Barbados and Maximum Leaders
I would not go so far as to pronounce the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party as abject failures. Barbados with all its self inflicted scars is perhaps one of the best managed small countries/islands in any part of the world.
The major problem confronting us is a dangerous habit of resting on our laurels and waiting until a crisis develops or envelops us to take action. Ideologically and philosophically, we really have a one party state. Hence, policies started by either party in power can be easily continued without the slightest managerial shift or approach when government changes.We are also suffering from the maximum leader syndrome. The period 1961 -1976 was characterized by the belief that Barbados had become Barrowbados. Barrow verbally assaulted: trade unionists, teachers, thePublic servants and the judiciary with equal zeal but the watchdogs became very silent and he ruled our island state like a colossus. When confronted with strenuous opposition to his policies, by radical black nationalists ,Barrow went to Parliament and legislated the Public Order Act and the radical element was forced into political exile.
No different with Arthur . He followed Barrow’s leadership style to the limit. He also became a very aggressive leader and went after all opponents with a laser like focus: journalists, successful blacks and those who chose not to sing in “Owens’s Choir” were starting to feel the heat. He squandered a lot of goodwill by becoming arrogant and irritable when his policies were questioned. He ended up by calling people“indentured servants” and “Negrocrats”. For all the self serving mumbo jumbo now emanating from the Arthurites, it was he who told us we were complaining too much and we all wanted to go to heaven without facing the grim reaper. Objective commentators ,will note that such statements were made ,when the winds of the present economic hurricane, were starting to blow in our direction and the populace was starting to complain about his government.
We are now facing a recession ,that is causing widespread havoc throughoutl the world . The most we can do is increase VAT (DLP) and call for the resignation of the distinguished Governor of the Central Bank (BLP). Once again we are acting as if we do not have the intellectual or political will to tap into our collective capabilities to solve problems. This is not surprising to those who monitor the political cannibalizing of our society by these two political institutions. In the mean time Sir Othneil Williams is considering dyeing his sheep in order to halt praedial larceny on his estates. At least he is attempting to be creative -something for the BLP/DLP to think about. Slight chance because they are prepared only to die in power or remain in power.