“A national, learned helplessness”
Barbados – as we all know – is suffering from a dearth of national political leadership, and is currently in a state of crisis and great peril. But the good news is that we are beginning to see positive signs which suggest that the “fight-back” to save and restore Barbados has begun!
These recent positive and hopeful signs of a national “fight-back” consist of such phenomena as:-
(1) the new young leaders that have come to the fore in the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and the Barbados Workers Union (BWU), and the renewed spirit of courage and activism that the Trade Union Movement has begun to exhibit;
(2) the courageous and patriotic Budget reply speech that Opposition leader Mia Mottley recently delivered in the House of Assembly;
(3) the effort recently undertaken by such elder patriots as Sir Henry Forde, Ian Archer, Sir Woodville Marshall, Sir Stephen Emptage and Peter Laurie to propose and design a system of “People’s Initiatives” that would permit the citizens of Barbados to put forward proposals for new pieces of legislation and for changes to the Constitution;
(4) the new effort that is underway to bring together the forces of consciousness and progressive thought in Barbados to address many of the centuries-old problems of Barbadians of African Descent under the unifying banner of the recently proclaimed “United Nations International Decade For People of African Descent”;
(5) the initiatives that have been embarked upon by such notable citizens as Ras Simba, Hal Martin, Onkphra Wells, John Howell, David Denny and others to launch young Barbadians into independent business and artistic activity via such new formations as the African Heritage Foundation and the Pan-African Coalition of Organizations (PACO);
(6) the concerted effort that is now being made by this writer and other citizens such as Bobby Clarke and Muhamad Nassar to expose and put an end to the still existing old colonial practice of conferring outrageously privileged taxpayer-funded Government contracts on a clique of elite Barbadian business-people; and
(7) the admirable initiative undertaken by Messrs Andrew Bynoe and Patrick Frost to highlight and tackle the corrupt practice of “vote buying” that is now routinely engaged in by our Barbadian political class.
What makes these recent developments so encouraging is that they have emerged in a Barbados that has been through a virtually unrelieved ten year period of depression, disappointment and disenchantment, courtesy of a highly deficient and defective national political leadership.
If we go back to the last three years of Mr Owen Arthur’s 2004 to 2008 governmental administration, we will recall that we were saddled with a highly dysfunctional Government that deflated and depressed our nation.
But if we thought that the latter stage of Mr Arthur’s reign was bad, worse was to come with the Democratic Labour Party’s ascension to power in 2008! Under both late Prime Minister David Thompson and current Prime Minister Freundel Stuart our country has been saddled with a pathetic “do little” Government that has preached a message of national helplessness to the people of Barbados over the entire period that they have been in office. Continue reading