Sometimes we stop feeling a leader’s presence, the freshness of his utterances removed by sheer familiarity –– or bouts of deafening silence. It would not be untrue to say Freundel Stuart has suffered such incommodiousness.
And so we can’t help but marvel at the Prime Minister’s brave and honourable attempt at bringing his personage and articulations back to our notice in very recent times –– a testament to the notion that he had not so much fallen out of fashion as he had stopped engaging our interest.
The Caribbean Court of Justice’s Shanique Myrie ruling this month, no doubt about it, as been his impetus. And whether we share his views on the implications of the court judgment or not, or are sympathetic to his consequent dilemma or not, his new bold vocalization is no less than welcome.
The Prime Minister, at a Democratic Labour Party branch meeting in St Philip North last Sunday, told supporters –– and the nation by extension –– that good manners (and by tacit inclusion his silence and quietude) were not to be taken as any symbol of weakness.
“So anybody who believes that because you are being civil and good-mannered –– and you are weak –– can push that envelope as far as they wish. The time will come when there when there will be a response,” Mr Stuart warned.
When the Prime Minister is silent, it isn’t that he is not paying attention. He says he listens to all comments being made, including those of the Leader of the Opposition, whom he has accused of trying to stir up unrest in the country.
“We are not going to allow the Barbados that we took so long to build –– all of us, our parents and our foreparents –– to be destroyed by the vaulting ambition by anybody who believes that she was born to be Prime Minister of Barbados, come hell or high water,” Mr Stuart has declared.
Still, verbalization is one thing; happening, another. Really, implementation is the road to acknowledgement of function.
And whether the Prime Minister is actually prepared or not, he and his team will be put to the test in the next several days by Operation Mia Mottley. And words will count for less than action.
The Opposition Leader has filed a motion of no confidence against Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler –– in Parliament, and outside its hallowed halls. And, come this Sunday, Miss Mottley will be launching “the entity called The Movement For Love Of Country, Uniting For The Right Reasons at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed” beginning at 4 p.m.
At this public event, the Opposition Leader will present to Barbadians –– voters, presumably –– a petition for the signing in support of the removal of the Minister of Finance by the Prime Minister, and as corroboration of the litany of woes Miss Mottley says Mr Sinckler has inflicted on the people of Barbados. Will the people sing the chorus to Miss Mottley’s sad song that this island is no longer the place Barbadians had come to know and love; that it is now driven by panic and fear by a distraught lot “seeking to protect their political lives and pensions”?
Given the toing and froing of Government and Opposition voices in the media earlier this week, it is clear the two sides are at wide variance on the way forward for this country. Miss Mottley and company are prepared to march, if it comes to that. We trust that such public protest, if it must be, will not morph into any form of remonstration; and that the powers that be will not be moved to “crack heads”.
We regret the bombast and belligerence that continues to be issued by the Minister of Finance when challenged. In times like these, softer words are recommended to turn away wrath. If the intransigent Republicans and Democrats in the United States can come to compromise of sorts for the good of their United States, we can do better for Barbados.
The continued management of Government and the response to it will be the acid test for Mr Stuart in the next several days. We the people of Barbados yearn not for an acrid taste –– no unpalatable fallout whatsoever.