BFP Reader Guy Hewitt Says “Many Thanks, Mr. Arthur”

“Many Thanks, Mr Arthur”

Like so many Barbadians considering their options for the upcoming General Election, I found myself in a quandary in trying to decide what to do with my vote on 15 January 2008. But knowing the history of the struggle for adult suffrage I feel compelled to place my ‘X’.

When I look at the main opposition, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), it seems a shadow of its former self. The DLP is still to convey a real sense of urgency to be the next Government of Barbados. As leader, Mr Thompson gives the impression that he adheres to the notion that governments lose election, oppositions don’t win them.

While there is some truth to this, political change in Barbados has always featured an opposition able to capture the popular imagination of the people. Campaigning around a slogan “time for a change” will be insufficient to win popular support.

Barbados is accustomed to strong political leadership and in his twenty years in Parliament and nearly ten as leader of the opposition, Mr Thompson is still to demonstrate his true political strength. His may be a case of too easy, too soon but whatever the cause, Mr Thompson needs to canvass a national constituency if he desires to become the next prime minister of Barbados.

Along the way, Mr Thompson also needs to let us know who his minister of finance will be. We Bajans are too cautious with our money to adopt a wait and see attitude on this issue. However, I give him full marks for displacing Mr Mascoll. The ‘Hardwood’ saga confirmed Mr Mascoll’s poor lack of judgement and possibly much more. Mr Thompson convinced me that Mr Mascoll should never get control of the Barbados treasury and definitely not the leadership of this country.

But what is the alternative?

There is no question that Mr Arthur is the most remarkable political operator in the history of Barbados. The emergence of ‘Owen Dems’ demonstrated his political skill and the success of his ‘politics of inclusion’. But to what end?

The Monday, 17 December 2007 edition of the Daily Nation revealed a side of Mr Arthur that drove fear in me. The report that he had a “determination never to see the DLP hold the reins of power in this country”, revealed the dark side to his ‘politics of inclusion’.

Having read political science and having lived in and worked on two general elections in Guyana, I was struck by what sounded to be the words of a megalomaniac. I heard in Mr Arthur’s assertion echoes of Linden Forbes Burnham, who similarly drunk on power, created a constitutional presidency and then an executive presidency to allow him to remain as President of Guyana until his death.

It was the first time I became suspicious over the political agenda to create a constitutional presidency in Barbados. I always assumed it was part of the ‘politics of inclusion’; to satisfy one woman’s personal ambition. But when I considered the Government’s recent attempt to amend the Constitution of Barbados to usurp powers from the Governor General to appoint civil servants, another component of the ‘politics of inclusion’, I realised this Government has become intoxicated politically to dangerous levels. Where will it end?

Over the years, we have absorbed the crossing of the floor of Parliament and the transferring of political allegiances by opposition members mesmerised by the ‘politics of inclusion’. We have swallowed the use of National Honours to bestow an obscene number of Knighthoods on his party faithful, including the unprecedented knighting of a serving minister of government. How much must we bear?

Our economic indicators and physical infrastructure – new airport, new highway and new Kensington Oval – are used to suggest prosperity. But in reality there is an underside to this fairytale of poverty increasing to such proportions that even Dame ‘Auntie’ Olga Lopes-Seale, one of our most outstanding humanitarians, was forced to admit to “poverty all over this island” in her recent message for Christmas (Daily Nation, 20 December). Growing poverty coupled with moral decay and the erosion of traditional values is being manifested in corruption, crime and violence. What is to come of us?

And when we complained about the cost of living, the Government blamed it on us for buying too much lunch, then on imported inflation, then on merchants for price-gouging and finally, us for our high standard of living. It was never their fault. Only with elections looming have we seen some compassion. And when we asked for help with the price of vegetables we were told to plant our own. But the majority ask, on what land and with what time? Show me the love.

Notwithstanding worsening social infrastructure – social welfare, medical care, education and housing, the Government continues to give income tax and duty-free concessions to the ‘aristocrats’ living in gated communities. These are Mr Arthur’s so-called “saviours of this country”, who he argues, “the future of Barbados is tied up with” (Barbados Business Authority, 20 March). What about the rest of Barbados? Political hand outs, weedwackers and promises that better will come, are not enough. Enough is enough.

I agree with Mr Arthur that Barbados needs a new beginning but I do not think he can provide it. You cannot put new wine into old wineskins. Mr Arthur has fought the good fight and has run his course and I think it is fitting for us to say to him many thanks for his stewardship. He is good to go home.

