While Government has made some missteps along the way, the administration has done a generally good job in their second year in office.
That is the view of political scientists Dr Kristina Hinds and Peter Wickham, who have both lauded the Mia Mottley-led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration for their efforts since sweeping into office on May 24, 2018, following a historic 30-0 whitewash of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Dr Hinds said Government’s social media presence and its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic have been very effective.
“In general I think we have seen a very competent Government and one that also seeks to show itself publicly as being competent. I think there have been some missteps which is normal because I don’t think there is any perfect Government, however, I think there have also been several efforts to cover these missteps as not being mistakes.
“Government has quite a good public relations mechanism and this is useful for providing information and allowing the public to know what is happening, but I think sometimes it also obscures some missteps that shouldn’t necessarily be covered over,” Dr Hinds pointed out.
“What I would say is that right now that we are in this COVID-19 crisis, the Government is doing a reasonable job. I think the Caribbean is doing relatively well in its approach to addressing COVID-19. I don’t necessarily agree with everything that was done. I think there could have been an earlier closure or tighter monitoring of our ports…”
The lecturer in political science at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, did speak to some of the mistakes made by Government.
These include the recent handling of Ambassador Liz Thompson’s return to the island, the bungling of the appointment of the Deputy Commissioner of Police and the issue of forced savings.
“There are some areas where I have some questions. I know there are people who may not want to talk about the recent arrival of Ambassador Liz Thompson but I think it certainly does raise some question marks about how things are done in the Government.
“It is very particular to this COVID-19 scenario that we are in but it does raise some questions about whether rules and procedures that are put in place are generally followed by those who hold positions of power,” Dr Hinds acknowledged.
“Some of the things that have been pointed out such as this Deputy Commissioner of Police, whether it was a legal action or not. These are really important questions that need to be addressed when we think about how we are governed. People may think it is relatively minor, but if we are to be governed in a way that is consistent with the rule of law, with our Constitution and the rest of it, these are critical issues that we need to address.”
She also expressed concern over Government’s likening of forced savings to a meeting turn.
“This whole discussion now about forced savings is very problematic to me because I am very curious as to how the Prime Minister can portray this as a meeting turn because it isn’t like a meeting turn,” Dr Hinds maintained.
Wickham acknowledged that while COVID-19 had presented some challenges, Government had shown it was capable of handling the situation.
He said before the pandemic Government was well on its way to meeting its targets.
The well-known pollster said, however, that there would be some difficult times ahead once the pandemic had passed.
“I would say that it seemed as though we were on the right path as we approached the two-year mark, but it is fairly clear that a lot of the objectives and a lot of the goals will be revised in the context of what is happening now,” he noted.
“I would say that even if we did not have the pandemic we clearly still had problems in areas of transportation, crime…we are still having some water challenges.
“But by and large I would say that as we approach the second year and more importantly as we approach the halfway point which will be the end of this year, it looks as though Barbados is going in a direction of dealing with the issues, bringing fundamental change to the way the economy is managed.
“So I am not unhappy as a Barbadian as we approach the third year but I am a bit concerned that the COVID-19 issue has derailed a lot of the progress that has been achieved in the last two years,” Wickham said.
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