Saturday, April 13, 2024

BLP COLUMN: Freundel flops as leader

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BLP legacy: established the Agricultural Development Fund to facilitate the retooling of agricultural enterprises and strengthen areas of activity with strong potential for domestic and export markets; and gave special loans to poultry, sugar cane, pigs, vegetables, fruit, dairy and fish processing operations.
Having already failed spectacularly to distinguish himself in preaching, teaching, the law and politics, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart now seems to have ventured into another field for which he is not known to have training – that of pseudo-psychoanalysis.
For rather than spend his time reading the CLICO forensic audit report, thinking of how to end Barbados’ economic drought and his administration’s chronic incompetence, Stuart has instead been negatively evaluating the political persona of Opposition Leader Owen Arthur, accusing the BLP leader of suffering from “symptoms of anonymity”, whatever that means.
Stuart became even more scathing of the longest serving member of the House of Assembly, who he said “has crawled out from a dark hiding place to reassert himself in a quest for power, needs power for his personal validation. Without it, he is a nobody in Barbados.”  Stuart had already on March 14 in the 2012 Estimates Debate described the St Peter MP as “disposable political quantity”, reviving memories of the late David Thompson’s infamous declaration that Arthur’s “shelf life had expired”.
But Stuart’s attempt to demonize Arthur has rebounded badly with people wondering if the DLP leader’s mouthings were not classic manifestations of the well established psychological principle of “projection”, said by Kendra Cherry to be a “defence mechanism that involves taking our own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people”. But any objective evaluation of the careers of Arthur and Stuart is one of stark contrast. In Arthur’s case, by the time he was elected Prime Minister in his own right at almost 45 years of age, he was already a highly regarded professional economist who justified such public acclaim with nearly 14 years of economic prosperity and wins in three straight general elections.
On the other hand, Stuart got to be become Prime Minister at age 59 through an act of nature with Thompson’s death, and without stellar performances in law, as Attorney General or as Deputy Prime Minister. In the nearly two years since his elevation, Stuart’s performance with 9.9 per cent in a national poll has only been good enough to place him at the bottom of the ladder of those popularly preferred as Prime Minister. Arthur topped the poll.
With Stuart so poorly regarded at home, it would be pointless rating him regionally, where he has had little impact even with Prime Ministerial responsibility for CSME. In contrast, Arthur’s intellect continues to be highly respected abroad, as recently as March 2012 being the invited featured speaker at the UUCCI/UWI/ICCI Caribbean Conference in the Cayman Islands. Meanwhile the Arthur team continues to outline national Rescue, Rebuild and Restore policies.  
• Beresford Leon Padmore is a pseudonym for the Barbados Labour Party.

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