities and strong personalities will clash. When they do they can provide “quality” fodder for the journalism mills.
We note though that the current dispute between Payne and Hinkson, details of which have made it into the public domain via the court documents they have filed, by way of the news media, is occurring at a most inopportune time. We hold no brief for either party in the dispute or the Barbados Labour Party to which they belong — in fact, we dare to say that the nastier the fight gets the better it is for our bottom line as a media organisation.
But the more important issue has to be whether or not the best interest of Barbadians will be served by a fight that has the potential, based on what is contained in the court documents, to create a major rift in our Opposition party at a time when the country can do without the distraction.
As far as we are concerned, this fight could not have occurred at a worse time. There are too many issues on the national agenda that require the attention of all the people we elected — and this battle does nothing to make the situation better.
We are certain that already there are Barbadians who, based on the allegations and charges being made, are questioning the sincerity of the face presented by the BLP in the last election — and arising from that will be further questions about credibility.
We find it hard to believe that two persons who have contributed so much to the success of an institution to which they belong cannot find some basis for settling their differences before it becomes an even more embarrassing public spectacle.
We also find it hard to believe that up to this point there are no “elders” or other persons of influence within the BLP with the skills to bring about a speedy settlement in the interest of the country.
As a newspaper organisation we are in no doubt that a public escalation will only serve to enhance our readership by providing stories with a highly salacious content; but we know that a party that is united, with all its mental resources focussed on its role in national governance is even better for the country — and by extension better for us as a digital newspaper in the long run.
We hope that commonsense will prevail — but have no doubt about it, as long as the story persists, with all its juicy details, we will follow it like a hound on the tail of a fox.