The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him
with his hand.
–– Psalm 37:23 and 24.
Opposition Leader Mia Mottley has said that the series of meetings
being sponsored and held by her Barbados Labour Party –– the People’s
Assemblies –– are meant for the ordinary people of Barbados to express
their opinions and make suggestions on the way forward for Barbados; not for
BLP politicians to threaten and vent. She would be guided by the sentiments of
The problem is this noble intent has not registered with very many of
her political colleagues. Here is Miss Mottley –– at least ostensibly –– trying
to weave a new thinking and projection of politics, and our hardened
representatives and wannabe MPs remain anchored in hostility, belligerence and
brouhaha, or a pretence of it, for personal political advantage.
So we may throw Miss Mottley’s publicly suggested national committee,
constructed from both political sides –– and including members of the Social
Partners –– through the window. Putting heads together for a consensus on
the way forward for Barbados in these very unusual circumstances we now find
matters not for many on Miss Mottley’s side, and strikes not an iota of interest
from the Freundel Stuart administration.
We may ask, yes: was Miss Mottley truly serious? But then she was not
put to the test. And even her predecessor Owen Arthur dismissed her
recommendation as a waste of time, and a gimmick at best, and would have
nothing to do with any Eminent Persons Group. Well, what is to
be expected of a man who writes a five-page letter to express his lack of
confidence in the leadership of the present chief voice of his very party?
We may be able to grapple with the scathing remarks from former Prime
Minister and Minister of Finance Owen Arthur on the performance of the
Democratic Labour Party-run Government and its leader Prime Minister
Frendel Stuart, but the quartering of his own official party leader is a state
of derision that cannot by any standard of social grace be accepted. Send Mr
Stuart home with the 3,000 plus public sector workers who are terminated at
month-end, if he will, but find more palatable and honourable ways of censuring
Miss Mottley –– if indeed she should be.
Now this, as we have said before, is not to take away from the more
sober suggestions Mr Arthur would have made for the future reining in of
Government expenditure and for the resumption of a more vibrant economy,
but, again, well intentioned proposals may go the way of the ravine when they
become wasted in a mix of blind-sided pillorying, invective and disesteem.
Regrettably, the People’s Assemblies, though well meaning, will make
their way to the gully too if the tirade and revilement espoused by the BLP’s
politicians at these meetings are not harnessed and discouraged. Miss Mottley
said at one of the very meetings that the People’s Assemblies were started
because she believed “fundamentally that power resides in the people. We are
servants of the people”, and as such the assemblies were a sounding board.
In the light of this, speakers’ vitriolic attacks on the trade unions and
the church in particular are unbecoming and serve little purpose other than
fomenting mental turmoil among the masses. Former BLP parliamentarian
Anthony Wood’s call for the people to get up and march, because the unions
do not think it is benefical at this time, is unsettling to say the least, particularly
when Mr Wood holds that there is a high level of frustrated young people
These BLP confabs ought to be emphasizing that there is an alternative
source of governance in the manner of how ideas and suggestions thrown up by
the people are further fashioned and offered. In the absence of the Eminent
Persons Group, these gatherings may yet throw up alternatives that our
current Government might consider.
Of course, we cannot help but comment on the contemptuous tone of the
Minister of Finance in suggesting that if Barbadians had any recommendations of
the way forward they could send a letter to the Prime Minister, or email or fax
the Government, or, worst yet, post their ideas on Facebook. Certainly there
wasn’t a trace of the notion that our politicians are the servants of the people
in Mr Sinckler’s voice whan he uttered these inglorious words.
There is clearly a case for restraint on either side. It would be useful and
refreshing –– perhaps tranquilizing –– if our parliamentary representatives
would be less insulting and combative, for all the stress that surrounds us. But
can it be?
We might take some heart though from John 14:27: “Peace, I leave with
you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not
your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”