“Grenville… have you ever thought of running as an independent candidate for Parliament? Go ahead, put your name on the ballot. Don’t even bother with a traditional campaign. You might be very surprised by what happens.”
Barbados Free Press to Grenville Phillips II in our post One man takes on the cause: Most houses in Barbados unsafe construction
Grenville Phillips II lays out what it will take to get him to run…
I apologize for this delayed response to your suggestion that I consider running as an Independent candidate, but I had to carefully count the cost – which I have done.
As I pondered your suggestion, coincidentally, the same day’s Nation newspaper (Saturday Sun 26 May 2012) reported Gray ‘Doc’ Brome’s response to similar encouragements:
“Not interested. Not interested in the least. I’m disgusted with politics. I’m disgusted with politicians.”
Gray ‘Doc’ Brome as quoted in The Nation
If what followed was accurately reported, then in my opinion, Brome provided the most informed and honest summary analysis of the Barbados political system, that has been unmatched by my reading of any of the popular political scientists over the past 25 years. Brome’s analysis is instructive, since he appeared to have entered the political system with a desire to help people advance. The newspaper reported the following.
“Brome blames people who enter politics for personal empowerment only for a lot of the problems facing the average constituent today.”
Brome determined that it was in the politician’s best interest to keep people living “hand-to-mouth” “from pay check to pay cheque”, and concluded that the entitlement culture “had reduced the entrepreneurial spirit among young people.”
In Barbados, we have seen politicians appear to attempt to ruin the reputations of anyone not in their current favour and without warning. They appear to use rhetorical language to divide us rather than unite us in a common goal. The question that I have periodically asked myself is: Why?
Will Grenville run?
Mr Brome has diagnosed two root causes of the problems with Barbados’ political system through his advocacy for a “new breed of politician” that is “less likely to go on power trips or get into politics simply to get rich.” Therefore, the root causes appear to be the motivating desire within our politicians for power and/or money.
With Gray Brome’s informed perspective of the problems, and definition of their root causes, the solution becomes obvious – remove the money and power ‘magnets’ that attract the type of politicians who have a vested interest in keeping the masses at a subsistence economic level.
How can this be done? The following appears to be an efficient and effective solution.
1. Discourage the ‘career politician’ by removing any pension benefits from a politician’s remuneration. Therefore, they will have to rely on their pensions from their pre and post political careers. This should attract ‘Doc’ Brome’s new breed of politician who simply wishes to serve, rather than one who mainly wishes to get re-elected in order to secure a lifetime pension.
2. Remove all discretionary powers from Ministers. If a law is badly written, then amend the law rather than allowing a Minister to repeatedly use his/her discretion.
Is the current crop of politicians likely to want to solve these root causes of the problems with our political system? I do not think so. If they damage each-other’s reputations and eat their proverbial young when there is no threat to their pensions and powers, how are they likely to react when an actual threat is perceived? I do not even want to imagine. This presents another problem. How can Barbados benefit from a politician who is not attracted by power or money, and who simply wants all Barbadians to be healthy, wealthy, and wise?
How can this new type of politician co-exist with the career politician gnashing at every perceived threat? Defined this way, the solution becomes obvious – feed them. Allow the current crop to benefit from a lifetime pension as career politicians, but remove the benefit for new entrants. This appears to be a win-win solution.
So, will I run?
I have no desire to endure the frustrations with career politicians that ‘Doc’ Brome reported. Neither do I want to experience the constant threat from career politicians and their ardent supporters who think that I am trying to “take bread from out of their mouths.”
So I asked myself again – will I run? My earnest desire is to have Barbadians healthy, wealthy and wise. However, I am unwilling to pay the sacrifice demanded by the current political system. Therefore, I will only consider running if the pension benefit for all new politicians is removed. If it is not, then I will continue to publicly and privately (as politeness would dictate) offer my best advice, whether solicited or not – which I consider my active duty as an adult citizen.