Barbados Labour Party: A Solid Foundation Was Already Laid and a Good Wicket Prepared – Analysis from Henderson Bovell

You must excuse me if I read the DLP’s column in Friday’s newspaper (July 8th, 2011) but am not smiling from ear to ear like “Cheshire Puss,’ having done so. I can tell you without fear of contradiction, that when the then Prime Minister David Thompson was in his ‘prime,’ say: between January 20th 2008 and July 2010 – there was absolutely no media house, journalist or calypsonian in Barbados, who seemed either bold; brave or stupid enough – to take any position against him or the DLP Government.

As was anticipated, with his passing, the DLP is today much weaker and far more irrelevant to the lives of those who want Barbados to be governed by a Team that knows what to do. The second major point is that: none of the issues on the table for the Opposition or Government to address today are new. That things are getting much worse in the country – could hardly be breaking news for anyone. Such ‘deterioration‘ was predicted at public meetings and during the Estimate and Budget speeches by the then Leader of the Opposition and were it still accessible, the BLP’s original webpage would confirm that what is now merely commentary (after the fact) for many – is evidence of sound forecasting skills by the then BLP leader.

Whether it is the economy, drawing attention to its broken promised; its hard-line immigration policy; CLICO; Coverly; Constant and the NHC, willy-nilly dismissals from the public service, the DLP’s flawed petroleum policy or even the Drug Service – none of these issues are new. In-fact, the issue of the Drug Service was first raised by William Duguid in the 2009 Budget. Before Mr. Thompson announced that he was ill – the BLP was so disciplined in its approach to dealing with the people’s business; had so earned the public’s trust and confidence and was gaining such momentum – that complemented by its ‘rifled message’ and with the crowds attending its public meeting increasing, you knew that it (the BLP) was well on the highway to victory.

The situation was clear - former Chair of the NHC dared to question if certain contracts were put to Tender and the current Housing Minister relieved her of her services/dismissed/sacked, etc. The then Opposition Leader developed and brought to a swell, a growing tide seeking the removal of same Minister from that Portfolio and because the then PM was at Death's Door five greedy men pushed her aside hoping New Voting would emerge from his passing, boy were they wrong!

IF” there were media personnel or media housing assisting the BLP between January 20th 2008 and October 18th 2010, I would have known about it. But there were simply NONE! Nobody was pushing-up their hands or volunteering for hard work, and apart from me and Mia Mottley, hardly anyone else in the BLP seemed willing to take-on a fiery David Thompson. But, to give a voice to the BLP, it is why tremendous emphasis was placed on attracting traffic to its webpage, as a counter strategy. It is why the decision was made to take the Party’s message directly to the country through Public Meetings and in communities, trough a: “Live and Direct,” and OTHER initiatives.

It is why the then Leader of the Opposition held a once-monthly broadcast to the country, which was paid-for on VOB. It is why every Friday, the BLP paid to have its specially written column – broadcast on VOB, through a programme called: “BLP Speaks,” aired then at 2.05 p.m. Because there was no media house willing to put a case for the people, VOB was often paid to carry segments of Media Conferences held – in its ‘News Makers’ slot. The simple point is, that between January 20th 2008 and October 18th 2010 – the Barbados Labour Party Opposition paid-for it message to be heard. There was simply no Media House queuing up to put a case for the people, even though the People were concerned about: cost of living, the QEH; high taxes and the fact that their country was on a fast free fall.

Whether it was the two dynamic speeches to the BLP’s Conference that could serve as a blue-print to lead the way forward or the masterful and unmatched presentation to the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCCI) on September 29th 2010, that caused the ‘ripples‘ – perhaps with the exception of David Ellis on Brass Tacks, I do not recall any other media house even mentioning those speeches – even though local academics seemed really impressed, while a Senior Reporter at the Financial Times, labeled that Chamber of Commerce Speech, as easily the most remarkable post independence presentation, on Barbados future development, he has heard.

Anyone can say they're on a "PATHWAY TO PROGRESS" or how they had Frank Alleyne as an advisor and so many billions are in the Treasury at departure, but how do you deal with NOW? Create a strategy where the Civil Service, thought to be top-heavy and inert like their current PM, be empowered to bring Barbados from its doldrums by making it their business to see it through! Let places like GAIA have shares for the staff, like what COW & Bizzy do for their people - so it becomes everyone's solution and not just Govt's problem!

You must therefore understand how extremely ‘vulgar,’ decent people around the world might have found it – when a few days ago, a Media House actually reported that it picked-up the telephoned and called a serious Leader of the Opposition- to ask him to tell them – who the Prime Minister’s choice for Chief Justice of Barbados, is! I would not know how to pick-up a phone and call an Opposition Office to ask a serious Leader of the Opposition, who a Prime Minister’s choice of Chief Justice, is!

But, as much as I find Friday’s DLP column, “vulgar,” given its iron-fist grip over CBC (DLP TV) – with paid ‘Traditional Media’ now under tremendous pressure from free ‘Social Media’ and fighting desperately for continued relevance and existence – the BLP may wish to be aware of the famous words by Laocoon to the Trojans: “Trojans trust not the horse. Whatever it be, I fear the Greeks even when bringing gifts,” especially with it being clear (as early as of September 29th 2010) that the BLP was well on the road to victory, on behalf of the people of Barbados. The out-going DLPs’ allegation in its column today, (July 8, 2011) will be ignore by those with unmatched service to the BLP between January 20th 2008 and October 18th 2010 – as being nothing more than a reminder of the story about: “The Little Red Hen.”

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