I feel that in the interest of democracy and our country, I think we need to look to the East and to the Team Thompson, equal in my estimation to those who formed the Government in 1994, to secure our future.

But a warning to Mr Thompson if he does get the support of Barbados next month; Be minded that we expect Ms Mottley to keep a very watchful eye from the opposition.

May democracy continue to flourish in Barbados! God bless this land.

Guy Hewitt
28 December 2007

Editors Note: Guy Hewitt is a minister of religion and social development specialist. He can be contacted on <guyhewitt@gmail.com>
© Guy Hewitt, 2007

This piece was printed unedited with not one word changed. The red and bold highlighting were added by the BFP editor.

29 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

29 responses to “BFP Reader Guy Hewitt Says “Many Thanks, Mr. Arthur”

  1. Rumplestilskin

    Nicely written Mr.Hewitt.

  2. I endorse Mr. Hewitt’s perspective and conclusion. Sending home the BLP serves to send and equally strong message to the DLP that we the people mean business. Thompson will either rise to the occasion as Arthur did in 1994 or we will send him packing next time around. Government is a necessary evil

  3. iisnoone

    I am very pleased to see some commentary from the clergy.

    The phrase “minister of religion” is ambiguous. Is this the Assistant Curate of an Anglican Church in Barbados?

  4. Hants

    There is no question that Mr Arthur is the most remarkable political operator in the history of Barbados. The emergence of ‘Owen Dems’ demonstrated his political skill and the success of his ‘politics of inclusion’.

    “Politics of inclusion” is nothing more than a Political tactic to reduce the strength of the Opposition.

    Well written article.

    The march to a One party ( Inclusive )state must be stopped.

    “he had a “determination never to see the DLP hold the reins of power in this country”, revealed the dark side to his ‘politics of inclusion’.

    I concur.

  5. His fear of a DICTATORSHIP is a very serious aspect of my reason for change.

    This admistration has clearly shown its willingness to take us down the road of a DICTATORSHIP.

    Let us address the withdrawal of PETER WICKHAM from writing articles for the Nation and the risk of the halting of CALL IN SHOWS, and from what I have been reading and what I have heard that this gov’t has undertaken illegal means to tap into private citizens telephone calls, text messages and internet activity such as the interception of emails etc, this was facility was first introduced with the CWC and has since been put into active use to control and monitor the actions of those not favourable to the DICTATOR.

  6. reality check

    in two days it will be the New Year and two weeks before an election.

    Can we look forward to a real political manifesto of fundamental change or is the fearless DLP leader going to continue to hide in a corner?

    It is really quite absurd that he has not differentiated himself from the “tiefs and incompetents” in power?

  7. Bush tea

    The “special thing” about Barbados is that , just when you are about to give up in despair and concede that all is lost, along come an article like this that reminds you that there ARE some wise, perceptive and caring Bajans out there that remain uncontaminated by the wishy washy nonsense that we have come to accept ever since Sandifordself-destructed the DLP.
    Thanks Mr Hewitt.

    Not all of us are fooled by the hype…
    What “lowest ever unemployment what?!?

    ..any one can ‘define’ a problem away…. what are the numbers of ‘voluntary idle?”

    What really does it for me is the contempt with which these BLP people hold ordinary Bajans

    …..refusing to ADDRESS questions raised about major issues involving Millions of dollars
    …refusing to disclaim association with the VILE comments on these blogs from alleged BLP supporters
    …refusing to address direct allegations of BRIBERY at the highest level
    …telling us we never had it so good -as if we can’t judge for ourselves how ‘it’ is.

    ….with our very BALLOTS tainted with a tracking system they must mean that we’ve never been ‘had’ so good….

  8. Hants

    Bush Tea says…….”What “lowest ever unemployment what?!?”

    The Government should thank the thousands of self employed roadside food and drink vendors,nut, fruit and ackee vendors, increased number of near shore fishermen etc.

    I am sure they make a significant contribution to “employment statistics”.

  9. John

    “How long is too long if it’s good?”

    Wasn’t that the last slogan we heard from a party in its third term and looking for its fourth?

    It doesn’t irk like the statement made by Owen at his nomination but it contains similar sentiments.

    The problem is that none of the parties can be trusted and the more quickly they move the better.

