Our Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, in a more sober moment, it seems, has declared his “fullest faith in the future of the regional integration movement”; and, on top of that, has committed Barbados “100 per cent” to it.
All this after Mr Stuart’s earlier publicly expressed perturbation with the “hassle-free” right of travelling CARICOM nationals at ports of entry in member states, as pronounced recently by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in the much vaunted Shanique Myrie case. Of course, the cynic may argue our Prime Minister has made a pledge to the “future” –– not the present.
We are not unmindful of the Prime Minister’s continuing dilemma. How else could he address an inter-faith service in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) without being a gracious –– but diplomatic –– host, he himself a Caribbean Head of Government? Imperfection would be his prop.
There is no such thing as a perfect system, Mr Stuart declares, as “perfection can never be achieved in this lifetime” –– nor, we presume he believes, the next. By extrapolation, we may then expect some “imperfect” decisions by the CCJ, as the Almighty in His great wisdom has gummed up any attainment of “perfection in anything on this earthly journey” of ours by us.
A poor excuse, in our humble opinion, for the bungling and contradictions that plague the regional integration movement. It is not so much imperfection as it is selfishness, protectionism, one-upmanship, exploitation of kindness and welcome, and disrespect for the intimate space of others –– all of which we would be destined to suffer, with the consolation that “there are more things that unite us as a people of the Caribbean than those things which divide us”.
Still, to the Prime Minister’s credit, he implores us to show our maturity by discussing the issues we think are of relevance to us –– those “which affect us; but do so always within the perimeters of decency and good order”. We are, Mr Stuart!
We proffer that if indeed the regional integration movement will continue to grow –– and successfully and mutually beneficially so –– it must be stripped of all this palaver which has been bedizened by constructed ideology and opaque abstractions. Humanity and neighbourliness must be at its core.
Editor and columnist Sherwyn Walters puts it succinctly: “Caribbean community has now become an ideologist’s imperative without the necessary emotional sense buttressing it.
“And so these ideologues stand, with all their good intentions, also as agents of presumptuousness and emotional numbness.”
Emotional numbness we cannot apply, though, to the other most important issue in Barbados this week: the no confidence motion against Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, laid in the House of Assembly by Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley.
In yesterday’s limited debate, Mia was a ball of fire, passionately articulating her cause, and that of the people she said were hurting (including her 5,000 plus petition signatories) because of Mr Sinckler’s harsh financial policies. Her parliamentary backing would come from freshman Edmund Hinckson and the veteran Ronald Toppin.
One may say the Government offered no evidence, with the only rebuttal to the Opposition Leader coming from the Minister of Finance himself. A firebomb of his own, Mr Sinckler, for all the interruption, acquitted himself as best he could.
Leadership of the Opposition is organically linked to fault finding of the Government of the day, and Mr Sinckler need not be unduly perturbed that because he is the target, it is through him that Miss Mottley hopes to bring his Government down. In hard economic times, whom else shall we put to the sword but our Chancellor of the Exchequer who holds the purse strings?
Mr Sinckler should not see the railing of him as any more than the same language, treasured hopes and appeal to a constituency that he and his colleagues shared when in Opposition themselves for nigh 15 years –– an Opposition doing its job!
What troubles us, however, is the threat –– however slight –– to the life of any of our political leaders, furthermore the execution thereof. Mr Sinckler’s revelation is unsettling. It is a circumstance we cannot and will not countenance, for it offers no sustainable solution to differences of opinion, or of methods of implementation of the people’s work.
Violence will be no driving force in our politics in this neck of the woods!