"It doesn't matter what you say your values are. It is what you do that shows what you truly believe in."
Shona's Auntie Moses (paraphrased)
The official website of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) – the party that has formed the Government of Barbados for 12 years as led by Prime Minister Owen Arthur – displays photos of Barbados citizens who are only of one specific race. Despite the fact that Barbados citizens hail from virtually every race and cultural heritage, only citizens of the majority race are shown on the BLP website.
And – it apparently is not even enough to be of african heritage – one must have a darker skin tone to be shown on the BLP website. No lighter-skinned persons of african heritage or mixed race persons are shown on the website. And certainly no mixed-race couples like some of the folks who bring you the Barbados Free Press.
That pretty well sums up our tour and review of all available Political Party websites in Barbados. But for those who want a more in-depth report, read on…
Reviewing Political Party Websites In Barbados
Political parties and activists all over the world have long embraced the internet as the most effective and cost-effective means of delivering their message directly to listeners – without having the meaning mangled or misrepresented by the traditional media.
It is therefore surprising to learn that of Barbados' three political parties, only the BLP has an operating website and/or blog. Here is our look at the individual party efforts and the effective message communicated by each website (or non-website)…
PEP – People's Empowerment Party of Barbados
Message Displayed: No website – no message
Effective Website Message: "We Don't Exist"
The PEP has no party website. For those wanting to know about PEP online, Wikipedia.org has one sentence…
"People's Empowerment Party (PEP) is a leftist political party in Barbados, founded in 2006. It is led by David Comissiong and is the electoral wing of the Clement Payne Movement. PEP, an opposition party, advocates public ownership of the means of production."
DLP – Democratic Labour Party
Message Displayed: "A Brighter Future For All" – "Under Construction"
Effective Website Message: "We Are In Chaos – And Don't Know Where We Are Going"
The DLP – Democratic Labour Party of Barbados – website has been "Under Construction" for longer than anyone can remember. As we mentioned in our January 20, 2006 article, "Where is the Barbados DLP Website?"…
What happened to the Barbados Democratic Labour Party – DLP – website? It has been “under construction” for so long that it seems obvious that the DLP leadership has no concept of the power of the internet. Perhaps with a little work, they can bring the party into the mid-1990’s!
“Under Construction”… just like the DLP itself.
If the DLP cannot get itself together enough to even put up a website, how on earth are the people of Barbados supposed to view them at a viable government-in-waiting?
BLP – Barbados Labour Party
Message Displayed: "A better life for our people"
Effective Website Message: We Are The Government, What Race Are You?
The BLP Barbados Labour Party website is well done technically. Both the programming and visual design are top drawer, and a visitor can't help but receive the impression from the website that the BLP is a sophisticated, professionally-run and well-funded organization. Such professionalism should be expected from any political party anywhere that has been in power for 12 years…
… But it is the fact that the BLP is politically sophisticated that causes concern about the party's official website and the overall message that it presents to Barbadians and to the world.
The photos, images and graphics on the website have all been carefully selected to convey a positive image of real progress happening in Barbados under the BLP Government – and to reinforce the party slogan of "A Better Life For Our People". The presentation is sophisticated, smooth and deliberately understated – showing new housing, successful businesses, clean newly-constructed public developments and happy, optimistic Barbadians with family and friends.
It is a powerful feel-good message of progress – until you realize that the images only show Barbadians of African heritage who have darker skin tones. No lighter-skinned persons of African heritage are shown. No Barbadians of Indian heritage. No Oriental races. No Asians. No whites. No Barbadians of mixed race. No mixed race couples.
Only persons of African heritage who have dark skin tones.
If the Barbados Labour Party truly believes that it wants to represent the interests of all Barbadians – no matter the colour of their skin or their racial heritage – then the BLP should change it's website to reflect all our citizens.
But if the website fairly represents how the BLP views Barbados and their vision for this nation, then they should leave the website the way it is. Don't change a thing BLP, unless you really mean it.
post by Clive with Marcus
Tomorrow: A Review of the Barbados Labour Party blog