The Roman Catholic Church is of the view that Barbados and the Caribbean lack the leadership required for the forward movement this region needs.
And it has cited a need for those at the top to return to the “fundamental principles” that once inspired the region’s people.
That critique, by Bishop of Bridgetown Dr Jason Gordon, was delivered at Sunday worship in St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Members and supporters of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) were in attendance at the start of a weeklong observance of the party’s 78th anniversary.
“The Caribbean today is not only short of a robust economic and development strategy; it is also short of visionary leadership rooted deep within our Caribbean bellies,” said Bishop Gordon in a message read on his behalf by Cathedral Administrator Father Charles Dominique, as he was off island.
“Our Caribbean leaders have opted out of following their vision, preferring to follow the dominant trends in the world’s political economy today, such as accumulation of wealth as a priority over the worker; and national development as a priority over development of the family and the community.”
Bishop Gordon also said there was an urgent need for a new political model “which bravely faces the reality of the Caribbean and world political economy while charting a course of development for our people”.
Prior to reading Dr Gordon’s message, Fr Charles served up his own wake-up call, this time directly to the BLP’s leadership.
“Your anniversary of Founder’s Day is not about you alone, however; it’s really about all of us Barbadians, and even the people of the region who are affected by the words of your founders,” the Catholic priest said.
Fr Charles said despite a difference in time from the 1937/38 period when conditions gave rise to the formation of the BLP, the challenges facing Barbadian people and society today were similar.
“As a nation, Barbados has made lots of progress over the past 78 years, but some of the struggles remain the same. We must still continue to fight for equal rights, social justice, economic advancement of our people.”
He recalled: “The founders of your party, under the leadership of Sir Grantley Adams, saw the conditions that Barbadians were living in and sought to bring about change so that Barbadians could feel a real input into the direction and development of this nation, so that they could all have a better life, and we are still striving for that”.
“Every Barbadian must feel that their voice is heard in the democratic process, and our leaders, the Shepherd, must lead the sheep to safety,” Fr Charles urged. (GA)