EDITORIAL - The logic of politics
Fri, 04/15/2016 - 12:00am Barbados1
“Politics”, Mr Basdeo Panday, a former Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, asserted sometime ago, “has its own morality”.
While we are ignorant of the validity of this claim, one might be forgiven for thinking it unarguable that politics does have its own logic, if we are to judge by some recent local developments in that context.
We have had the scenario of claims being made by some that recent interruptions of the supply of running water in constituencies that happened to be represented by Opposition parliamentarians were somehow contrived by the governing administration, even though those constituents who are supporters of the party in office would have been identically inconvenienced.
The governing administration itself has been equally guilty of this fuzzy logic. Desiring to dissuade Barbadians from refusing to be fingerprinted, for the purposes of identification, on their return to the island, under the now delayed immigration biometric regulations, officialdom chose, rather than imposing a suitable fine, to bar the individual’s right to re-entry into the country, thereby probably infringing an inviolable constitutional right of the Barbadian citizen.
Nor, seemingly, are even fledgling political organisations immune. There are reports that one of the recently launched “third” parties is seeking, according to the ostensible leader, a certain type of candidate only – the business owner – for its slate in the next general elections. This candidate, who might very well be unable to identify with the needs and aspirations of the ordinary man-in-the-street, is nevertheless expected to catch the popular electoral imagination simply because of his or her ability to have remained in business for at least ten years, or some such period, with ten or more employees.
The piece of political logic that is currently challenging the intellects of impartial onlookers however, is the recent tabling by the Opposition leader of a parliamentary motion of no confidence in the current governing administration. The motion of no confidence, that is ordinarily intended to bring about the downfall of a government, has been a popular political strategy ever since its spectacular success in assisting eventually to remove prematurely the Sandiford administration from office in 1994.
The distinction needs to be made, however, that that motion was against the Prime Minister himself, one who had managed to alienate the parliamentary support of a number of his colleagues. This was enough to ensure that while the motion was not numerically supported to such a degree as to remove the Prime Minister from office, it nevertheless sufficed to make the administration’s continued governance so precarious that it was compelled to call elections in order to seek a new mandate.
The most recent motion is against the current administration itself, although Miss Mottley, the Opposition Leader, insists that the immediate objective is not the unlikely one of removing it from office by the carrying of the motion, but rather to “force the government to speak to the electorate”.
We have editorialised more than once on the regrettable silence from the current administration on some issues and, to this extent; we share Ms Mottley’s disquiet. We remain bemused however, that the strategy now being employed to ensure an official public ventilation of these matters is a parliamentary no-confidence motion that does not intend to achieve what it says [since it concedes defeat ab initio] and one on which those members of Parliament who support the Prime Minister may choose not to speak.
Perhaps it might have been more strategic in the long term to allow the administration to continue its “culture of silence”, as Ms Mottley terms it, to its eventual electoral detriment, but then, we are not politicians ourselves.