What Prime Minister Thompson’s illness means for Barbados

Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson informed Bajans and the world that he is seriously ill and is leaving the country for two months to seek medical treatment. (See The Nation: PM on two months’ sick leave)

Each of us at Barbados Free Press continues to pray for the PM and his family and wishes him a speedy recovery.

There was much discussion at our regular Friday meeting about how BFP should cover the story of the PM’s illness and what it means to Barbados. There is a natural inclination to back off criticising the PM during his personal troubles and we are struggling about how to balance our concern for our country while still supporting David Thompson and his family.

Restrained BLP Opposition & Press

We are not the only ones dealing with these questions. We notice that the BLP Opposition members and the news media have been very restrained of late with any criticism of the Prime Minister or his policies.

This is a normal reaction to the situation. No matter our politics we all care for David Thompson the person and his loved ones – but does this mean that effective political debate in Barbados must stop for the next two or three months or more until the Prime Minister recovers?

Changes have already started

During his press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Thompson understandably delivered a message of reassurance that the country was in good hands with Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and that his temporary absence would in no way impact the daily operations of the civil service or the government’s leadership and direction for Barbados.

But that simply isn’t 100% true and we all know it. The potential of David Thompson’s prolonged absence from the DLP leadership has already impacted the political debate and quiet backroom discussions in Barbados.

MIa Mottley

On the BLP side, Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley and others are considering what it means in the next election if David Thompson does not return to public life.

Although no one is impolite enough to say it openly (except for us, of course), potential successors within the DLP are quietly assessing their chances and consolidating support. We have ourselves heard talk and received a few insider emails that DLP strategists are discussing how to best utilize and prolong the public sympathy for David Thompson. Hartley Henry and the backroom boys hope that public sympathy for Thompson will translate into forgiveness for the DLP’s failure to implement so many promised reforms.

Let’s not kid ourselves folks. David Thompson’s message that his prolonged absence will have little or no effect on the country is untrue and unrealistic. Already the political crabs in a barrel are beginning their crawl.

This article is based upon a draft received from BFP reader “Kurt”. Editing and additional writing by Cliverton.


Filed under Barbados, Politics

12 responses to “What Prime Minister Thompson’s illness means for Barbados

  1. Donald Duck Esq,

    Who ever is left to run the government has got to start taking serious decisions about clico

    We understood that government had a firm producing a paper on the state of the Barbados operations of clico. Where is that?

    The oversight committee has completed its term of service. Does that mean that whoever is left running clico can do what they want?

    Here is the latest on the Trinidad side of clico


    Is Leroy Parris retired, rehired or reworked?

    No doubt he is still calling the shots!!!!

  2. My Name Is Not Sylvan.....

    I deeply sympathise with PM Thompson and wish him a speedy recovery. But I do have to think that this country is bigger than any one man. The affairs of state wait for no man, Mr. Thompson has realised this and has stepped aside to address his personal health issues and to allow the ship of state to sail on.

    In a similar vein, Mr. Thompson being on sick leave does not act as a “pass” for this administration to escape criticism. Criticism of the DLP Government policies is not a criticism of a man at a time of personal crisis, it is criticism of a moribund administration that is failing Barbadians. Attempts by DLP party members to say “Our leader is sick “go easy” on us” are merely trying to milk one man’s personal problems for political benefit.

    Barbadians did not elect David Thompson to run the country they elected this party (okay St. John people did elect DJT) Mr. Thompson’s illness does not excuse the party from it’s manifesto that it seems to have abandoned.

    Mr. Thompson’s illness does not excuse the DLP from having to explain why despite coming in on a platform of “cost of living, cost of living, cost of living” the cost of living continues to soar.

    Mr. Thompson’s illness doesn’t stop the DLP from having to explain why the party that championed free education is about to take away free health care.

    Mr. Thompson’s illness doesn’t stop the DLP from being answerable for the state of the country’s economy.

