Over the past few weeks Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has seemingly taken more decisions than he did for his entire seven plus years at the helm of Government, putting paid to the widely held view of him as a “sleeping giant”.
It all started just after Christmas with the announcement that Justice Sandra Mason was to be appointed Governor General to replace Sir Elliott Belgrave, who had retired on June 30 last year.
Surprising as it was, it was such a fitting appointment that not even Opposition Leader Mia Mottley could afford to publicly bat a dissenting eyebrow, after sternly warning a few weeks prior that she would be not be bound by any “inopportune or improper” decisions made in the “dying days” of the Stuart administration should the Barbados Labour Party win the next election.
Quickly after, a female DPP was appointed and then a female CARICOM envoy, as former ambassador Robert Bobby Morris quietly handed over his regional workload and went to work in the background with Stuart and the rest of the inner circle of the DLP on a strategy for winning back the Government.
Ironically, with every female appointment that was being made, it also seemed to raise the spectra of the island removing the final vestige of male political domination by electing its first female prime minister.
However, while the Mia Mottley-led Opposition Barbados Labour Party has been busy shouting from every street corner that that time has surely come, it is clear that the Stuart-led DLP sees a totally different destiny for Ms Mottley.
One would recall Mr Stuart’s declaration as few years ago that he trusted embattled former CLICO chairman Leroy Parris more than he trusted “the member for St Michael North East”.
Since then, Ms Mottley has been attacked left, right and centre by none other than the capricious Dr Denis Lowe, with Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler also sounding the warning two years ago the next election would be fought on moral grounds.
“I am going to speak about the economy, but I want to make this point very clear tonight . . . you can’t have an election and not discuss the economy, that is a given fact. But I know, in my mind, if it is not in other people’s minds, that the next election is also going to be fought for the moral heart of this country,” Sinckler had declared to loud applause during a DLP political meeting at the Deighton Griffith Secondary School, while warning the Opposition BLP not to pop the cork on the victory champagne just yet.
The St Michael North West representative had also cautioned that there were “[political] forces gathering that have a particular agenda to impose on the people of Barbados and it was not the agenda that you or I or that our parents and our children and that right thinking people in Barbados want or can afford at this time in the 50th year of our independence”.
And in a naked appeal to the religious element, Sinckler, who incidentally was the one behind the recent Donnie McClurkin mega concert at Kensington Oval, had said: “The discourse in this election, whenever it is called, will have to be about the morals of Barbados, because if they [Opposition political forces] feel that many of us good Christian soldiers are going to roll over and play dead, whilst they rampage around Barbados and bring their form of thinking to this country, they have another thing coming.”
With that said, the major DLP strategy of late involves heavy pandering to particular interest groups.
This would explain why Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashey can find money at this stage to repair roads in his political compadre Richard Sealy’s St Michael South Central constituency, but suggest to residents in Dark Hole, St Joseph, where the road has all but fully caved in, that they will have to wait to hear when something can be done for them.
The same with residents of White Hill, St Andrew whose collapsed road situation that has left them virtually cut off from the rest of civilization for the past years is as politically sickening as the sewage stink along the south coast.
But alas! It is certain interest groups that matter.
Therefore, last Friday’s announcement by Mr Sinckler in Parliament that over 3,000 people, including about 500 from his St Michael North West constituency, would now be “empowered from just tenants to the concept of homeowners” comes as no surprise.
Equally unsurprising was Mr Stuart’s revelation last weekend that thousands of public servants who have been working for three years or more would receive their official appointments by March 1, mere days before the life of Parliament is set to expire, unless the election is called earlier.
Just today, the Estimates were also laid in Parliament opening the gate for more political largess in the coming weeks.
But is this not all a little too late? Time will tell.