The idea of a political party made up exclusively of businessmen and businesswomen is the “most ridiculous, reactionary and counterproductive” notion in Barbados’ history, according to social and political activist David Comissiong.
The island’s newest political party, Solutions Barbados — which said it has confirmed 14 candidates so far and has promised a full slate of 30 by the time general election is called — has said on its website: “If you have operated a business for at least five years with at least two employees, then consider being a Solutions Barbados candidate.”
Comissiong today made a mockery of the idea, telling Barbados TODAY placing the country’s affairs exclusively in the hands of the merchant class would spell “the greatest potential to bankrupt and destroy” the nation.
“You cannot reduce the political management of a society to simple decisions taken by businessmen and based on narrow profit and loss, dollars and cents criteria that businessmen typically apply to their business affairs. That kind of approach is sociologically reactionary, undemocratic and indeed flies in the face of the whole history of Barbados, which is a history of the masses of working class people striving to resist business interests and oppressive policies inflicted by business interests in an effort to protect their social and economic rights and their human dignity,” the attorney-at-law said.
In any event, Comissiong said, the situation was bad enough with business leaders “in cahoots” with the political leaders to the disadvantage of the general population.
“The reality is that the fundamental problem that we have in the political culture of Barbados is that a class of businessmen and women are in cahoots with the political directorate to an extent that the political directorate lavishes upon them outrageously privileged governmental contracts in a situation of almost zero transparency. In some cases the contracts bind the taxpayers of Barbados to make inordinately large and unjustified payments to these business entities sometimes for decades into the future.”
Comissiong maintained that any political party must embrace a wide cross section of the population, including representatives of the working class, culture, intellectuals and business.
“It cannot have such a socially restrictive base as to be consigned simply to business people and persons who evince the kind of thinking that is associated with the business class,” he explained.
The activist dismissed Solutions Barbados as a
non-starter, suggesting the party might have been formed to subvert the very idea of a third party.
Asked if his People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) would be active in the next general election due in 2018, Comissiong spoke of the party’s ideal, but would not commit to running.
“The PEP exists. We have developed an economic and social programme to take Barbados forward. That programme exists. It has been written down. At this stage I cannot tell you whether the party will be contesting seats in the general elections, but I can assure the Barbadian people that they will be hearing from the PEP whenever the next elections are called,” he stressed.