Within the last week eligible voters have had two more election manifestos – arguable the two most important in this election – to feast on.
After the Mia Mottley-led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) released its 70-page glossy publication to the public in an ostentacious presentation at Kingsland, Christ Church a week ago, the incumbent Freundel Stuart-led Democratic Labour Party (DLP) followed suit last night with a less elaborate Oistins launch of its 56-page promissory document.
To say we were impressed with either document would be to lie. In fact, neither gives credit to the decision by our founding father Errol Walton Barrow to afford for us all free education from primary to tertiary level.
For while on the one hand, the BLP, which is already claiming victory in the May 24 poll, is promising utopia, which clearly does not exist, it is equally hard for the DLP to expect right-thinking Barbadians to “stand strong” under their onerous policies which they have meted out over the past ten years and to reward their shortcomings with another five years in office.
So what is the best choice for us to make in these circumstances?
Prime Minister Stuart spoke passionately last night during the DLP’s manifesto launch about the need for Barbadians to go out and vote and not to opt out of what may be the most critical decision they will ever have to make. We can fully appreciate his desire to have us all rush out on May 24 to cast our ballots, given the well documented struggle of our forefathers to gain for us this right which by no means was handed to us as any “entitlement”.
Indeed, few could fault his argument that we working class Barbadians in particular, have no feeling of entitlement which is why there is always a Rihanna-like feeling whenever someone of humble beginnings like us is able by the sweat of their brow, to rise above all prejudices to take their rightful place at the top.
With that said. This election isn’t only about that.
More importantly, it is about the economy, stupid!
So for those of us who do not smoke pot, it must be asked, ‘what is in it for us, Mr Prime Minister in terms of a prosperous future under the Democratic Labour Party, when all that can be said to those who are currently choking under the vice grip of the National Social Responsibility Levy is that “tax relief will be provided as the economy is diversified and achieves robust growth”?’
Is this not what we have been hearing consistently for the last decade while our bank accounts dwindle, our mortgages run into high arrears and our cupboards run bare? Will the pain and suffering ever end for us, or are we confined to living in the contracted state of austerity that has been Barbados since 2008.
With that said, we abhor anyone who seeks to belittle our intelligence.
Therefore, if the DLP’s document is to be dismissed, as the BLP would have us do as “a joke”, then their manifesto – filled as it is with incredible promises – must be an entire David Copperfield show.
Abracadabra! We have an immediate economic fix, with all the manna you could imagine falling down from Heaven.
We think not, Ms Mottley!
The road ahead will of necessity be a difficult one for all us, even if we are now allowed at the end of a long, hard day to freely smoke weed as a means of de-stressing.
We can only pray to God that that decision does not backfire on us socially.
As to how we should vote come May 24?
There is really no answer to be had from any of these two manifestos.
In fact, were it not for our own slavish connections to either Party A and B, we would by now be seriously considering an Option C that does not seek to take any of us for granted.