    Barbados has too few resources to be trusted to one set of power hungry cliques for too long.

    All parties have the potential to throw up tin pot dictators because of the nature of party politics, a leader and top brass, those who make up the number and unquestioning loyalty.

    That’s why Dennis Kellman is like a breath of fresh air. There are times when he speaks his mind that he appears to be out of his mind but at least he speaks his mind and most times he is right.

    We could do with a few more DK’s in the two parties to keep them if not honest, then at least always on the alert and slightly off balance.

    It is difficult to stick your hand in the cookie jar on the top shelf if the chair you are standing on is even slightly unstable.

  10. Yardbroom

    When a Government of over a decade of mismanagement, calls a general election to seek a fourth term of office, and commentators criticise the opposition party in trenchant terms, under the guise that they are being even-handed, it makes no sense at all.

    The best ideas, however eloquently articulated, are worth nothing, until you are in Government and can implement them.

    The order and magnitude of criticism, aimed at the opposition must be different to that directed against the BLP. Not to understand that, is to take no cognizance of the responsibility of holding office.

  11. Rey.

    Father Hewitt,
    This has to be one of the best articles posted in the Bajan blogosphere with regards to the situation in B’dos at this time. That took some guts since you could have written it anonymously. It has given me some encouragement that all is not lost in B’dos since most of us are hiding behind strange names while having some really serious opinions.
    If we are afraid now, just give it some more time and we will see.
    You must be commended since you have some position in this society and you have dared to go against the grain where we hide in the crowd. I hope it was not too difficult or heart wrenching cause’ there is bound to be some sort of backlash even if only from + John Barbados.
    I listened to Att. at Law Douglas Trotman today on Brasstacks and must commend him as well for pointing out some of the finer points of the law in connection with the selected election date. This country definitely needs more sons and daughters like you and Mr. Trotman who are not afraid to stand alone. I salute you both and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your stance which to my mind is obviously based on patriotism and not on partisan politics.

  12. John

    Yardbroom

    It doesn’t matter which one, they all do it and will continue to do it. Capturing and holding on to government is the whole aim of the political parties. Power is addictive.

    Isn’t the solution twofold:

    1. Keep them moving and off balance and more importantly

    2. Remove the fear of the ordinary citizen from standing up and being counted, not only at election, but every hour of every day afterwards.

    Bajans even fear the election process and the fact/possibility that how they vote may be known.

    Each has to change that fear into power, the opposition or government won’t. So what if I vote DLP this time and it is known.

    One day we might actually get to vote for candidiates who we are reasonably assured will do good for our country and who if he/she errs will do the right thing without waiting to be found out.

    If that candidiate knows we voted for him/her then maybe our vote may be treated with respect. Soon it won’t matter whether our identities are known or not.

    I understand the attractiveness of a truly secret ballot but we don’t have it and Owen sure isn’t going to give it to us in the next two weeks. It doesn’t work like that.

    I am willing to bet that even if the DLP got in nothing would change. They will be evenhanded and the ballot process would remain.

    We have a lemon, so make lemonade. Treat the parties equally!!! All are a necessary evil, keep them moving before they fester.

    It is only when people become unafraid of the politicians and the political process and are willing to step forward and be counted that Barbados will approach its true potential.

    That is why the lesson of Greenland is so important. I cannot think of a single instance in the past 12 years when ordinary Bajans behaved so extraordinarily and all within the four corners of the law.

    Think about it, until now, not a single pound of garbage has been deposited at Greenland and this is right through the halcyon days of the BLP!!

    It is the single bright light that overpowers the darkness of the era of the politics of inclusion where in exchange for heaven only knows what, those who had principles abandoned them for new ones, perhaps good, perhaps bad.

    How many former DLP’s crossed to the BLP and why? …. and if the DLP wins, how many BLP’s will cross to the DLP? Don’t for one instant think that the politics of inclusion are the sole preserve of one man!!

    The parties are one in the same!! I say treat them equally, keep them moving, keep cussing them and keep them on their toes and off balance!!

    Expect more from each candidate and we will get it.

    We don’t have to settle for less …. but it is a choice and of course, we can make that choice.

  13. centipede

    I’d suggest that the Government is more or less run by the Civil Servants and the various Permanent Secretaries – from whom the ‘politicians’ generally get insight from.

    I dont think the DLP, if they win, will brashly cause the ‘econnomy’ to crash.

