Two Government Senators are calling for more respect and privileges to be given to Barbados’ prime ministers after they leave office, much like is done for United States presidents.
Senator John King and Senator Elizabeth Thompson made the call as members of the Upper House paid their respects to late Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford on Wednesday.
Senator King said better arrangements should be made to care for former leaders.
“I believe that the time has come in Barbados where persons like Sir Lloyd and others who have had the privilege of being prime ministers of this country should always be referred to as prime minister. You go to the United States of America, George Bush would still be referred to as President Bush…. I believe it’s incumbent upon us, if we begin to change how we view our leadership, that that should be seriously considered and all the privileges that go along with that should also be extended to those persons whenever they leave office,” he said.
“I’ve had the unfortunate privilege to watch persons who have served in that capacity struggle in this country at simple things [like] going to an event or even going to a funeral of another member. I’ve watched it, and I’ve always said that whenever I have the opportunity to speak about it, I’m going to speak about it because those things are wrong.”
He further suggested that extensive historical documents of the work done by former leaders and the challenges they faced for the sake of the public good be made readily available to students in museums and other facilities so that future generations can learn from their experiences.
Standing in support of Senator King’s comments, Senator Thompson said there should be a discussion on what policies can be put in place to support former leaders.
“We must evolve a practice and a concretised policy for how we treat former political leaders and prime ministers. I don’t care what party they belong to; if they have served, then they must be treated with a certain dignity. They should have at least a car and driver; they should not be butting about looking for someplace to park; they should have a special number plate, and so on. I am asking the country really to let us be mature enough to deal with this matter properly,” she said.