General secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), Dennis De Peiza, today warned that every effort must be made not to embarrass Governor General Dame Sandra Mason or cast her position in any partisan light.
His comments were made in response to what he described as “short of the mark”, Government’s use of the Throne Speech, to announce Barbados’ moving toward republican status with the removal of Queen Elizabeth II as this country’s Head of State.
During an interview with Barbados TODAY this morning after a press conference to announce plans for the CTUSAB’s 13th Biennial Delegates’ conference to be held September 24, DePeiza said that ultimately he supported the move. However, he thought that it could have been dealt with differently and suggested that it could have come as an announcement from the floor of Parliament.
“That type of detail would not seemingly appear to be putting the holder of the current office in any embarrassing or to use a lesser term, compromising position. It is what it is. It was done that way, for what reasons we will never know, but it didn’t appear to be the best way that that matter could have been presented to the public in a Throne Speech,” he said.
The union leader argued that the GG publicly proclaiming her own redundancy was an embarrassment.
“It would appear, if I were the person speaking about something that involved me, clearly I would not feel comfortable. See yourself as an employee having to go up on a public platform and tell people about your job and what the employer plans to do with your job, whether it is going to uplift you or make your status in some way reduced. Either way, you still don’t want to be the one putting your own case in that sense. That is why I say it would have been better if it came from within the House of Assembly. If Parliament made a decision and it was announced from there, then of course the groundwork is done in making sure that you cover your bases before the presentation. In the forum I thought it was short of the mark,” De Peiza maintained.
On a related issue, the unionist also voiced concern that the Head of State’s address on Tuesday was misused.
“I don’t believe that the Governor General delivered a Throne Speech. She shouldn’t be speaking to anything that is of a partisan political nature. I know she speaks on behalf of the Government, but speaking about a ‘lost decade’, that kind of term that is being used is obviously speaking, in a way, against another political entity. That kind of phrasing I don’t think was in order. Anything that has a partisan political tone in the context of a Throne Speech, I don’t think the Governor General should be speaking. . . . That is where I think … the right and wrong of that matter lies.”
And he further warned that as a country Barbadians have to be careful about the things they allow to permeate.
“We are not in normal times. We are steeped in tradition. We expect certain principles and dictates of democracy. We also accept certain principles and dictates of good governance and if we are so radical in our intention then you know there is always a price to pay for that. It is just like how we have taken the Throne Speech and we spoke a lot to issues like marijuana and same sex, which to my mind are matters which removed from the front burner the issue of the day. The issue of how Barbados is really going to reposition itself. Same sex marriages is only going to generate a social debate, that is not going to move Barbados any further forward,” De Peiza added.