The past few days were intriguing, to say the least. First, we heard that a Cabinet decision was made to exchange Independence Day with Barbados National Day.
After an enormous uproar on social media, the call-in programmes and elsewhere, the day after we heard that the choice can be carried back to Cabinet. Today, we were told Cabinet reversed the choice and Independence Day, as we understand it, stays, for now.
Amusing, though, is that Government spokesman Wilfred Abrahams said: “I’m a member of the Government that listens and as we’ve done prior to now we’ve listened to the voice of the people.”
If that were totally true there would have been a forum for the people to talk and perhaps vote on becoming a Republic and on which day to rejoice that occasion. Each of those decisions were made without the input of the people.
But there have been two things that happened that were heartening for democracy.
Firstly, Bajans from all walks of life voiced loudly their disapproval of the move. Many demanded that November 30 needed to be Independence Day. Many called for a boycott of any events planned to watch Barbados National Day. Memes, tik-toks, videos and voice notes began to make the rounds. Bajans were in a single accord, for probably the most part, with a couple of struggling to justify the move.
God Bless Bim on Independence Day by The Merrymen and RPB’s Problems with the Day became the 2 favourite songs from which to cite. The undeniable fact that Barbadians were assured last yr that the day wouldn’t be modified incensed them much more.
The people’s actions sent a convincing message to the powers that be. A lot in order that not even an announcement from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley could cause them to stop and settle. Telling also was the undeniable fact that a sitting BLP MP Marsha Caddle, posted on her facebook page, her disapproval of her Government’s decision.
The reality is the people appear to have had enough! Remember it was just weeks ago that lots of marched against the IDB survey administered by the Ministry of Education and called for the minister’s head. Days after the march, news broke that a sitting MP was charged with rape. In recent times, tensions have been growing among the many populace because it pertains to the governance.
The second thing concerning the saga value mentioning was the response by the Democratic Labour Party. Actually, it was the leader Dr Ronnie Yearwood who began a web-based petition demanding the choice be reversed.
Dr Yearwood’s language on the DLP’s press conference was strong and combative. His presentation was in contrast to the style he has tackled other issues prior to now.
It needs to be apparent to the DLP that the people of Barbados need them even in the event that they don’t understand it. However the president, his hierarchy, or the bottom, mustn’t see the name reversal as a celebration victory since it simply will not be. There’s a lot work still to be done to be able to defend the interest of the people.
Too many issues are going unchecked and decisions unchallenged.
Having all 30 seats in Parliament, and a big Cabinet of senior ministers and ministers, gives the ruling party plenty power to wield. In an effort to tilt and balance that power the president must have a shadow Cabinet on a more everlasting and consistent basis.
We all know well that between the period of 2018 to 2022 then Senator Caswell Franklyn took on a Rambo-like persona exposing issues that we may not have otherwise known about.
But Dr Yearwood is not any Caswell Franklyn.
The leader really is comparatively new to the duty and desires to be surrounded by a robust, solid team. A gaggle of knowledgeable and likeable individuals who will connect with the people. The art of excellent leadership is having the ability to use and manage the abilities and skills of team members for overall success.
It stays a mystery why the DLP president began naming spokespersons or as he called it “working chairs” and thus far has stopped wanting adding to that list. Over the past weeks, public commentary and interventions via social media by the likes of former president Verla DePeiza and candidates akin to Kemar Stuart, Ryan Walters, embattled teachers Pedro Shepherd and Alwyn Babb, demonstrated they’re worthy, seemingly unused resources, not even named on the party’s “working chairs”.
We might hope that this most up-to-date national debate would cause the president and the organs of his party to reflect long and hard about their political strategy
The DLP needn’t rejoice or claim this political about-turn as a victory. It belongs to the people. As a substitute, the duty needs to be to rebuild trust. When you accomplish that, then you definately would have truly preserved the legacy of Errol Walton Barrow – the daddy of your party and the daddy of our Independence.