Flying under the radar this week was a story of serious internal strife within one of the political parties that has declared its intention to contest the May 24 general election.
The story got some coverage, but very little traction, although the reasons for the apparent lack of interest remain unclear. Clearly, it was not because the party did a great job of smothering it, since Barbados TODAY found out, after all, and broke the story. More likely, it is because Barbadian voters have made up their minds that about Solutions Barbados and the other so-called third parties.
It emerged this week that a number of Solutions Barbados candidates had tendered letters of resignation to the party’s leader, Grenville Phillips II, for a rather curious reason.
Mr Phillips admitted to Barbados TODAY that these candidates were unhappy with a clause in the contracts which they signed, seemingly quite some time ago, that could cost them rather hefty sums if they go against the party’s principles.
“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 okay. There are several political parties that they can join. The ones we have with us are those who agreed to be accountable.
“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,” he said.
There, Mr Phillips sounded like a man of principle, who believes in accountability and is prepared to defend his principles against all odds. On this he is not about to bow, or, as the Chinese proverb says, if you bow, bow low. This he will not do. Not on the issue of accountability, not on the issue of transparency, not on the issue of corruption.
However, what the Solutions Barbados leader said next was quite instructive.
“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 a penalty.”
This is an awful lot to chew upon. It suggests, first of all, that the very Solutions Barbados candidates who signed a contract in order to contest have suddenly realized what they have signed and want out. In essence, they are prepared to renege on an agreement with their party leader, even before the poll. Can we trust them, therefore, to keep any promises made to us, should they win the election? What will they do when it strikes them that they will have to write off every debt owed to Government, as they have repeatedly promised to whomsoever would listen? Will they come up with some excuse? When it strikes them that a ten per cent flat tax simple cannot work, will they tax us some more? Since it was their own finances on the line when they signed the contract with the party, are we to conclude that when their businesses are at risk they will seek to abandon us?
However, these are not our worst fears. Mr Phillips made reference to these candidate wanting “the corruption and the mismanagement that the other parties have perfected over the past years”, and should this happen there must be a penalty.
Does this mean they pay a penalty, but remain in his administration? What if they work out that it is more profitable to pay the fine?
Understandably, Solutions Barbados has not come in for much scrutiny, mainly because we are concentrating on the two established political parties, while overlooking the so-called third parties.
But Mr Phillips wants us to take him and his party seriously and to give them a chance to run our affairs for the next five years.
Therefore, if he is serious, he must make an emphatic statement by clearing the party now of those whom he suggested would have preferred the corruption. We are not quite sure how many of the 27 confirmed candidates threatened to resign over the contract.
Still, he would begin to earn our respect if he goes with a much smaller group of honest men and women who keep to their word and their responsibilities to the country, than 27 whom we cannot trust.
If he does not dismiss them now, Mr Phillips will forgive us if we view Solutions Barbados as an untrustworthy and unserious collection of people.