‘Tis the season to be jolly,” a well-known carol reminds us. ‘Tis also the season, in true reflection of the Christmas spirit, when peace is supposed to reign on earth and goodwill extended to all men (and women).
In keeping with this tradition, it was my intention, from this week through to the end of the year, to take a break from commenting on contentious political issues, unless, of course, a pressing need arose.
Regrettably, today I must deal frontally and clinically with what seems to be a case of Democratic Labour Party (DLP)-inspired mischief. As Mark Twain posited, “a lie gets halfway around the world before truth puts on its boots.”
Twice in the past month, a DLP-aligned nitwit, whose well-known but seemingly fabricated name is associated with fighting futile online battles for the regime, has sought to smear and discredit your humble servant.
The trigger was columns, including last week’s, highlighting the regime’s abysmal performance managing the country’s affairs. They powerfully resonated with readers and last week’s dealing with the south coast sewage fiasco went viral.
O how the truth hurts! Having spent two decades in the bosom of the DLP, I am not only familiar with their dirty tricks but also their deep-seated fears, insecurities and mode of thinking, especially when they see themselves under siege.
With an approaching general election, my tell-it-like-it-is approach to political commentary is obviously a source of great discomfort. So, by portraying me as ungrateful and seeking to make my integrity an issue, the cowardly hack is desperately hoping to divert attention from his dear regime’s many failings.
Obviously referring to my highly publicized run-in with former Prime Minister Owen Arthur when I was editor of the Advocate, the charge was made that following my premature departure, I was “down and out” and eventually had to be “rescued” by this DLP Government.
“You are a fine example of why you should not always help a man when he is down and out,” the unsophisticated mischief merchant responded to last week’s column. “The Barbados Labour Party tried its best to bury you and your family. The Democratic Labour Party rescued you and now you are biting the hand that fed you.”
Responding to the earlier column, the same clandestine operative commented: “Is this the same Reudon Eversley that the Democratic Labour Party Govt. had to rescue and give him a decent job so that he could put food on his table and he didn’t have to starve to death?”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike others, I have not received a piece of the DLP’s “fatted calf” which, by now, has to be only skin and bones. I came to DLP politics, at the request of David Thompson, looking to serve and make a contribution to Barbados, with no motivation for personal gain.
I resigned from the DLP on July 9, 2014 because I was not happy with its direction and treatment of Barbadians. Peeved DLP detractors may say I am “full of myself”, which is how they describe my strong self-confidence and sense of purpose, but no one can honestly accuse me of being a thief or engaging in corrupt practices that brought the party into disrepute.
Were I driven by selfish motives, I could have easily stayed, turned a blind eye to what was happening and prospered. Around the time I left, I was reportedly under consideration for a diplomatic posting by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart. What reportedly changed his mind was a year-end political analysis which I wrote for this paper that was critical of his leadership and the regime’s performance.
I left the Advocate at the end of 1999. Seriously, if I had to wait for the next eight years to be rescued by the DLP after it won the 2008 general election, I might have been dead by then. But far from being “down and out”, I was doing quite well and living happily elsewhere.
In late 2000, after difficulty finding employment which is the price one often pays for standing up for principle in Barbados, I moved to St Lucia and worked for almost four years with the Kenny Anthony administration which showed great appreciation for my contribution.
St Lucia provided an opportunity for deep reflection on Barbados, life in general and the experience helped me to determine what really mattered. I experienced a spiritual rebirth that resulted in the adoption of a new, more wholesome attitude and outlook. For this, fair Helen will always have a special place in my heart.
At David Thompson’s request, I agreed to serve as communications director on the DLP’s 2008 general election campaign. He publicly recognized my contribution to the DLP’s victory, singling me out by name along with Hartley Henry and a few others, in his triumphant address to the DLP’s 2008 annual conference.
However, within three weeks of the DLP assuming office, I packed my bags and left for the Cayman Islands to take up the position of communication consultant to the Cabinet. A pre-election understanding, reached one Sunday morning at his Mapps, St Philip home, was not kept by David. He offered something else — deputy high commissioner to London – but I declined on principle and decided thereupon to take up the far more lucrative Cayman offer.
Is this the behaviour of someone who was “down and out?” I remained in Cayman for just over one year and a half. Shortly after returning, David invited me to a meeting at Ilaro Court. He disclosed plans to create a new state media entity through an amalgamation of CBC, the Government Information Service and the Audio Visual Aids Department. He wanted me to play a key role and I agreed.
Two months later, Richard “Bucky” Cox, then Director of News and Current Affairs at CBC, passed away. David then asked if I could fill this void in the interim while he proceeded with the plan for establishing the new state media entity. Unfortunately, David fell ill early the following year (2010) and the rest is history.
Those are the facts. So the ill-informed mischief-maker’s claim is utter rubbish if he is referring to the CBC position as “the decent job” the DLP came to my rescue with. Though I was more than suitably qualified, being head of news at CBC was no big deal. The real icing on the cake in my journalism career was being appointed as Director of News and Current Affairs with the Caribbean News Agency (CANA), which was lauded globally as a model for developing countries.
I voluntarily resigned from CBC in May 2013 because it was proving a waste of my time. It is impossible to practice genuine journalism at CBC. News essentially is about what Government ministers say and do, whether DLP or BLP.
Just recently, I lamented in this column that one of my biggest disappointments about Barbados relates to the absence of a level of political maturity commensurate with our half century as a sovereign, independent nation. The specific reference was to the childishness and pettiness which are so often evident in political discussion where the emphasis is on scurrilous attacks on persons whose perspective on issues just happens to be different.
So many reputations have been ruined through the peddling of salacious untruths which go unchallenged and come to be accepted as truth over time as a result of constant repetition. As a practitioner of creative confrontation, I will not allow myself to be defined by such mischief, especially by an ungrateful DLP.
(Reudon Eversley is a political strategist, strategic communication specialist and longstanding journalist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)