It was a rather instructive Christmas Message which Prime Minister Freundel Stuart issued to Barbadians on Christmas Day last Friday.
In his customary didactic manner, Mr Stuart did not just deliver a message, he gave us a lesson. He taught us about character, morality, self-worth, and the star which we should follow. It was beautifully written, wonderfully said.
Truth be told, though, it was somewhat difficult to figure out whether or not he had used the star as a euphemism for himself and his governing Democratic Labour Party.
“It is important, therefore, that we reflect at this time on the star we have been following and where that star is leading us. The star the wise men followed led them to the Prince of Peace. Where is your star leading you?” the Prime Minister proffered.
With a worrying level of social deviance, rising crime, falling incomes and fading hope of a better tomorrow, Barbadians would be excused
for questioning where his and the administration’s star is leading them.
Perhaps Stuart’s most revealing didacticism was his reference to the star that leads to a sense of personal fulfilment.
“I should like to suggest to you that following a star which sets you on a path of acquiring more, more, more, will not bring you that sense of personal fulfilment which we all seek. There must be room in your vocabulary for the word ‘enough’.”
We are not certain whether we should celebrate or exhale with a deep sigh of relief. After all, during the entire life of the current administration, Mr Stuart has been taking more, more, more from Barbadians in the form of every imaginable tax, virtually stripping us bare financially and leaving us to the mercy of the monetary elements. And, Barbadians have been shouting “enough” for a long time; only he has not been listening, or not hearing at all.
We will not speculate on when he came to the realization that “more, more, more” did not bring fulfilment, and that the word “enough” exists in the dictionary and is welcome to join his already exceedingly broad vocabulary.
But in the spirit of Christmas, let’s for a moment imagine that when he went to sleep on Christmas Eve he saw in his dream the ghost of David Thompson –– it’s Christmas, so everyone appears as a ghost –– who told him that, as in The Christmas Carol, he would be visited by three ghosts.
He reminded Mr Thompson that he did not like his sleep being disturbed and that he had no time for incoherent noises from anyone;
not least from ghosts.
As Mr Thompson vanished into the deep recesses of his mind, Mr Stuart was met by the Ghost Of Dems Past. Appearing before him was Prime Minister Errol Barrow rolling in his grave, unfolding free secondary and tertiary education, free health care and the National Insurance Scheme. He saw a proud nation worship its Father Of Independence and being instilled with pride and industry.
He saw free transport for the elderly, the economic turbulence of the early 1990s, the fall of the Sandiford administration and the party’s triumph in 2008. This brought a hint of wry amusement to his face as he dismissed it all as incoherent noises.
Just when he thought he had settled back into a deep sleep, the Ghost Of Dems Present dropped by, revealing Mr Stuart on a high horse while ministers spoke out of turn; the Eager 11; the poor struggling to send their children to the University of the West Indies; free health care at risk; the NIS unable to meet its obligation; crime still a worry; and
an uneasy electorate.
Mr Stuart shook off what he thought was a nightmare, and wondered about the noises disturbing his sleep.
But awaiting him was the frightening Ghost Of Dems Yet To Come. This one was rather murky, but all he could visualize amid the cloudiness was Barbados as a republic and the repeated choruses of “more, more, more” and “enough”.
The Ghost Of Dems Yet To Come then showed him the Dems’ supporters for the next election and Mr Stuart awoke.