Sunday, April 21, 2024

EDITORIAL – Are all things really being made new?

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We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. – Martin Luther King Jr
FOR?ALL OF OWEN?ARTHUR’S SMUGNESS – at least to Mia Mottley – and for all the declared commitment of Mr Arthur’s four knights of the round table, the new Opposition Leader is far from any comfort zone.
Ms Mottley, recoiling as she might be, will yet remain Mr Arthur’s albatross. She could weigh him down whenever encumberances are telling for him and critical to her.
Take Ms Mottley’s emotive and emotional address to members at the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) annual conference on Saturday. In her dramatic last-minute withdrawal from the chairmanship race she labelled the election exercise a sideshow.
No doubt, she wanted party supporters to buy into her projection that here were the makings of a circus presentation – so far as elections would go – of which they should be no part, as she wouldn’t be. Ms Mottley would therefore not win any of their votes, as she withdrew from the race; she would have to settle instead for their hearts.
Only a faithful Cynthia Forde would follow in her former leader’s footsteps, denying herself an opportunity of service on the executive. Her general secretaryship she would voluntarily surrender to St Lucy candidate Peter Phillips.
Potshots at the calibre of a party annual conference are one thing; “the several irregularities” of delegate representation and the “dubious selection” of delegates particularly in the constituency of St James North, as lamented by Ms Mottley and Rawle Eastmond, are another.
Questioned transparency could be the gravamen that leads to distrust and negative speculation – and this consequently undermines democracy as we know it.
It cannot be acceptable that a list of all voting delegates would only be available 15 minutes before the start of the day’s session. It cannot be proper that a legitimate member of a party should be denied copies of the delegates list, as charged by Ms Mottley.
Some observers might argue it is all infighting among Labourites; let them be. But the bigger picture is that democracy must not be seen to thrive only at national level – and to hell with it at the internal party stage.
As Mr Arthur therefore comes to the country as its alternative leader, with an obviously divided party, his focus cannot only be on economic recovery, for all the superteam he will construct. There is an urgency too for healing among the BLP representatives of the people, which may not be so soon in coming for all the olive branches Mr Arthur declares himself to be extending to Ms Mottley.
It seems that the healing must be deeply rooted in self-reflection; and it will be a hard road to travel. As Mr Arthur himself has already said: “This is a very difficult time for the country. It is a very difficult time for the party. It is a very difficult time for me.”
Indeed, Mr Arthur, it is quite trying days for thee.

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