EDITORIAL: Better approach needed, BLP
Sun, 04/10/2016 - 6:26pm Barbados1
IT continues to be a mystery why Parliament’s time is being taken up with frivolous activities like no-confidence motions, when politicians can better spend their time dealing with more serious matters concerning Barbadians. In a country that has a broad range of issues that need fixing, Parliament’s time would be better served attending to these issues rather than being bogged down with subjects that will hardly redound to the benefit of Barbadians. The world around us is proving to be very hostile and especially so for small countries just like Barbados. We therefore have to be able to navigate the difficult environment so as to ensure the island survives. Our country has to become more competitive and has to be more proactive in enhancing service delivery. Barbados has to find the means whereby it can earn more foreign exchange; it has to restructure the economy; and it also has to deal with many social issues plaguing the society.
It is therefore important against the background pointed out earlier, that Parliament should be used for more productive purposes. Last week the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) revealed it will be tabling a No-Confidence Motion against the Government. The action is based, according to Opposition Leader Ms Mia Mottley, on the spate of industrial actions by trade unions, the country moving from crisis to crisis, the Cahill Energy issue, the Government’s poor handling of the economy, and the recent downgrade of Barbados by Moody’s Investment Services.
In Parliamentary democracies such as what we have existing in Barbados and across a number of Commonwealth countries, motions of no confidence are strategies used by political parties in Opposition to chastise governments when they are deemed not to be performing as is expected. At times such motions can be impactful, such as the one brought against the then Erskine Sandiford (now Sir Lloyd) Government in the early 1990s. On that occasion the Government was defeated by the Opposition’s motion when the vote was taken and that led subsequently to an election being called and the ruling party losing the government. However, such situations are far and between.
Having already undertaken two similar motions (one against the Finance Minister and the other against the Government) and both failing to have any impact, it is reasonable to assume that the forthcoming one will not create any fuss. That therefore begs the question, ‘Why is this is being done?’ Barbados can do without a lot of the political grandstanding and showmanship which continue to pass off as serious politics. Since the desire of the proposed motion is to evoke discussion on what are called the burning issues in the country, then it is very doubtful whether the Freundel Stuart-led administration will allow the Opposition to set the terms and conditions for any discussion.
Some of the topics on which the motion is being built, are projects being done by Government, whereas another is on hold. As for the Moody’s downgrade, Government (and the Central Bank of Barbados) are yet to make an official statement on it. Now low and behold an international institution has described it as “confusing and unwarranted”. The BLP should look for a better and more effective approach when seeking to engage Government.