I trust and hope that everyone enjoyed some aspect of the festivities put on for our recent 50th Anniversary of Independence celebrations.
I don’t have the statistics immediately available but I think November 2016 has to be the wettest November I can remember for some time. If it was indeed the wettest, then perhaps that might also mean that there is no longer a drought facing Barbados. Therefore, the water issues that have plagued Barbados over the past year will quickly be resolved since there is now water in abundance.
Whilst the pomp and pageantry at Government House, Ilaro Court, St Ann’s Fort and Kensington Oval were in full swing, communities like Wotton in Christ Church, especially Cherry Wood Circle, were busy assessing damage caused by pre-Independence Day flood waters, as was also the case last May Day.
It was clear for much of this year that the Government was focused only on the Independence celebrations and there was no issue that affected Barbadians that could have possibly made them lose sight of that focus. In essence, no water, then buss luck.
Funnily enough, buses then buss luck too. Garbage piling up across the country then buss luck. Roads literally deteriorating before our eyes, buss luck. Raw sewage flowing in the streets, buss luck. However, every morning at sunrise, we all knew how many days were left until the 50th anniversary of Independence.
Over the course of the last week since Independence, a number of persons have been asking when elections are due. When they are informed that the next elections actually are constitutionally due in 2018, there is an immediate expression of despair where almost man for man and woman for woman express the following: “Cheese on bread! Yuh mean we have another year with these fellas”.
It is somewhat uncanny that these views are openly expressed in such a uniform manner. I try to offer some solace by indicating that elections can be called anytime between now and when they are constitutionally due and so the torturous ride we’re currently on need not last as long as we think it might be.
I must admit that this doesn’t seem to raise their spirits but the response usually IS that the Prime Minister “gine call um when he feel like it”. In the meantime, the rest of us grin and bear the neglect being meted out by Freundel Stuart and his government.
So, as we all start preparing for this Yuletide Season and we reflect on this past year and the things we’d like to do in 2017, I want you to focus on the following.
Do not lose heart or hope because of the inability of a few people who have betrayed the public trust. We must resolve that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated any longer and that we, the people, will hold to account any person seeking to perpetuate such.
We are all victims in this malaise, yet at the same time we have become willing participants by our lack of action. Silence has always been consent and so our collective silence has given Freundel Stuart and the members of his administration the confidence to continue to look after their political interests at the expense of the people.
Economic systems are by their nature quantifiable and so metrics are often used to show performance. Credibility and trust, however, are two key elements that significantly impact economic systems but are somewhat intangible and not easily measurable. Without them, systems crumble and it appears as if things are literally falling apart right before our very eyes.
It is a difficult thing to ask people to hold strain but I would like for you over this holiday season to reflect on why you and yours deserve better representation and what that looks like. We must first believe again that Barbados is worth fighting for and therefore we must fight for each other. We must root out
mediocrity and incompetence and not accept them in any form.
As we move into 2017 with the expectations that a new year generally brings, let me remind you that the life of the 2013-2018 Parliament is coming to an end. Its first session commenced on Wednesday March 6, 2013 and so its dissolution will be sometime between today and March 6, 2018.
With that, I am happy to inform you that there are at most 452 days before Barbadians get the opportunity to decide the fate of Freundel Stuart and his Democratic Labour Party government.
(Ryan Straughn is an UWI Cave Hill and Central Bank of Barbados trained economist and the endorsed Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate for Christ Church East Central.