Re-visiting the DLP Victory – January 2008
Friends, let’s take another look at the article we published on January 16, 2008 and your comments at the time. By request we are going to leave this article at the top for a few days.
Remember the pride we felt that Barbados would now have the integrity legislation, freedom of information access and conflicts of interest rules so citizens could hold our elected and appointed officials accountable?
Remember the joy?
Here’s what one DLP supporter had to say at the time…
January 16, 2008 at 9:36 am
This election was won because the people of Barbados had an opportunity, – denied in the recent past – to really see what goes on in Barbadian politics.
The Blogs played a decisive part, and you BFP was as the vanguard, no praise is too high. What BFP did was expose the underbelly of Barbadian politics. There was then a reason, for Integrity Legislation and your “constant position” on the subject meant it had to be addressed. The DLP responded to the wishes of the people, as they had to, and as a result we awake this morning, 16th January 2008 to the change we had all hoped for – at least on this blog.
Sadly, “Yardbroom” and most of the DLP diehards haven’t been seen too much around Barbados Free Press since a few months after the election when they realized that Bajans had been fooled again. Too bad the DLP supporters’ fervor for Integrity Legislation and Accountability disappeared with the DLP’s election victory.
Have a read of what BFP and you the readers had to say back in January 2008. Remember the joy?
Original article as published January 16, 2008…
Would The DLP Have Promised Integrity Legislation Without Pressure From The Blogs?
Tomorrow, January 17, 2008, is the second anniversary of Barbados Free Press. For two long years this blog has called for Integrity Legislation, Conflict of Interest rules and Freedom of Information laws to combat the corruption that seems endemic to our political system.
In April of 2007, our friends at Barbados Underground came online and joined BFP in the call to end corruption and to demand accountability from those elected and appointed government officials who spend our tax dollars.
The DLP Resisted Integrity Legislation Until The Very Last Moment
In mid-2006 when the BLP government under Owen Arthur refused our calls to implement integrity legislation – with King Arthur himself declaring that he didn’t think it was needed in Barbados because we are all so honest on this small island – BFP stepped up our efforts to have the Opposition Democratic Labour Party embrace integrity legislation and all that goes with it.
The response from the DLP was as cold as ice. Integrity Legislation was simply not on the agenda for the DLP throughout 2006 and 2007.
Dr. Denis Lowe
We weren’t the first to try and convince the DLP of the need for integrity legislation. Back in 2004, Dr. Denis Lowe, a well-spoken man of good character and far-reaching vision, tried to push his party to adopt what he called a “Charter for Change”. Integrity legislation was but one part of Dr. Lowe’s vision, but the DLP responded to his call with stony silence. (See BFP’s article DLP Candidate Called For Integrity Legislation In 2004 – Charter For Change)
There are stories (not from Dr. Lowe) that a few senior DLP members told him to “shut up” about integrity legislation. It is said that these same people within the DLP later pressured Opposition Leader David Thompson to ignore the issue throughout 2006 and 2007.
In September of 2006, DLP leader David Thompson stated publicly on Brass Tacks radio that he favoured Integrity Legislation for elected officials – although his comments seemed to limit this to a disclosure of assets.
That was the only time in two years that the DLP spoke about integrity legislation – until January 3, 2008 when, in the middle of the election campaign, David Thompson revealed his integrity initiative at a press conference.
Barbados Free Press called it “A good start – but too little, too late” and stated our doubts about the DLP’s sincerity when we discovered that some of the DLP’s documents had been cut & pasted from the internet only two weeks before the press conference. (See BFP’s January 4, 2008 article David Thompson Reveals DLP’s Integrity and Freedom Of Information Plans – Much Cut and Pasted From The Internet Only A Few Days Ago)
Public Response To DLP’s Embracing Integrity Issues
Within a few days of the January 3rd press conference though, BFP sensed a change in the public mood. Although the DLP had been hammering away at the Hardwood Housing scandal since September of 2007, the public had been viewing it as just one more political dogfight between two equally guilty political parties. If it was Hardwood with the BLP this time, it would be something else with the DLP next time.
With nothing to differentiate the DLP from the BLP in terms of anti-corruption policies, the Hardwood Housing scandal was perceived as merely another name-calling contest.
That public apathy and cynicism all changed on January 3rd when David Thompson announced that the DLP would introduce Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information laws within 100 days of forming a new government.
We felt something new on the street – a shift from “they are all the same” to a willingness to give Thompson and the DLP the benefit of the doubt. After we heard Thompson speak at a mass meeting on the weekend, all six of us at Barbados Free Press came out with an election endorsement of David Thompson and the DLP.
In the mere eleven days between the Integrity Legislation press conference and the vote, there was a massive swing to the DLP – we believe in good part because by declaring a commitment to Integrity Legislation, David Thompson captured many voters who may not have given the DLP a chance.
So We Ask A Few Questions Of Barbados Voters…
– How much did the DLP’s promise of Integrity Legislation impact the election?
– Would the DLP have declared a commitment to Integrity Legislation without the pressure from Barbados blogs?
– In the two years prior to this election, how much impact did Bajan blogs have upon making voters conscious of corruption by the BLP government and the need for Integrity Legislation, Freedom of Information etc.?
– How much overall impact do you perceive the blogs had upon the election process and the outcome?