“DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE TIME?” by Sandra Husbands, Facebook contribution – History has a direction, it is circular

  • This is like deja vu all over again.” – Yogi Berra

In the late 80's he contested the Seat of St Peter against Sybil Leacock with an unexpected Re-Run, he managed to just scrape by...

The cruel hand of fate is visiting us again, bringing questions we need to reflect on and answer. I raise this issue because of the uncanny similarities between this period and 1987. A popular Prime Minister died in 1987 early in his term, Errol Barrow of St. John, and an unlikely person took over the leadership of the DLP, the deputy Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford who became Prime Minister. He was not Minister of Finance, because the popular Prime Minister had established a different person before he died.

Strained relations existed between the PM and his Minister of Finance, assertive with the gift of gab, an urban MP and a sense of being edged out of the choice seat that ‘should have been his‘. He was not the only one. PM Sandiford was not necessarily the pick of the Cabinet colleagues but the hand of fate placed him in the leadership position. He had a different style and temperament from the previous leader, and therefore struggled with his popularity both in and out of the party. He was hedged in by challengers who were not necessariy following his lead. He was the representative for St. Michael South.

The MP for St. James South, Keith Simmons was Minister of Health, and later it was shifted to (now) Sir Branford Taitt. Minister of Housing was from St. Philip. Sandiford appointed a Central bank governor. The economy was weak emerging from a world crisis and the local economy was limping along.There was the crash of Trade Confirmers burying hundreds of thousands of investment dollars belonging to Barbadians. A situation never satisfactorily dealt with leaving Barbadians to pay the price and face a retirement of poverty. There was a struggle for leadership in BLP.

The new Prime Minister Sandiford finished the term, the popular PM had started and then needed to seek his own mandate in 1991. An election was imminent. In order to win, Sandiford set about to convince the Barbadian public that they never had it so good, the economy was ‘batting like Sobers‘. Barbadians travelled, feted, bought and spent, because they believed a PM and believed the media reports, they never had it so good. The opposition warned that the level of expenditure by the government and public could not be sustained, all was not well, and we would pay the price later. The Opposition leader’s message was scorned.

If you had from 1994 to 2007 to make sure History does not repeat itself, then shouldn't Einstein's definition of Insanity not be considered? "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Mr. Sandiford went to Passage Road and danced to RPB’s Give me one more, Give me one more. The population being kind hearted felt that Sandiford was being unfaired etc, give him a chance. After achieving the objective of winning the election, DLP then proceeded to administer the bitter medicine that was hiding behind ‘the cabinet door‘ delivered by the IMF waiting in Bay Street. The day of reckoning had arrived. Mr. Sandiford’s anxiety to placate the IMF went even further than required, proceeded to cut salaries and cut employment. However a few months before he raised his salary and Minister’s salaries.

Meanwhile the economy continued to tumble pushing in the wake of its tsunami tide the homes, jobs, cars and peace of mind of Barbadians the length and breadth of the land. It left a trail of devastation. And then …a political implosion of the DLP, an election was called and the rest was history.

Flash forward to 2011 what do we have? The death of a popular PM from St. John early in his term, after a ‘Give Them A Chance‘ campaign. A deputy PM from the same constituency and temperament of Erskine Sandiford, the MP for St. Michael South becomes PM, Freundel Stuart. He is not the popular choice of his colleagues or his country. A Minister of Finance, edged out of the choice seat, strained relations with his chief. The Minister of Health is from the St. James South seat. The Minister of Housing is from St. Philip.

The collapse of CLICO, a major insurance company destroying millions of dollars in wealth of Bajans and OECS has happened and not addressed properly. We have an economic crisis badly managed, but the Minister of Finance with the refrain ‘things are looking up, things are looking good. We are seeing growth. S & P right, Moody wrong.’

Who was it that called for Judicial Management of CLICO since September 2010 and looked at a way forward for Barbados where public sector staff became shareholders and held a vested interest to see Barbados return to its Developed Nation status once more?

The political campaign approach ‘We need another term to complete our programme, give us a chance.’ IMF measures sneaked in the back door – raise water, lights, raise fuel, reduce health benefits, cut education costs, raise VAT. More medicine to come. But not just yet, an election has to be won. This is unreal, what are the odds? What does this mean, how do you see it? What is it saying to you?

{Note from The Bajan Reporter All captions plus the emphases on phrases & words are all mine, plus where I inserted URL’s} (NB A somewhat different version of this originally appeared in Facebook, the main author is a former Senator & currently a Barbados Labour Party Candidate for St James South)

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  1. Hi, Bourne – your Owen tirade is becoming tired. Did he do you something? You should research before you comment. You really twisted Sandra’s words…


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