Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
by Leslie Lett Jr
From henceforth, in those momentous times of glorious triumph when we are exhorted to proclaim “who we are”; in those dire times of severest challenge when we are encouraged to draw upon and take a strength from “who we really are”; in those quiet times of thoughtful contemplation when we each choose to reflect seriously upon “who we actually are”; in those defining times of great decision when we know instictively that we must exemplify and teach our children “who we truly are” . . . in those times, how will we ever forget that we defended/rationalised/ignored/managed/ facilitated/oversaw/accepted/allowed the perpetration of the disenfranchisement of thousands of us – the Electorate of Barbados – in the General Election of 19 January, 2022? How? Literally thousands of us are to suffer this disenfranchisement! A “dirty stain”, one paper’s editorial points out in profoundly euphemistic terms. This will be the tale of the very first election in our new Republic! This will be the legacy of those in positions of power and authority who oversee and allow it.
The allegations of anticipatory thought and deed with reference to this particular election exercise that were made by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Chairman in yesterday’s Press Conference are, to my mind, highly suspect. In the context of Barbados being now nearly two years into this marathon of a pandemic; in the context of tried and tested, valid and reliable, well-known alternatives to in-person voting employed in many different jurisdictions – regionally and beyond; in the context of the readily accessible technology; in the context of our existing infrastructure; in the context of all the locally available expertise of Barbados 2022 – in the context of all these things, this disenfranchisement of thousands of us can only be the spawn of a glaring failure of the creative, imaginative, pro-active thought, energy, and leadership that have been vaunted for some time now. And it is a failure most egregious. Its consequence of massive disenfranchisement is unacceptable … and must be seen as such by the Citizenry!
Try as some might – no matter into what elaborate, pretzellike, gymnastic poses some may contort themselves – no thinking citizen can avoid asking the very pertinent question as to how justifiable is the call for this election, at this particular time in the middle of this marathon of a pandemic, presently convulsed by the clearly-anticipated rampage of this present Omicron.
Wave, without the necessary amendment(s) to those relevant Orders and Laws being duly made to ensure that this massive disenfranchisement of thousands of us would not be inflicted upon us. Why wasn’t this done? Where is the application of proactive, visionary, transformative thought, energy, and leadership about which so much grandiose speechifying has been made? I know these qualities exist. We have witnessed and benefitted from the exercise of them on occasions in the past.
So why are they missing in action here and now in this matter of the massive disenfranchisement of thousands of voters? Is this of so little importance? If ever there was a time when the application of these qualities were needed, that time has come!
I’m a Jimmy Cliff Boy … “Action speaks louder than words …”
When one truly appreciates the turbulent history of our enfranchisement – what has been expended; what has been endured; what has been sacrificed – the manufacturing of this present state of affairs can only be defined as one of the gravest of travesties, one of the most depraved of obscenities.
It is a crying shame if we accept that we deserve no better than this. It is an utter absurdity to portray that we can do no better than this! And it is deplorable if we do not demand that we must indeed do better than this!
— God, grant me the Serenity To accept the things I cannot change… Courage to change the things I can, And Wisdom to know the difference.
This column was offered as a Letter to the Editor.