“Independent candidates are the beginning of the next wave of political development in modern Barbados.”
A Role for Independent Politicians
The author prefers to remain anonymous
The political landscape of post-independence Barbados has been, and continues to be defined by an unhealthy rigidity perpetuated by the two-party system. In the midst of the General Election of 2013, this model of governance stands outdated and ineffective to the needs of a modern Barbados. The reality of this election is that the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour party no longer enjoy an overwhelming vote of confidence by Barbadians. Record levels of dissatisfaction with both major political parties have been noted and continue to increase rapidly throughout this election cycle. The choice in the frankest of terms to the average voter is the choice for the lesser of two evils.
Modern Governance and Democracy ought not to and can no longer hinge upon the choice of a lesser evil.
In a country replete with a cadre of intellectual, capable and hardworking individuals the choice must be a choice of, and combination of visionaries that reflect what is genuinely best for national development. When almost half of Barbados reject both the Democratic Labour Party and the Barbados Labour Party and would vote for an independent candidate if given the opportunity, it is evident that Barbadians are dissatisfied with the limited options available.
The distrust, reluctance and unease with which the average Barbadians view politicians of both major political parties prevent our best minds and hands from entering into this aspect of national development. This cannot be acceptable. The reality of a small island developing state such as Barbados is that we need all hands on decks and we cannot afford this suboptimal use of our resources. The reality is that we need a collection of voices to make Barbados work for every Barbadian. The simple reality is that Independent voices are needed to address the magnitude of the challenges facing us.
If we are to meaningfully ensure that every Barbadian feels a true sense of connection to our political landscape, Independent voices are needed now more than ever.
Neither party has a full slate of viable solutions to the development challenges of Barbados in the 21st Century to ensure a sustainable and just Barbados. The challenges of a recession, of a rapidly changing global economy and increasingly reduced external inputs and aid are all challenges that we face. If we are to address the urgent need of diversification to enhance our competitiveness in the global market place while enhancing the social landscape of Barbados, the ability to critique as opposed to blind consent is necessary. The increasingly dichotomous and regimented nature of partisan positions, intellectual dishonesty and political gimmickry evident in today’s politics must be addressed, and an Independent voice stands as the doorway to that elevation of our politics.
The political choice of our modern democracy can no longer be a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. An independent candidate today has the opportunity to stand in a tangible way as the beginning of the next wave of political development in modern Barbados. The advantage of the Independent Candidate is the ability to stand for principle, to bring alternatives perspectives for Barbados’ development while helping and gaining the confidence of Barbadians who no longer find a sense of representation in either major political party. In 2013, it is clear that an independent candidate is needed in none less than the fierce urgency of now.