Over the past fourteen years or so – under the last Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration of Owen Arthur and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administrations of David Thompson and Freundel Stuart – Barbados has undergone a prolonged period of virtually unrelieved national hopelessness and despondency.
At the core of this dispiriting “wilderness experience” has been an abysmal lack of political, spiritual and social leadership. The simple truth is that the Barbadian people have been badly let down by their elected politicians; by their national Government; by the country’s religious establishment; and by many of the supposedly leading institutions of their civil society.
But perhaps the brunt of the blame has to be placed on the backs of the DLP administration that has governed this country since 2008 in that over a period of close to ten years, they have fed the Barbadian people with a message of national helplessness. Over and over again, the DLP administration has told our people that Barbados is in the grip of an international recession and that there is little or nothing that we can do about our predicament other than to gradually surrender the social benefits that previous generations had established for us by dint of their hard work, initiative and sacrifice.
And to make matters even worse, the Arthur/ Thompson/ Stuart administrations evinced an almost total abdication of the notion that the assuming of national political leadership meant taking upon one’s shoulders a sacred responsibility for the fundamental interests of the nation. This notion of politics being a vocation based on assuming responsibility for the “General Welfare” has been replaced with the idea that party politics is the arena to get involved in if one is in search of social advancement, celebrity status, becoming one of the “in crowd”, securing a good pension, or putting oneself in a position to acquire money and property.
And so, the negative experience of the past fourteen years has brought Barbados to its knees – psychologically, economically and culturally- and has placed us in the very precarious position of not having a national Government that we can look to for leadership or motivation! But, in the midst of all of this doom and gloom, I wish to suggest that Barbadians still possess an objective basis for hope and optimism about the future!
Our basis for hope and optimism resides in the fact that, in spite of all the negativity and destructiveness of the recent past, we Barbadians still possess such resources as a compact and relatively well organized society; a literate and relatively well educated population; an extensive communications infrastructure; a cohesive and distinctive culture; a relatively large stock of domestic savings and capital; a strategic geographical location; and a number of national economic resources and enterprises imbued with the potential for future development.
We therefore totally reject the DLP mantra of Barbados being a helpless society! On the contrary, Barbados possesses resources which – if properly organized and mobilized – can take us forward and upward as a nation, international recession or no international recession! There is no need for us to remain in a negative helpless posture of national hand-wringing and despondency! Rather, let us recognize that our salvation lies within our own hands, and that all that we need to do is to organize ourselves and our national resources for social and economic production!
It is against this background that the Clement Payne Movement presents the core of our Vision for Barbados in the following Twelve “Bajan” Principles:-
Our objective is to transform Barbados into :
(1) a conscious, self-aware society that is possessed of a deep and profound knowledge of its History ;
(2) a nation that — in light of its history of experiencing, resisting, and surviving the most horrendous forms of enslavement and colonialism– consciously regards itself as a Champion of the dignity of Black or African people and of the interconnected principles and causes of human liberty and national sovereignty, and that exerts itself to promote, defend and foster these values all over the world;
(3) a society that is consciously organized to produce the most educationally and culturally advanced national population on this earth;
(4) a country whose national education system is designed not merely to nurture academic ability, but also to develop the capabilities of the people to feed themselves, clothe themselves, construct and maintain their own homes, engage in preventative health care, express and generate their own national culture, and to exhibit self-confidence and self-reliance in both thought and deed;
(5) a society in which the nation’s financial and capital resources are focused on the establishment and maintenance of institutions and programmes of educational, scientific, artistic, sports-based, and other forms of cultural and human development (inclusive of the provision of comprehensive health, housing and nutrition facilities and mechanisms) for the mass of the population rather than on individual conspicuous consumption, and also on supporting and financing the entrepreneurial initiatives of the people;
(6) a highly productive society that strives to make the act of work so creative, meaningful and rewarding that productive work comes to be conceived of as the Citizen’s highest activity, and the productive worker comes to be regarded as the pre-eminent social hero and national “celebrity”;
(7) a country in which the fundamental national developmental policy is centred upon the notion of Barbadians assuming the primary responsibility for establishing, owning and running the productive enterprises of their own country, and basing such productive enterprises squarely upon the advanced educational, cultural and human development that the people of Barbados attain as a national population;
(8) a society in which the fundamental parameters and principles of national and governmental policy are set, maintained, policed and enforced by a politically conscious, aware and activist mass population (that truly understands and accepts the sacred Mission that their history has bequeathed to them), and that conceives of governmental administrations as mere temporary and limited trustees of the sovereign power of the people;
(9) a nation in which the eradication and avoidance of corruption and unearned privileged treatment in both the public and private spheres are regarded as fundamental civic duties;
(10) a society that protects and fosters all positive facets of its unique national culture, with the understanding that by so doing it is creating a source of and a foundation for national self-respect, self-confidence, self-reliance, and unity;
(11) a country that subscribes to the concept of the “Permanent Revolution”, in that the people come to conceive of “development” as autonomous or self-driven movement, inclusive of the autonomous confronting and overcoming of obstacles, contradictions or problems by themselves, for themselves, and in their own unique manner; and
(12) a society in which the people understand that nothing will be given to them on a platter, and that in order to achieve the foregoing objectives they will have to exhibit self-belief and initiative, and engage in struggle and effort — constantly sustained by a spiritual faith and optimism in an ultimate destiny that will see the triumph and reign of truth , justice , brotherhood, and beauty.