“Return, my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has showered you with blessings”. – Psalm 116:7
As we pursue our daily living and expose ourselves to the news, things are not the same as measured by our quality of life. There is significant turmoil around us. There is a need for change but how do we effect it?
Barbados is a democracy where there is a system of government in which registered voters can exercise their right to elect their representatives in parliament. The last election was in 2013 and the next election is constitutionally due not later than May 2018.
Two main parties have dominated the political landscape in Barbados for more than 60 years. From time to time other parties threaten to change this landscape but none has so far established itself. There are at least three new parties that have signaled their attention to enter candidates for next year’s election and, of course, we shall have to wait and see how successful they are going to be.
My historical observation is that there is a solid 40 percent of support among the voters for each of these two main parties and that when the government has changed before it is the remaining floating voters – about 20 percent of the electorate – coupled with the size of the voter turnout that has effected this change. For new parties to upset the status quo, it will take time, charismatic and dynamic leadership and significant promotional resources. I therefore do not see any change in the two party system formula in 2018.
The one thing that has changed is that it is expected that, in the next election, one of these two parties will be led by a woman and one by a man. Barbados could therefore have its first female prime minister.
The general state of dissatisfaction with the present Government as indicated by: (1) a combined private sector and trade union strike against government’s policy measures; (2) the ineffective operation of the public private partnership social compact; (3) the national political opinion poll, which was conducted this past June by Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES); and (4) a series of more informal ongoing constituency interviews; would indicate that that the incumbent party is likely to be removed thus making the way for the first female prime minister.
If her party is elected, will she wear the colours of our flag proudly, will she effectively mobilize our global brand, Diaspora, land, beaches, sun, marine and hydrocarbon assets and people as our primary resources? Will she lead by female intuition and look towards the dawn and envision a future for us all? I am optimistic!
I am reminded of the classical medical health care improvement sequence. Our symptom is declining quality of life, we need to remove the symptoms. The causes have been economic decline, poor enabling environment and heavy taxation. The diseases diagnosed are weak visioning and low productivity. The treatments include: (a) innovatively restructuring debt and stabilizing the economy; (b) reduction of government expenses and encouragement of enterprise development; (c) revamping the taxation strategies; (d) exploiting all our resources to grow the economy; and (e) infuse into the society continual doses of positive thinking.
The prognosis – Success!
As a necessity, let us rest, relax and renew and benefit from the many divine blessings that are showered on us. Should it be the will of the people to elect a female prime minister, let us remobilize the concept of the social compact and use all resources to extend efforts in one direction to guarantee a bright future.