If one compares the current political climate to an athletic competition, it appears as if the race is approaching the last lap and the major political parties are preparing to make a final surge. Strategy is of the utmost importance, because no party wants to pre-empt a sprint to the finish and leave themselves without ‘gas in the tank’ for the final metres.
Yet the racetrack is not totally clear. The electorate is clearly bothered by the two most recent downgrades by credit rating agencies, crime, road safety/traffic issues and other myriad matters such as health services, sanitation and cost of living. The public is looking for answers, but also wants credible and realistic solutions. We are uncertain if the recently formed political parties will have enough time to resonate with voters. Yes, the populace may want more than a two-party system, but one wonders if the lack of exposure to these new parties will hinder their chances or present a fresh alternative to a public willing to embrace total change.
As history has shown us, politics as we know it has not always been about presenting issues as they are, but they can be slanted. It is often said of Barbadians that we have ‘short memories’, since the longer time goes by, the more we seem to forget our grievances with politicians of all stripes. However, we would caution that there is a shift in that thinking. We would argue that Barbadians are more discerning of what they want and are more vocal about it than ever.
The public has had the opportunity in the last few weeks to digest speeches and information gathered from the DLP’s ‘Facts’ conference and the BLP-organised ‘March of Disgust’. Though the other parties have been launched, their agenda have yet to be scrutinised by the general public.
By the time the polls come around, however, the electorate’s judgement would be based on a compendium of what matters most to them and how the parties were able to convince that they are the ones capable of doing the job. Therefore, we implore all parties to run the best, most politically clean campaign possible that is less about smear tactics and more about the future. Barbadians are aware of the fact that there might very well be tough love prescribed to turn around our fortunes; they are, however, not prepared to undertake pandering, avoidance of issues, and political opportunism. For this to happen, our political parties have to resist the politics of name-calling and the blame game, and get down to the essence of their campaigns – how they will run Barbados.
Time waits for no man. We are further reminded by the Holy Bible that ‘to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven’. It is left to be seen how wisely the time between now and the next general elections is used, how the political parties will conduct themselves and which one runs the best, most productive race.