As Barbadians are called on by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) to reflect on the life of Errol Barrow, the United Progressive Party (UPP) is arguing that Barbados is currently in a “mid-life crisis”.
In a short Errol Barrow Day message yesterday, president of the DLP Verla De Peiza called on Barbadians to reflect and apply the lessons of Barrow’s life “to ensure that what we are doing at this moment can impact just as significantly on the generations to come”.
She also called on citizens to come up with ideas that could be shared to improve in the development of the country.
“What we recognize though is that each one of us as a people and as a country, has a responsibility to this country. What can we do to make ourselves better as a collective? That will be the focus of what we wish to reflect on as we work through this week as we take our initiatives forward and bring them to the country,” said De Peiza.
However, in a letter to the ‘Father of Independence’, the UPP recalled his achievements including the implementation of free education, a national insurance and social security scheme, school meals, improvements in the health sector and his contribution to the island’s independence.
At the same time, the UPP, in its Facebook post, recalled that the DLP had lost every seat in the May 24 general election, as it questioned the direction in which the country was currently heading.
“With democracy so active you would believe that Barbados is heading into a future based on the foundation of education, pride and industry. Unfortunately, the story of modern Barbados has veered sharply away from your vision,” the UPP said in its letter to “the Dipper”.
“We are witnessing a culture which doesn’t value education and its potential benefits and the squandering of this opportunity by many who have achieved accreditation. The severe lack of critical thinking in the management of the country’s affairs at all levels has led to a downward trend in the rating and recognition of Barbados as a leader amongst developing nations. This seems to be as a direct result of greed and a lack of understanding of the principles established by the founding fathers,” the UPP said.
The party, which is led by Lynette Eastmond, a former Barbados Labour Party government minister, said despite the abolition of slavery and colonialism “at the legislative and societal levels”, it was still evident “at the psychological level”, even among our educated elected leaders.
The political party said it was evident that there was no intention by authorities to empower Barbadians through economic enfranchisement.
“Every election cycle sees a return and deepening of the relationship between parties and the class of wealthy whose contribution to national development must equate with contractual expectations. In the meantime, many of our people celebrate only in political tribalism and fleeting handouts.
“Furthermore, the foundation of our economy has been eroded to the point where the new norm is the celebration of the acquisition of foreign loans, disbursement of crown lands at an undervalue and the arrival of new garbage trucks. This economic enslavement keeps our nation in the doldrums of development and demonstrates the lack of visionary leadership once associated with regional leaders such as yourself. We are currently at 50 plus years of independence in a mid-life crisis as our national leadership has been contaminated by the influences of Neo-colonialism and blinded by post-independence partisan agendas,” the UPP added.
The UPP said in its letter to Barrow that Barbadians were more about politics than transparent good governance, adding that this defied the legacy he tried to create for the country.
“We must find the motivation to correct this downslide but with so many bought into the false narrative we fear for the future,” it said.
“We in the United Progressive Party believe that you would be pleased at the development of a party which sees true empowerment as the next big step in our democracy. Our leaders have a vision which is consistent with yours,” it added.
Former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Member of Parliament and representative for Christ Church West, Dr. Maria Agard, who is now a member of the UPP, commented on the Facebook post, saying Barbadians have lost the notion of the “big idea, having been conditioned and bullied into celebrating mediocrity”.
“We now clap for shady governance once it has been packaged in the right PR narrative, seemingly unable to separate the sleight of hand from the outcomes. We must strive for progress where morality and ethics are fundamental planks of that progress,” said Agard.
“As for the Dipper’s vision. He must be weeping into his ashes to see that the free universal education that he fought for has been used to enrich a select few as we sell our brilliance, our skills, our services cheaply to moguls as their employees, while scorning the indigenous entrepreneurs who struggle to forge a legacy of wealth independent of the trappings of the plantation,” she added.