“Where Were You?” – Henderson Bovell speaks to comment by ex-DLP Clyde Mascoll at the L.T. Gay Primary School
ARROGANCE has never been one of my defining characteristics. Instead, people usually say that accuracy; excellent oral and written communication skills; a crystal clear understanding of politics and of the political issues of the day – are. You must therefore understand my absolute shock and horror now that I am being told that before I write on matters of economics, that I should: “call somebody first.” Mind you, I did not have to: “call somebody first,” when I conceptualised and wrote Barbados’ Health and Wellness Programme or its retirement training planning and counselling initiative. Why is that?
But, fear not my friend: I do myself much better credit than to: “call somebody first.” I simply keep Mia Mottley’s Estimates and Budget Reply, the two speeches she gave at the Barbados Labour Party Annual Conference and the one she gave at the Barbados Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCCI) near. The reason is simply. What is now ‘after-the-fact and hind-sight commentary’ for many within the BLP, for Mia Mottley – is an example of her sound economic forecasting skills. This is a remarkable achievement, especially since she is not an economist. There has to be an explanation here!
A casual read of Mia Mottley’s Estimates and Budget replies would show that all of what she predicted has come to pass and that whether it is Clico; her call for a humane Immigration Policy, Coverley, Housing, the QEH and healthcare, the financial Services Sector or even the cost of living – her analysis has been bang-on. Herein lays the dilemma for the BLP: To highlight the fact that Mia Mottley was absolutely correct as far back as 2008 – would be to now expose the folly of having viciously removed her as Leader of the Opposition and Political Leader of the BLP. One the other hand, speaking now ‘after-the-fact’ (when many of these same persons were silent all of three years ago) questions the allegation of being sound on the economy but may highlight the extent to which obstacles might have been placed in the path of Mia Mottley, who easily brushed them aside each time. People who are sound forecasters are not expected to only comment with authority after things have happened.
Here is something else. The BLP recently commented on the branch meeting held by Mia Mottley and was careful to suggest that her stance on the Drug Service is a repeat of what other speakers have said before. To the best of my knowledge, only one politician in this country has presented a credible plan for a new politics and an alternative economic model for Barbados. Having already spoken about the reform of our system of governance; immigration reform and of the structure of our economy, Mia Mottley is now talking about a new Constitution for the BLP. She is therefore not following but is setting the agenda for relevance and the next high-level of development. That is what real leaders are expected to do.
My friend, it is quite simple: as regards the economy, if you take 2008 as the base year, what is happening now is merely the extent of the same decline that was forecasted by Mia Mottley. But as I said before, to credit her would be to highlight the folly of removing her as leader. The issue is not the economy but the political psychology of it. Unfortunately, the BLP keeps making the same simple error. It is not what the truth is, but WHO and WHAT the people are willing to accept and believe. For example: why do people seem more willing to believe the DLP? This is where your attention needs to be concentrated.