Tuesday, April 23, 2024

BLP COLUMN: BLP: Party of ideas

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One of the features that over the years has most distinguished the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) from the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), has been the BLP’s unfailing capacity to generate ideas that greatly contribute to the sustained growth and development of Barbados and the progress and prosperity of its people.
This vital BLP capability stood out from the days of founding father Sir Grantley Adams and has been systematically regenerated and personified over its 74-year history by subsequent leaders.
No wonder then that the BLP has been able to compile an outstanding list of projects and policies.
These include: universal adult suffrage (right of all to vote), formation of the Barbados Workers’ Union, holiday with pay, public markets, health centres and low income housing, Government headquarters, tourism industry, industrial development, the Deep Water Harbour, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Tenantries Freehold Purchase Act, financial services and international business, unemployment insurance, equality of women, equal status to children born in and out of wedlock, ABC Highway, Central Bank building, Rural and Urban Development Commissions, poverty eradication, Tourism Development Act, and special development legislation.
The result has been a continuous outflow of progressive BLP programmes and projects that have helped propel the notable advancement of the quality of life of our people, often involving the restoration of our economy and society after the DLP had left them in shambles, as happened when Tom Adams took over as Prime Minister from the DLP’s Errol Barrow and Arthur succeeded Erskine Sandiford as head of Government.
This chronic DLP record of mismanagement and underdevelopment is an institutional characteristic that has stemmed from this party’s failure, inability or refusal, or some of all, to produce leadership that has, since its formation 57 years ago, remained fixated on Barrow and his ideas and has therefore not been able to advance its intellectual storehouse.
So naturally, neither Sandiford, David Thompson nor Freundel Stuart, either individually or collectively has moved the DLP beyond such achievements as universal free secondary education, free school meals, the attainment of Independence, establishment of CBC radio and television, National Insurance Scheme, free bus fares and summer camps for schoolchildren and Constituency Councils.
This historical contrast between the ideas generating ability of the BLP and DLP is perhaps at its most glaring nowadays as the countdown towards the next general election accelerates. On the one hand, the DLP is stuck rehashing and reliving its past and vilifying BLP personalities, while presiding over a people made weary by the economically, socially and psychologically weakening effects of DLP failed policies.
Meanwhile, a revitalized Owen Arthur and BLP continue to stimulate hope among people impressed by the innovative and stimulating ideas they are presenting aimed at offering tax relief to individuals and businesses, rebuilding the middle class, reviving the business sector and generally putting money back into people’s pockets.
At the same time, it offers a new deal to the youth and opportunities for people in general to enjoy better and brighter days under the BLP’s famed superior economic and social management.
People are convinced the BLP can do it again.
• Beresford Leon Padmore is a pseudonym for the Barbados Labour Party.

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