Friday, April 19, 2024

Watch ‘mischief’ now that PM named the date


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SO PRIME Minister Freundel Stuart has finally announced the date for next month’s general election. And he did so with a ‘scoop’ (as we say in the media) by upstaging all and sundry, including real and pretentious political gurus, in naming February 21 as the day when Barbadians will trek to polling booths to elect a new government for the next five years.
Like him or not, as a political leader or Prime Minister, let’s admit that for all the grilling and verbal pummelling to which he has been subjected since the final quarter of 2012 in particular, Stuart eventually did it his way, in his own time and without committing any political crime or violation of the Barbados Constitution.
Making politics over a few weeks delay in announcing the election date is all part of the game at this very special season when voters across the political divide are being bombarded by parties and politicians – via the media and otherwise – to get ready for a new administration.
In multi-party parliamentary democracies in the Caribbean Community and across the world, governing parties surprise their electorate by either announcing snap or early elections, depending on the circumstances; or they simply keep their opponents guessing for as long as they think it expedient.
The Prime Minister settled for the latter course and extended his game of surprise by even doing so ahead of last Wednesday night’s advertised rally at the Bay Street Esplanade. It was arranged for “Reports to the Nation” on this DLP administration’s first five-year term that started under the late David Thompson in January 2008.
The hope is that both of these political thoroughbreds that have been dominating governments – moreso the Dems – would make a special effort to keep the election campaign clean and avoid substituting so-called “yardfowl” politics for required informed platform discourses.
After all, the contestants for state-controlled power could hardly be unaware of the spreading social tension over burning issues relating to the ever-climbing cost-of-living, decreasing real income, joblessness as well as sharp differences among leaders in the private sector and the world of academia on the way forward for Barbados.
What must not be allowed to dominate the campaign platforms is the dangerous sort of political “not wanted” froth appearing as an advertisement from an unknown group, “PARO” (People Against the Return of Owen). I, for one, fully share the sentiment expressed by the letter writer, David Brathwaite, in last Tuesday’s DAILY NATION, and in particular the objection to a political message “depicting the leadership of any political party in this country with bullet holes on the page…”.
Well, the General Secretary of the DLP has felt compelled to dissociate his party from the “PARO” advertisement but the “paros” continue their political mischief as we await the official unveiling of would-be parliamentarians for the February 21 general election.
• Rickey Singh is a noted Caribbean journalist. Email


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