    Any DLP member who attempts to say that it does, is trying to exploit Mr. Thompson’s illness for political purposes.

  3. john

    David Thompson the man is ill & our thoughts are with him & his family at this time.

    David Thompson the leader of Government is not exempt from critisms of the policies of the DLP. There are serious issues to be dealt with in Barbados & the media of all types has a duty to question the politicians at all times with regard to the decisions they make. If the government is scared of transparency, the people must demand it louder.

    David Thompson is an elected leader of government, therefore the people have a right to know what is ailing him. You do not have “major surgery” if you don’t know why. He has a duty to inform the people of Barbados. Too much is done in darkness & this is one more instance of the DLP treating the country like mushrooms – kept in the dark & fed bullsh.t.

    Once agian David Thompson, the man, friend, husband & father, our thoughts are with you & we wish you a speedy recovery.

  4. Bonjour

    I agree with Sylvan that no one man is bigger than an island. But I see no indicaion that the Government Ministers have stopped workng because of PM’s illness.

    What concerns me is the DLP’s consisent failure to have good PR (not talking abou HH). hey need t better explain wha they do and don’t do ad why. I still believe that the right decision was made to change from the BLP in Jan 2008.

    As for free education and healthcare, I have neiher seen nor heard this Government will stop either one. Rather I have seen a good attempt at least by Minister Inniss to explain that healthcare is not really free but does cost quite a bit and has asked Bajans to stop abusing the system. This seems like a sensible position. It is our money that is wasted.

    I never knew that the wages bill is $9 million per month or electricity is $465,000 per month at QEH! At least that Minister is not afraid to tell the truth and identify solutions.

    Anyhow, I wish PM well but reality is that consideration of replacement is in order. That is a matter that the DLP should be discussing inhouse quietly but forcibly. The country will not wait too long.

  5. Do we deserve the same thing?

    “Who ever is left to run the government has got to start taking serious decisions about clico”

    Clico is just another example of a country without ITAL and FOI.

    This was the promise.

    This was the failure

    Issues without principles, integrity and leadership to follow through are meaningless.

  6. Pingback: Global Voices in English » Barbados: The PM’s Health

  7. David G. Brooks

    The promise of details of the diagnosis when from 2 weeks to 3 and then 4 … nothing materialised. Speculation, after all of this waiting started to be rampant, unfortunate but not unnatural when ni material information is forth-coming.

    Two (2) months sick leave has now turned into 3 months and that seems to have been extended yet again, and still no word – Bajans (and others) are waiting patiently but how long will that last.

    I understand the PM and his family’s right to privacy but when you enter public life there is some aspects of that personal privacy that you give up – one may not like that but it is a fact of life, especially a political life and more so as a leader of a country.

    There have been other world leaders that have some illness when in office and at least some measure of ‘real’ information was given to the public. Our situation here is reminiscent of Castro’s ordeal in Cuba and I would even venture to say that we probably heard more about him than we have of our own Prime Minister at this stage. I hope for the best but the lack of some information is probably beginning to wear thin on most of us.

    I also find it very odd, and most eerily so, that a video presentation of the life of David Thompson was shown at the DPL Conference last weekend!

    Didn’t anyone else wonder about this as well?

  8. Pingback: We know more about Castro’s illness than about Prime Minister Thompson’s health « Barbados Free Press

  9. my taughts and prays goes out to david and his family but the show goes own this comming election rumers are that that a new face is going to emerge on the political seen and the blp and the dlp is going to be shock tea party a new form of goverment plp people labour party

  10. i do not know why the people of barbados arent informe more about david illness his cancer is not operational onley way is a treatment call kemo is a radeation and the effect is weight loss bolding insome cases and it leave the bodey weak this infermation come from the tea party the people labour party will always inform the people of barbados our moto is elected by the people for the people go tea party

  11. cat eyes

    Tea Party needs to add alphabet soup to menu.