The “hubris, arrogance and stubbornness” that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart continues to display despite growing evidence that Barbadians are fed up with his Government’s policies will cost the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in the next general election, according to one political scientist.
Speaking against the background of Monday’s demonstration organized by the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union, the Barbados Union of Teachers, the Barbados Workers’ Union and the National Union of Public Workers, in collaboration with the Barbados Private Sector Association, Dr George Belle said the turnout was a clear sign that Stuart was a liability to the DLP.
An estimated 20,000 people took part in the march in a bid to force Government to compromise on the burdensome National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), which climbed from two per cent of the custom value of imported goods and good manufactured here, to ten per cent, effective July 1.
“Those two characteristics [hubris and arrogance] can alienate people. Therefore. if you have a leader that is engaging in hubris, arrogance and stubbornness then he is a liability to the rest of the party in relation to how well they will do in any subsequent election,” Belle argued.
The retired political scientist said Monday’s demonstration was a clear sign that Barbadians had ignored the Prime Minister’s attempts to pour cold water on the march, when he suggested to a DLP Christ Church West branch luncheon on Sunday that the organizers had threatened social unrest.
“I think that we got an empirical demonstration of the rejection of the perception of reality in Barbados that is in the mind of the political leader of Government. The demonstration reinforces the voices of concern of segments of the society about current Government policies and what they are doing to the Barbadian people,” Belle stressed, adding that the strongest evidence of the rejection of the speech was that the march was peaceful.
Also weighing in on Monday’s march was political strategist Reudon Eversley, who told Barbados TODAY the turnout proved that Barbadians were no longer afraid to stand up and be counted.
“People have reached a point where they are no longer afraid, especially when they are suffering. I think that with the involvement of the private sector on Monday, the general populace would have been emboldened that they can really take a stand.”
Eversley warned that when Barbadians next go to the polls they would be voting in anger against the DLP.
Meanwhile, Professor Emeritus of Economics Michael Howard had some sympathy for Government, saying the administration was having a hard time meeting its financial commitments.
It is for this reason, he said, that the trade unions “should consider that Government does not have many options in terms of keeping public sector workers employed.
“They should think about the relationship between the National Social Responsibility Levy and the wages bill of the public sector. I do not think that was highlighted,” Howard said.