    People have a way, when something is thrust upon them, of rising to meet the challenge.

  14. Lady Anon

    With all the glaring reasons why the BLP should not be returned to power, Mr. Arthur’s comment made my blood run cold.

    To my mind, for that alone the BLP should be booted out on their collective a$$es.

  15. Bajanboy

    Well done Guy. I mirror your sentiments exactly.

  16. Jerome Hinds

    It is to be expected that the BLP apologists in this country would condemn the DLP…..when the issue of Accountabilty & Transparency arises !

    No one expected Chris Gayle to do as well as he did as a LEADER !

    But if we did not give him a chance how would we have known ?

    David Thompson was a MINISTER of the CROWN before Owen ARTHUR !

    Owen Arthur became a PRIME MINISTER before David Thompson !

    If David Thompson is not given a chance to lead Barbados…..how can we judge him as a PRIME MINISTER ?

    Owen Arthur by his ACTIONS & WORDS has demonstrated to right thinking Barbadians that he is preparing Barbados for a path of DICTATORSHIP !

    Pakistan……like Barbados is part of the COMMONWEALTH !

    So too is……ZIMBABWE !

  17. John

    Jerome

    Leadership is not as crucial as it is made out to be. I have always chuckled when this is thrown up to try to differentiate between Owen and David.

    Look Dwayne Bravo led the same West Indies in the 20/20, or 13/13 and won. Chris Gayle was not even on the field.

    That made me feel great too.

    Cometh the hour cometh the man … or men or women!!

    … and the hour surely cometh!!

  18. bigman175

    let us get the people’s out to vote the B L P out of office so that Owen Arthur will not get to be a dictator in this BARBADOS

  19. frankology

    Leadership is not as crucial as it is made out to be. I have always chuckled when this is thrown up to try to differentiate between Owen and David.
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Fantastic observation. I submit that this is not an election based on leadership, it is simply based ‘on a time for change’. If this was the first term and people had to decide it would be an unanimous call for leadership, this is where David will fail, because leaders must be precise, concise, effective and most of all have the guts to stand by a decision. Leadership is not a community based operation, it is rubbing shoulders with hard core international fundamentalists. It is about standing alone for your fundamental rights even when your Caricom colleagues think otherwise, it is about showing the Super Powers that we are not here only for hand-outs but to show them we are equal to them, it is about advancing the cause for our people to be proud of achievements that will propel us to greater heights, it is not about personal vendettas, small talk or hiding from problems that you might have incurred, but to stand up and take your lashes like a man/woman. You must not comment or react to simple in-house matters that can be solved by anyone from your team
    This is what you call “Leadership”.

    ******************

    BFP Comments

    You are only partially correct Frankology. A “great leader” has such leadership skills that he or she can lead us all to hell and bankruptcy before we know it.

    A “good leader” has a foundation of integrity and honesty as core values that are expressed by actions. Neither Owen Arthur nor David Thompson have embraced integrity, honesty and ethical behaviour as their foundation. David Thompson MAY be a moral man or not – he certainly hasn’t embraced integrity as a place where he wants to lead this country, but Arthur and his colleagues are proven thieves out for personal profit.

    Without effective integrity legislation and other rules made into laws with real penalties for violation of standards, Bajans have two choices this time around… 1/ proven thieves 2/ thieves in waiting.

    While we can see that a “new broom” might lower the thieving for a time, without the immediate introduction of effective integrity legislation, conflict of interest rules and freedom of information for citizens, a DLP government would soon be as bad as the BLP.

  20. Fred

    It is with real sadness that I sat in on a political discussion and was told by a highly respected person in society here that he was awoken by a display of gross arrogance and misuse of public offiice when in discussions with mottley about the illegally hired Chinese workers at Paradise that at the end of this meeting that he and two others from his group were pulled aside and mottley proceeded to tell them to shut up and tow the line or else this same group would be visited by the Inland Revenue office and they would undergo a TAX AUDIT, when political power can reach this far and then be willing to be so ruthless and callous it is scary.

    If she or it believes that this display of the use of power is the way forward then we the citizens need to subdue it instanly

  21. John

    An American president (?) once said leadership is about figuring out where the people are going and getting in front. Wish I could remember who.

    Clive Lloyd did not magically wake up one morning after being beaten 5-1 in 1975 and decide to become a great leader.

    I believe 15 or so West Indians decided enough was enough. He happened to be one. They decided to become the team which would lead the world in cricket.

