A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism.
A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces.
–– Pope Francis.
In politics, leadership matters.
In the arena of what has long been described as a blood sport, the faint-hearted or the fickle won’t make it. And the old days where charisma engendered an almost god-like relationship with the masses are all but gone, as a more discerning electorate demand much more from those offering themselves on the altar of politics.
Today, powerful leaders are the ones who demonstrate the ability to think of the common good, and who take action with a realistic yet open mind.
We aver that the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) at the height of a very public internal squabble is in need of this timely reminder. If only for the reason that the drama playing out in Christ Church West between elected Member of Parliament Dr Maria Agard and the new branch executive begs for leadership.
For weeks now a bitter stand-off between the two sides has been allowed to fester into an open sore. Dr Agard has refused to work with the group, which has accused the first-time MP of alienating the constituency.
And as much as Dr Agard’s stewardship is on trial, so too is the handling of this internal wrangling by the BLP leader, regarded as one of our brightest politicians.
Ms Mottley has publicly declared that not only is she aware of the ailing patient, but that she has had enough, promising to remedy the situation.
“We will deal with this matter and settle it in Barbados Labour Party style. The public circus must stop. Let it be understood that this is a team, and there is one captain. I will lead 29 players on the field,” Ms Mottley declared in an address at the party’s 77th conferenceon October 24. But since then, the circus has continued. A scheduled meeting with
Dr Agard last Wednesday to bring about healing did not take place, leaving the unattended matter to deteriorate even further.
In the latest twist senior BLP MP George Payne has warned Ms Mottley that her handling of the matter could not only affect Dr Agard’s standing as a Member of Parliament, but also jeopardize the BLP’s success in the next polls, and plunge the party into a “constitutional crisis”.
There’s no escaping that Ms Mottley’s failure to take the proverbial bull by the horns has only created more of a spectacle, currently being poked at by her political opponents.
Ms Mottley, who has declared herself to be no fan of inertia –– which she has blasted as a feature of the ruling Democratic Labour Party –– must now explain why this problem has been allowed to rankle in the BLP, which touts itself as family that effectively handles problems without washing its dirty linen in public.
No doubt, being part of a family is having the occasional squabble; and maybe that’s what we’re watching play out before us. But being part of a family is also knowing that no one has your back like family does.
If Dr Agard and Ms Mottley cannot see eye to eye, we can all be sure the country will notice and the party and its supporters in Christ Church West will be the worse for it.
The fact is, as the so-called Government-in-waiting, the Opposition can ill-afford such negative publicity at a time when sections of the public are still calling out for leadership from the office of Prime Minister.
If the Barbados Labour Party, which has been dogged by perceptions of disunity, fails to demonstrate it can appropriately and adequately mend chinks in its armour, how will it be able to convince Barbadians that it is ready to handle the multifaceted challenges of steering this country into prosperity?
Given the national issues at stake, it is time enough the BLP sorts out this lingering mess and gets back to what matters –– representing the interests of all Barbadians.