Political newcomer Solutions Barbados has dismissed concerns that the imminent general election campaign could descend into violence, pouring scorn on a warning yesterday by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler that things could get out of hand.
Speaking in Parliament on the Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill 2017, introduced by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart “to ensure that specified provisions of the Act are applicable to the rules, regulations and orders made in accordance with the Act”, Sinckler said there were people here who used social media to abuse others.
And noting that the election was due shortly, he warned that, “violence will rear its ugly head in the coming campaign”.
However, Grenville Phillips II, political leader of Solutions Barbados, said this morning that the abuse to which Sinckler referred was nothing new.
In fact, Phillips suggested, the two main political parties, the governing Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), were like two peas in the same pod, and enjoyed throwing insults at each other.
“All this rhetoric is mild. This is how it normally is because at the end of the day they may be from different houses but that they are from same school. The Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party are all the same and they are accustomed to talking to each other like that. They call it the cut and thrust of politics. This is normal,” Phillips told Barbados TODAY.
In his presentation yesterday, Sinckler qualified his statement by saying that any election violence would happen only “if the people who are responsible for leading these political parties . . . do not make it abundantly clear to their supporters . . . that there is a line beyond which they should not cross”.
“I know what I am talking about,” he affirmed.
But in an apparent bid to absolve his party of violent tendencies, and even as he stated that the violence could be provoked by “people on both ends of the spectrum . . . if you do not control them”, the Member of Parliament for St Michael North West also asserted that he was confident that his own leader would not allow such lack of control within the DLP.
However, Phillips today brushed off this assertion, charging that neither of the two main parties would dare advise the “yard fowls protecting their territory” to stop this practice.
And while seeking to make it clear that Solutions Barbados would not engage in “that foolishness”, he said the DLP and the BLP would have little difficulty destroying the reputation of newcomers like him.
“Neither the BLP nor DLP will go and talk to their supporters and tell them stop this foolishness because these yard fowls will do anything for them because they are receiving spillage from the trough when the politicians feed. So some of the yard fowls are very extreme and they will destroy the professional reputation of someone like me and think nothing of it. I have a 25-year professional reputation and these yard fowls will think nothing to destroy it,” Phillips said.
The political neophyte also sought to separate his party from the others, insisting that Solutions Barbados would be held to a much higher standard.
“I treasure my professional reputation too much to waste it by going into the gutter by calling politicians names. You are not going to hear me on any platform doing that foolishness and I will hold the members of this party accountable, he stressed.