    Likewise, Allan Border or Mark Taylor or whoever was the Australian captain in 1995 when Australia deposed the West Indies didn’t wake up one day and become a great leader. It was 15 or so Australians who decided enough was enough and put an end to the WI domination.

    All of what happened in WI and Australian cricket would have happened with or without the captains.

    What was caused to happen by those Australians and West Indians is however what made their captains great.

    We Barbadians need to get up of our rear ends and make our country right. It really does not matter who happens to be leader at the time. This something we have to do ourselves.

    Sarawan must be cursing his luck that now is the time he chose to get injured because it looks as though now is the time that a bunch of West Indians has finally decided to make things right.

    Poor fellow!! Maybe he will get back the captaincy when he gets fit, maybe not. If he isn’t careful he might have to fight real hard just to get back in the team!

    I think this first class season in the West Indies might just be worth watching as there will be many with a point to prove …… we’ll see what happens also in South Africa.

    Here’s hoping!!

    All the best for the New Year.

  22. caribdude

    Well! Well!and again well said
    My mind has been made up, and that letter seals the lid on the capsule
    Well written Mr Hewitt

  23. frankology

    Without effective integrity legislation and other rules made into laws with real penalties for violation of standards, Bajans have two choices this time around… 1/ proven thieves 2/ thieves in waiting.
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    The Bees have no intentions in implementing it.
    The Dees speak about it, promise it, say every candidate will submit financial information prior to election day, but alas!, the Dees behaving like Bees and the Bees breathing a sight of relief, because the Dees rescinding on a promise.

    I concur with you.

  24. yatinkinkiteasy

    Dear friends at BFP,
    While I think Guy Hewitts letter is very well written, I do not appreciate BFP making available to him my e mail address so that my inbox (never mind it goes into “Junk” mail) is hit with his uninvited letter. I joined BFP to read such contributions and make my own contributions, not to have my e mail address distributed to others.
    Thanks for discontinuing this practice!

    *************************

    BFP Replies

    Hello Yatinkinkiteasy…

    Barbados Free Press did NOT make your email address available to anyone. We do know that Barbados Forum copied Mr. Hewitts’ letter from our article and sent it to everyone on their email list…

    So if you have any complaint, take it to Barbados Forum.

  25. reality check

    Fred

    tax audits and other form of intimidation, used by Mottley, Owen, Simmons and others as a means of keeping people in line has been going on for years.

    These people masquerading as experts familiar with the Law are really just abusers and terrorists of fundamental democratic principles and need locking up.

    These actions could only be implemented with the full knowledge and complicity of some of the bureaucrats.

  26. John, BFP, and Frankology i respectfully submit that none of your laudable defines of Leadership can be a true fit for what we have as the office of the Leader of the Country in Barbados.

    1: How effective can the Leader be if he is only first amongs his equals and on whom he must continualy rely for his position?

    2:How can we have honesty and integrity in Leadership if the Leader must at all times be prepared to use patronage/corruption to maintain his Leadership position amongst his equals?

    3:The Leadership of Barbados is indeed a COMMUNITY BASE OPERATION. The community being Parliament and more specifically the community of his parliamentary party members. Mia Mottley puts it best by saying “we the parliamentary party of the BLP have choosen Owen Seymour Arthur, In whom we are well please,.. to be our leader” In other words if they ever stop being please with him he cannot be first amongst the equals.

  27. yatinkinkiteasy

    Hi BPF…thanks for the clarification…did not mean to accuse wrongfully…Happy New Year.

  28. John

    Adrian

    Strictly speaking, Owen Arthur is not the leader of Barbadians, he is our Prime Minister, a post created by us for which he is paid.

    There are only two leaders in Parliament that come to mind, the “leader” of the opposition and the “leader” of Government business.

    Like the post of Prime Minister these posts are created and carry a salary.

    If we ever do get a true leader it will not be necessary to repeat ad nauseum that he or she is the leader.

    In all probability he/she will also not be paid.

  29. The most popular television show in the United States is currently ‘CSI’ (Crime
    Scene Investigations). The ship owner could see that the captain had paid the on going rate and the merchants were
    all given the same opportunities to offer their services.
    It is a fact that 10 billion farmed animals die each year to become
    meat products for the American public.

    Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite
    reason seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of.
    I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they plainly do not know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a
    signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks