The image of politics as “nasty”, “sordid” and the battlefield of dishonest people is turning young people away from the profession, a former candidate for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is charging.
Delivering the weekly DLP lunchtime lecture at the party’s George Street, Belleville, St Michael headquarters today, Derek Alleyne said while many young people wanted a change to the current state of politics, they were turned off by the dishonesty and nastiness involved.
“[There was a perception that politics is] a nasty game, that it was a sordid game, that it was something that honest people should not take seriously,” Alleyne said in his presentation on Politics, Politicians: Public Perception and Realities.
Despite this perception, the unsuccessful DLP candidate in the 1994 and 1999 general elections was of the view that parents should encourage their children to get involved in politics.
“We do not encourage our kids to get involved . . . and I know that [among] some of the kids of the former ministers there is a perception that they get battered so much as children and see the way their parents are treated and things that are said about them that they get turned off,” he explained.
However, the director of the Urban Development Commission warned the alternative was people without character and those whose only interest was getting in power.
“If we leave it to those people we will get worse and the quality of politicians will continue to receive the same [bad] reviews,” he said.
Alleyne contended that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had discounted all those perceptions by his “exemplary” behaviour and was a role model for the youth, adding Stuart was not quick to make statements “without consequentially thinking about what the future holds”.
And while he said there were a number of other exemplary officials within the DLP administration, Alleyne declined to name anyone else.
“In Prime Minister Stuart we have a politician of exemplary class, taste, fashion and behaviour and I think all of us should be proud to have Freundel Stuart as Prime Minister of Barbados,” Alleyne declared.
“For the first time in a long while we have a Prime Minister who no one can speak of tyranny, who no one can accuse of any wrongdoing, whose life is an example for any young man or young woman, who carries himself with distinction.” The former labour union official also used the opportunity to question the readiness of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) for the upcoming general election constitutionally due next year.
Alleyne said while declaring it was ready with “a handful of economists and a handful of nobodies” the BLP was faced with the challenge of losing key people such as former Prime Minister Owen Arthur and Dr Maria Agard.
Stressing that each constituency was different, Alleyne also called on Barbadians to stop chastising politicians for not visiting their communities, stating this was something that was done when people did not have televisions or when there were no constituency offices.