Friday, April 19, 2024

Let Stuart alone


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WHY DON’T BARBADIANS let Prime Minister Freundel Stuart alone – particularly those who are preparing to vote out the Democratic Labour Party (DLP)?
The democratic process throws up the able as well as the unable. It sometimes also accommodates the disabled. The beauty of it – when it is allowed to work – is that you can always remove those who do not shape up.
On occasions, in other places, politicians have attempted and succeeded at thwarting that process. Some get away with subverting the will of the people; others don’t.
The Ivory Coast is an example: Laurent Gbagbo lost hands down to Alassane Ouattara but refused to go.
It took almost a year to get him out of the presidential palace. Sadly, a few thousand citizens of that African country lost their lives in that struggle.
So far, we Barbadians have not gone down that road. I hope we never will.
Almost five years ago, I could not see my way clear to allow the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to run this country for five more years and I told them so. I voted against them. I and thousands of Barbadians got up the next morning and went about our business.
On the early morning of January 15, 2008, I walked into a polling booth in the annex of The Church of Christ the King at Rock Dundo Park, in the constituency of St Michael North, and placed a clear and legible “X” alongside the name of Francis Depeiza.  
Five years earlier, I had voted for Ronald Toppin as my representative. On ten previous occasions since 1961 – when I voted at age 21 for the first time – my “X” had gone from DLP to BLP to NDP (National Democratic Party).
I’m not impressed with the DLP’s performance, but I see no point in hounding Mr Stuart. Some of the very characteristics so many Barbadians detest in the man can be found in ourselves: we talk and procrastinate and are unable to act. Other times, like him, we keep quiet.
Decisive the outcome
Whom do you expect a Barbados Labour Party member to support? Whom do you expect a Democratic Labour Party member to support?
It is people like me who decide the outcome of our elections. My vote belongs to those who perform.
Freundel Stuart is an intelligent politician who, through the uncertainties of life, has found himself the leader of this country. He says he has been preparing for it for several years.
A wise man has observed that the leader must answer this question: Where are we going? – whenever it is asked.
He must answer if you disturb him in a deep sleep; he must answer when it comes from his top general; he must answer when it is asked by the lowliest foot soldier in the mud and stench of the trenches.
If the leader cannot explain in clear, unequivocal language and action where he wants me to go with him, I start looking for another leader.
The democratic system we practise allows for that. Pity it’s so adversarial and wasteful of human resources so scarce in small countries.
If the DLP wins the next election, it will have every right to administer the affairs of this country until such time as we replace it.
Barbados is at a critical juncture and next time around my vote will go to the party who impresses me that it knows where we’re going.
I need to hear more than “We have not laid off anyone from the Public Service”, while we borrow more and more to “shore up the reserves”. Past performance alone won’t cut it.
So let us wait a few more weeks on Mr Stuart as he continues to dither, delay and drag his feet.
Despite the leadership styles of previous Prime Ministers, many Barbadians – predominantly the party faithful – have adjusted to Mr Stuart and say they like it so.
I haven’t been able to make that adjustment.
 • Carl Moore was the first Editor of THE NATION and is a social commentator. Email

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