submitted by Not Michael Carrington
“Rare indeed is a Barbados Cabinet Minister without a bank account in New York, London, the Caymans or Zurich.”
Every few months we hear rumbling from our esteemed political elites that the Westminster parliamentary system is somehow “obsolete” or that it no longer fits a modern society.
Speaker of Parliament Michael Carrington recently said the Westminster system “pits Government and Opposition inexorably against each other in aggressive, contentious and oftimes seemingly unnecessary confrontation.”
Mr. Carrington has it only half right. The two parties often go at it aggressively and unnecessarily, but not because of the Westminster system – it is because they feel the need to put on a show for the electorate to create the illusion that something is happening. The politicians certainly can’t have the public judging them solely upon actual accomplishments because, well, that just wouldn’t do. This would happen no matter what political system Barbados chose.
The current self-destruction in the Barbados Labour Party has actually made Parliament a more peaceful environment. Oh, the BLP will recover alright, but it will take five or eight years and Mia Mottley will have to go. On second thought, Mottley is young enough that it might take another 15 years for the BLP to recover is she stays around.
And what are the political fights about really? Every one of them is really about the spoils of political victory. Just think of it: the winners of the election get the keys to the treasury of this small island nation – and those keys come without any rules whatsoever concerning conflicts of interest, asset disclosure or oversight of spending.
Each generation of Barbados politicians of both parties has promised integrity legislation and freedom of information access for decades. And every time it gets close to passing, parliament puts it on the back burner until another election kills it in process.
So why would the politicians love to dump the Westminster system? They don’t really want to get rid of our current system – they need something to talk about to keep the public’s eyes and minds off the decades of skimming from the public purse.
Rare indeed is a Barbados Cabinet Minister without a bank account in New York, London, the Caymans or Zurich.