The Mia Mottley-led administration has been lambasted by political scientist Devaron Bruce for its “decision first, discussion after” stance on the move to becoming a Republic.
Bruce said it was ironic that Government was claiming that the transition to a Parliamentary Republic was about self-identity and self-governance, yet Barbadians were not given an opportunity to have a say.
“The independence project was by and large about democracy. The independence project was about bringing persons on board, persons participating in the political process because that was absent prior to the Independence period.
“So is it now highly ironic now that they are telling you that they are furthering the independence project, furthering self-governance in a way by going Republic, but in that very form and fashion they are excluding people in their activities and that is fundamentally the problem that we are faced with right now, that glaring irony and contradiction,” Bruce said while speaking at a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) meeting on the topic ‘No Republic! No Referendum!’ yesterday evening.
He maintained that there were many “practical benefits” from consultation and that Government could benefit substantially from the input of its people.
Bruce contended that the people of Barbados were ‘worthy’ of consultation as they could contribute in a meaningful fashion.
He also pointed out that there were many unanswered questions still remaining.
“We are an intelligent population in Barbados. We’ve had free education from the Barrow era up to today. We’re able to discuss the issues at hand, we’re able to understand the issues at hand, we’re able to contribute to the issues at hand and the reality is that the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) does not have the monopoly of truth, the BLP does not have the monopoly of knowledge or experience. That resides with our people,” Bruce stated.
“Where are the town halls? Where are the lives? Where is the rubbing shoulders as we were told on this very important issue?”
Bruce also pointed out that following the consultation there was also a need for a “robust public education programme” to better educate those Barbadians who did not understand. (RB)