Welsh politician Aneurin Bevan’s famous quip that politics is a blood sport has often been used to indicate that that calling is not for the squeamish. And, that unless one can stomach the occasional bloodletting, one should steer clear of the political game.
But to accept the notion that cannibalism is tolerable because the cuisine is comprised of politicians is as self-deprecating as one can be. Though many will suggest the nature of politics accommodates Jesus Christ as much as it does Lucifer, politics is not ethereal. It is still about human beings, and inhumanity is the hallmark of stupidity in power.
We hold no brief for Christ Church West MP Dr Maria Agard; we are sure she has the capacity to fight her own battles. We pass no definitive judgement on Opposition Leader Mia Mottley either. We are sure reward or retribution will find its nest if either is merited.
We neither congratulate nor condemn Dr William Duguid on his return to the political hustings; we assume that cause and conscience are in their right places.
Politics in Barbados, and we daresay in several other jurisdictions, tends to be rather polarized. Thus, it is not surprising to hear someone describe himself or herself as a “Bee for life” or a “Dem until the grave”.
Those who jump from party to party often make their move and then create a philosophy to justify their opportunism. We have had the cases of Mr Hamilton Lashley aligning himself with the DLP (Democratic Labour Pary), BLP (Barbados Labour Party) and, most significantly, PIP (party in power).
We have also had Rommell Marshall associated with the National Democratic Party, DLP and BLP. Having served with distinction as a minister in the BLP Government, Mr Marshall then openly canvassed against the Owen Arthur-led BLP in the 2013 general election, especially in the parishes of St Joseph and St Andrew. Now Mr Marshall is finding succour in the bosom of Miss Mottley’s BLP and, according to reports, offering himself as a possible candidate.
But, for Dr Agard, it would appear that every month is the cruellest –– not just April. And the constituency of Christ Church West –– if voting patterns remain consistent –– seems destined to be her wasteland. It seems unlikely there will be a mixing of memory and desire in her favour among her constituents, and she will be hard-pressed to inspire sufficient spring rain to stir dull roots.
But why should she be a victim of blood sport? Unlike the personages of the Lashleys, Marshalls and others, Dr Agard, prior to her expulsion, has been BLP from head to toe, from dental probes to retractors, from lasers to burs. She served faithfully as Dr Duguid’s assistant/constituency branch secretary; she worked on his behalf in the Christ Church West constituency; and during his frequent absences in Canada, Dr Agard, as is on record, was the face of his branch.
But in a situation that defies logic –– and the X mark of 2 288 adults –– Dr Agard finds herself a political pariah for questioning aspects of the constitution of the Christ Church West branch she once headed, and whose existence since 2013 should have been to support her personally, as well as assist her service of the constituency.
She also finds herself being a political pariah for daring publicly to defend herself in a still democratic country where freedom of speech is guaranteed as long as it does not infringe the rights of others. She finds herself as a political pariah, condemned by a questionable party process that though sub judice, its causation and denouement at the political level, appear to have been “settled” in Christ Church West with open canvassing and stated political intent.
Of course, those close to the BLP, as well as commentators with agendas secreted in plain sight, will welcome the return of Dr Duguid to the constituency. He brings two terms of experience to the table and, according to those in his political circles, not inconsiderable largesse to the BLP’s cause.
But lest we forget, Dr Agard is still the de jure political power in the constituency, and some may argue that until her court case is heard, she is possibly still the de facto BLP figure in the Christ Church West riding. But that is for the courts to decide, and hopefully a legal decision will be made before the next general election or –– by Barbadian standards –– earlier than 2030.
Though many might hold fast to the notion that politics is a blood sport, there is still justice to be sought and had among broken bones and gushing blood. Sir Salman Rushdie once said that there was no right in the world not to be offended.
He explained that the right simply did not exist.
In a free and open society people have strong opinions, and these opinions often clash; and in a democracy we have to learn to deal with this.
Sir Salman explained that we were not gods, but wounded creatures looking at life through cracked lenses and capable only of fractured perceptions.
No god passed judgment on Dr Maria Agard; none ever will.