“Should the political noose Rawle Eastmond and Mia Mottley have, with their own strengths or weaknesses, thrown above their heads become the last hurrah, then I too shall mourn their mortality.”
The Politicking behind the St. James North Constituency: Quelling a Storm in a Teacup
By George C. Brathwaite
It is with some disinclination that I enter the current political fray regarding matters surrounding the actors and actions situated either in the Barbados Labour Party, its internal constituents, and the general hullabaloo that has been playing out in the constituency of St. James North which is a seat considered to be a stronghold and held by the BLP’s Rawle Eastmond. My disinclination stems from three key positions. Involved in this unmerited public spectacle is a political party that I remain a dedicated and loyal member; my friend is central to the ongoing debates; and thirdly, as a student of politics, I am a strong advocate for democratic traditions and the placing of the good of the collective people above the ambitions of individuals whose agendas are seldom fully known.
I turn now to the substantive though overblown debates. From the onset, I need to emphasise that most of the fuss relating to the allegations about a ‘padded list’ and the future candidature of the current Member of Parliament for the constituency, Rawle Eastmond, are simplistic but divisive. On two counts the simplicity can easily be established and I will explain these before getting to the more critical aspect of divisiveness.
Firstly, there are set procedures for becoming a member of the Barbados Labour Party and, in following those procedures, the Member of Parliament does not have an exclusive hand in attracting, recruiting, or approving the membership of persons desirous of joining the institution.
This notwithstanding, effective stewardship and plain common sense has a part to play in the signing on and vetting of new members so as to minimise the chances wherein one’s “branch and good work” could become “infiltrated” as Ms. Cynthia Forde alluded to in her support for Mr. Rawle Eastmond’s claim.
No “infiltration of DLP operatives” in St. James North
Eastmond suggested that the St. James North branch of the BLP has been affected by the infiltration of operatives to its membership given that the “enemy is out there, and the enemy is the Democratic Labour Party.” In fact, prior to and in keeping with good practice in relation to the BLP’s annual conference and the selection of delegates, such list would have been vetted and updated. As far as I am aware, there are persons who are members of the BLP that previously held membership in the DLP.
This situation has not nor does it taint the current membership of former DLPites existing in the BLP. Eastmond’s is a non-point unless he can clearly identify the individuals who have joined, either by their effort or others’ efforts to become members of the BLP for reasons other than advancing the cause of the BLP.
It is in my estimation that those individuals who are actively canvassing the constituency and seeking to gain the candidature will of necessity translate verbal support into writing and paid membership. That process of itself is not unusual nor is it detrimental to the party provided that good sense, acute awareness for maintaining that support, and that the party’s internal mechanisms scrutinise before endorsement takes place. All of this is usually aligned with the request for membership in advancing the objectives of the BLP.
The second key factor that brings absurdity to the exaggerated controversy is the confusing and continuing fluctuation of the incumbent. Eastmond is on record as having signalled since 2008 a number of important things for which we can draw conclusions. Rawle Eastmond has stated on several occasions that this would be his final term in the Barbados House of Assembly providing his high-standard representation for the people of St. James North.
In addition, Eastmond on more than one occasion has endorsed one or the other potential candidate, and at the same time, he has sought to reason why one particular candidate and not the other. Less he forget, this writer who is an ardent supporter and friend of his, has in the past suggested to him that he ought to allow the nomination process to work and thereafter endorse whoever becomes the winning candidate.
“Rumours, perceptions, and actual infelicities…” Continue reading