A former University of the West Indies (UWI) professor is predicting further “fallout” among the newer political parties by the time the general election is called.
Staying away from naming anyone, retired Professor of Social and Medical History Pedro Welch told Barbados TODAY a lot of the newer political parties were simply “parties of opportunity” that had yet to determine their ideologies.
“It is clear to me that in some cases some of the new political appearances of these various parties suggest that they have not really sorted out their philosophies and ideologies as correctly as they could.
“I heard the news this morning of a debate over whether people should be permitted to join other parties, but as far as I am concerned that matter should be settled long before. I think the leader of that party ought to bite the bullet and withdraw the requirement. That is something that can be sought out later,” Welch said in an apparent reference to Solutions Barbados, which has been experiencing internal strife of late.
Barbados TODAY broke the news yesterday that the three-year-old Grenville Phillips II-led party had been threatened with resignations over the weekend over “a specific clause” in the candidates’ contracts.
Philips confirmed the internal row, telling Barbados TODAY: “There are people who say I would like to be a candidate, I like your policies, but I don’t want that level of accountability and that is OK. There are several political parties that they can join. The ones we have with us are those who agreed to be accountable.”
He added that “at the start of Solutions Barbados the standard of accountability was that everyone signed a contract where they pay a severe financial penalty if they don’t vote for the resolutions that they have agreed to when they joined us.
“If they decided now that they want the corruption and the mismanagement that the other parties have perfected over the past years, then there must be a penalty. We can’t have people deciding we want the corruption now so we are going to vote for it. If they do that, there will be penalty,” he stressed.
Earlier this month the Lynette Eastmond-led United Progressive Party (UPP) was rocked by a resignation from Linda Field, who was due to contest the St Lucy seat in the upcoming general election, due here by early June.
Field reportedly jumped ship to join the Mia Mottley-led Barbados Labour Party (BLP), and veteran political scientist Peter Wickham had predicted further defections from the UPP before the poll.
He had contended that the party had been formed out of hatred for the BLP leader, and argued it would fail to hold on to many of its candidates if it did not change its raison d´etre.
Welch shared similar views today, telling Barbados TODAY while he could not predict the future, “I don’t expect them to survive much past this election”.
“Many parties who came up emerged really out of the current problems facing the Barbados economy and in some cases are what I call parties of opportunity, and in some cases the philosophical preparation that needs to be undertaken has not been taken.
“I can’t speak about what will happen in the future but that is where they are. So I expect that you will get some more fallout before the [election] . . . because anytime you have an institution that hasn’t yet worked out the raison d´etre of its existence it will sooner, rather than later, fall apart,” the former UWI deputy principal said.
Welch, who spent time in several other Caribbean countries, said despite its economic difficulties, the country had progressed under successive administrations over the years.
“As far as I am concerned Barbados has done well, notwithstanding the current problems that the economy is facing. The fact remains that the social welfare networks still exist. People are still getting free medical treatment at the [Queen Elizabeth] Hospital, people are still getting welfare payments [and] they are still getting their social security.
“I am saying that yes, there are those people who might say the Government hasn’t worked, but those who say that have not been observing what I have been observing. I am not saying the Government has done the best that possibly could have been done, but one has to find out why,” he explained.
He said although his mother, former Member of Parliament Dame Maizie Barker-Welch, was a “strong member of the DLP” he has “no political party affiliation”.
“Some people may take my statement that I have a particular support but I have voted on both sides of the political divide,” he said.