Results of the last general election apart, there were moments in the lead up to the May 24 poll when we would have hoped that for the good of our democracy, at least one of the so-called third parties that presented themselves for Government would have been able to factor in the final result.
Therefore, instead of any 30-nil outcome, it would have been intriguing to say the least, had the last election ended in a stalemate, with either Solutions Barbados or the United Progressive Party holding the deciding cards. Even more intriguing would have been a situation where a national unity Government had emerged drawing from the total pool of political talent that this island has to offer with party hopefuls forced only by fate to work together in the national interest.
But alas, this was not meant to be! In fact, what emerged on May 24 as our best hope of ever having a party other than the Democratic Labour Party occupying the hollowed halls of our Parliament along with the governing Barbados Labour Party, has now for all intents and purposes been shattered to pieces and left for dead while its leader desperately and grudgingly holds to his chest the broken remnants of his unsuccessful reign.
But for what?
Not on the grounds that we would at all expect.
Ironically, the current split within the Grenville Phillips 11-led Solutions Barbados has nothing at all to do with the will of the electorate. It is not even a contention over what are the best economic policies for taking Barbados forward as any self-respecting alternative Government should be focused on at this stage.
Ashamedly, it is over “The Contract” as was clearly explained today in a letter penned by three former candidates giving major reasons for the unfortunate demise of the three-year-old political grouping.
“A contract was introduced in December 2017 for all Solutions Barbados candidates to sign, sometime after the launch of candidates in November, after candidates had been members for approximately six months; after flyers had been printed and after candidates had already started their constituency campaigns. The contract therefore was not introduced as a condition of joining the party, but was clearly a control mechanism for keeping candidates in the party and a carefully enforced way of maintaining loyalty to Solutions Barbados and to Grenville Phillips II,” the letter written by former candidates Alan Springer, Paul Gibson and Irvin Belgrave said.
To our surprise, these three goodly gentlemen have also levelled some very serious charges against their former leader with words such as “lies, misrepresentations and deception” being used to characterize the actions of their former ‘political boss’, who they also described as nothing short of “a dictator” who was out to create “fear and intimidation”, at times using “a subtle method of manipulation and coercion”.
Ironically, Mr Phillips had stated in launching the political grouping several months ago that his would be a party exclusively for businessmen and women – in this climate such persons are generally regarded as shrewd and are certainly not seen as any pushovers.
Therefore, it is hard to contemplate how any self-respecting businessman or woman would ever willingly subject themselves to the likes of a Kim Jong-un. After all, this is certainly not North Korea and if a business person is going to invest his or her hard earned money in a little known political grouping to ensure its national elevation, at the very least, if they cannot be assured of the return of their deposits from the Treasury, they must be able to face up to their losses with their dignity in tact.
But this is certainly not the picture that is being painted of the soft spoken and some might even say sheepish-looking Mr Phillips, whose primary conviction in the recent campaign was that he was going to lead Barbadians to the tax-free Promise Land of no International Monetary Fund, only milk and financial honey.
We regret to say that it always sounded too good to be true.
So our advice to Solutions Barbados and any other ‘third party’ that may emerge in the years to come is to strive always to invoke a very healthy dose of financial realism into their campaigns from early and not to appear, as Mr Phillips has of late, to be having a Damascus moment in the hope of currying favour with the current ‘Amor’.
Also, it would be good for Mr Phillips to engage in some personal introspection, sort of like the kind that former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart should be doing with a view to asking and answering the hard question of, ‘if, I can’t get my own members to give me their vote, how in Heaven’s name do I expect to win the trust and support of the Barbadian electorate?’
If it is one thing that the last poll should have taught everyone, it is that leadership does indeed matter.