“For with God nothing is impossible.” – Luke 1:37

Attorney Ralph Thorne, a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) member, became a member of parliament in the party’s sweeping victories in the 2018 and 2022 general elections under Mia Mottley’s leadership. These elections were historic as the BLP secured all 30 parliamentary seats, leaving the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) without representation.

In a surprising turn of events, Thorne crossed the floor in February 2024

, becoming the constitutionally recognized Leader of the Opposition. He then rejoined the DLP, a party of which he was previously a member from 1974 to 2003, but for which he never won a House of Assembly seat.

This move gives the DLP a presence in parliament once again. However, how the party plans to attempt to increase its representation before the next general election, which is constitutionally due in less than three years, remains to be seen.

I am neither a member of the BLP nor the DLP, despite uninformed speculation by both parties to the contrary. My expertise lies in business matters, a field to which I have dedicated over 30 years of writing weekly columns. However, the current political landscape has prompted me to become a temporary armchair commentator under the banner, “If Barbados wins, we all win”!

The story of Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew’s leadership of the People’s Action Party (PAP) party in 1959 is a powerful example of what focused governance can achieve. From a “sleepy fishing village” with a threat of communism, Singapore transformed into a first-world country within five decades, thanks to the strategic use of resources and collective efforts. In 1965, Lee Kuan Yew led the country to independence, and the PAP party has never lost an election.

Barbados could learn from this model, especially as we face our own developmental challenges.

Under the leadership of the current BLP administration, Barbados has made impressive progress in several key areas. The government has restructured debt, steering us clear of a potential FOREX crisis. Additionally, it has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and set the country on a path of economic growth. As the Barbados Central Bank Governor recently reported, we have had 10 consecutive quarters of economic expansion.

The government’s attention to tourism, education, health care, infrastructure, and renewable energy, often in collaboration with CARICOM partners, is commendable. These efforts have not only stabilized the economy but have also enhanced Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s international stature. This enhanced profile holds the promise of bringing good fortune to Barbados and the Caribbean.

The way forward for Barbados involves a collaborative approach between the government, the private sector, and union leaders to sell us a vision and deliver it with diligent action. As was the case in Singapore, public-private sector collaboration is the name of the game.

With substantial savings in the banking system, incentives should be offered to the private sector to mobilize these funds for economic growth. The recent political shift involving Ralph Thorne raises questions about the DLP’s future and its ability to rejuvenate itself and compete effectively in upcoming elections.

What will be the impact of the Ralph Thorne defection on the revival of DLP? How fast can this be done?

What if the BLP calls an election within a year and gets another five-year term? Does the DLP have the intestinal fortitude to survive? Do they have the money to support their plans?

The DLP broke away from the BLP in 1955 to form a more “left-leaning” alternative. However, from my armchair, the differences in their ideologies have not been starkly contrasted over the years.

While both parties have had periods of effective socioeconomic management, the challenge of turning vision into tangible actions has hindered Barbados’ growth potential.

We must embrace a “Barbados winning vision”.

Now is the time for me to get up from the armchair. Have a great week, everyone!

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is a Change-Engine Consultant. His email address is basilgf@marketplaceexcellence.com. His columns may be found at https://www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com).