The 2018 election will provide a watershed occasion in the annals of voting in our country since the introduction of the two-party system and the evolution of modern Democratic processes to advance the interest of the masses.
The 1986 General Election was a similar watershed, when the voting power of Barbadians was expressed like an unstoppable wave to oust a government which was seen as not representing the best interest of the ordinary man and woman.
Unfortunately, the Sandiford Administration was undermined by the impact of a massive global economic crisis, and a rupture in the unity of a party which had formally been shaped by the late Rt Excellent Errol Walton Barrow.
History will confirm that Prime Minister Lloyd Erskine Sandiford was the leader with the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the combined might of the IMF and the local maguffies in the Labour Movement and the controllers of capital to shape an IMF programme which led to the stabilization of and the restructuring of the local economy.
Sandiford was the butt of all kinds of “cultural” attacks including his speech, his glasses, his attitude, all “coded” manifestations of retentions of our slave society. Sandiford’s principled stance on stabilization and reform created a platform for a resurgent economy between 1993 and 2007, after which the most massive economic recession the world had seen started to manifest its worse effects on the local economy.
The BLP administration between 1994 and 2008 was led by an outsider to the BLP dynastic cadres, tolerated only for his vaunted economic leadership. The reality is that this country was not able to withstand the shocks between 2008 and now, because the Sandiford Reforms were squandered. That was recognized by the electorate of 2008, and 2013, but has to be stressed again.
By the end of the Arthurian period, there was no Camelot period for Barbados! The prime authoritative document to attest the failure of the BLP was a Strategic Plan crafted by the reputable Sir Courtney Blackman, which was relegated to file 13, and hidden from the public.
By the time the BLP left Government, a pattern of wanton borrowing, building up foreign reserves by that borrowing, but not from earnings, spending on capital projects that were not earning foreign exchange, but would represent future burdens emerged: the Barrack building; Dodds prison, and the Supreme Court building came to mind.
Under the Owen Arthur administration the IMF institutionalised itself in CARTAC, yet its presence and advice did not prevent downgrades to the Barbados currency first started in the Owen Arthur administration.
Arthur never had the full support of the dynasts of the Barbados Labour Party. Politicians like Bernard St John, Henry Forde, (Now Sir Henry), Richard Cheltenham ( Now Sir Richard) Billie Miller, Liz Thompson never really warmed to Arthur. This was the root of Arthur’s politics of inclusion, and his firing of many of the members of his Cabinet, some of whom should have retired from politics years ago and stayed.
Arthur adopted an interesting strategy in dealing with Mia Mottley, in his view, the leading dynast among his politicians. He elevated her and then ruthlessly took her down. In this he was ably supported by henchmen like George Payne, Glyne Clarke and others. But the dynasty persisted intent on putting in place a descendant of the Mottley dynasty.
We are unsure of which dynasty, the Miller dynasty or the Mottley dynasty feel they can help the foundering fortunes of Colonel Bostic, a member of a prominent DLP supporting family. Dame Billie Miller’s recent action in putting party fortunes first before showing institutional and systemic loyalty to the Electoral and Boundaries Commission is a classic example of the behaviour of dynasts.
The brutal political assassination of Owen Arthur, the autocratic ouster of Maria Agard, as well as the ouster of David Gill and the retreat of Lynette Eastmond are all part of the attempt to foist Dynastic hegemony on the people of Barbados.
This goes together with the strategic imperative of “doing a Sandiford” on the Rt Honourable Freundel Jerome Stuart. Hoyos, an affiliate of a family that was a prop to the Adams dynasty branded him a “ do little” and in spite of a Facts Campaign, hopes that there are Barbadians who don’t understand his “cultural” bias.
But let understand here and now! The Rt Hon Freundel Stuart and his party represent the meritocracy which has developed since the 1940’s in Barbados. They place themselves before the electorate based on their qualifications, professional experience, commitment to egalitarianism, and hard work.
In this watershed election of 2018, the meritocracy will whitewash the dynasts and their foot soldiers on the level playing field of a modern democracy. As the Dynasts gather: the Belles, Simmons, Symmonds, Commissiongs, Clarkes, Cools, will have to wheel and come again.
The role of dynasts in Barbadian politics in 2018 has passed: dynasts are like dodos and dynosaurs. We are in the age of the meritocracy.
Today we are witnessing the fulfilment of the evolution of the Lloyd Smiths, Da Costa Edwards, Neville Prophet Boxhill and others come to fruition.
The Rt Hon Freundel Stuart and the DLP stand for meritocracy and democracy. The opposing side stand for “ cultural perpetuation”, classism, privilege and entitlement.
Each voter will have to ask the question: “ What is your mirror image of yourself?”
Robert ‘Bobby’ Morris
Democratic Labour Party