THE PRIME MINISTER of Barbados, Mr Freundel Stuart, says he chooses his words carefully.
There can, therefore, be no debate as to the force of the words which he used to describe the state of industrial relations as “choke and rob” on the part of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) in their dispute with the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC). He also proclaimed: “You don’t have to go through processes anymore . . . . What you do is to use bluster, bullying and to use blackmail.”
Now the Prime Minister, when speaking of “choke and rob”, was neither speaking in French, to wit: étouffer et voler, nor in Spanish – estrangular y robar, nor even in his favourite Latin – suffocat exspoliarent; so there could be no mistaking the force of his language in English. It was clearly meant to reduce the actions of the NUPW (and incidentally other unions) to an act of banditry.
His words hardly represent great negotiating tactics in any language.
The Prime Minister is also well aware that certain words may well cause “spontaneous combustion” of an unintentional kind, especially when seeming to call forth a reflexive posture from certain receptors of the message.
Indeed, an “earth tremor of folly” from the beginning of the whole (lack of negotiating) process, on the part of the BIDC, has even caused the earth to stir in anguish, not hilarity, as we experienced real tremors [last Thursday]. In fact, our words – in any language – thoughts, feelings and emotions do have an impact on the earth itself, not just on animals.
– MICHAEL RUDDER