Politics does not have to be a blood sport: Time for Serious Politics – Mottley Shows the Way
There is always a buzz and great excitement when former Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Q.C., M.P., is schedule to speak and having done so at the Bay Primary School on Sunday 23 October 2011 – it is not surprising that those who attended – feel that there is hope and better is possible.
With Ms Mottley, it is never a slash-and-burn, old-style; politics of tribalism and division speech. Rather a patriotic; clearly throughout, mature; visionary and responsible presentation, intended to unify; motivate; inspire and secure the future for Barbadians. If the Member of Parliament for St Michael North East now hovers high above the fray, there is a good reason for that: she puts people first and seems motivated by a passion to work hard for Barbados.
Apart from essential services, very few would opt to work on Christmas Day or even Old Years. Not so with Mia Mottley. She could have opted to do what is popular and criticise the government and the new Minister of Finance but instead (and as a true Statesman would) she offers advice, which is capable of being followed and seems prepare to reach across the aisle and work with the Government in the national interest. This is certainly refreshing in the context of Barbadians politics, which is usually tribal.
It is clear that with Barbados in trouble, Mia Mottley holds the view that, “it cannot be business as usual,” and that now is hardly the time for political stunts, especially when there are decisions we must make for ourselves as a people, before an external entity make them for us.
Her suggestion for a Select Committee of both Houses of Parliament, inclusive of the Government, Opposition and Independent Members – to investigate the growth of expenditure to state Corporations (Transfers) and report back to Parliament by January 2012 so that the Ministry of Finance can act decisively knowing there is national consensus and before the Estimates in March – makes good sense.
Calling for the isolation of those at the bottom, who – according to her – ‘literally have no room to maneuver,’ Miss Mottley pointed to a much bigger problem, which she said is: ‘Transfers and Subsidies,’ now accounting for a huge chunk of government expenditure. She made the point that successive government have been ‘deferring critical decisions about the future of Barbados for too long’ and that ‘the only people who are suffering as a result of it, are ordinary Barbadians.’
Stating that “the time to act is now,” and quoting Central Bank statistics, the former Deputy Prime Minister explained that in 2004-2005, wages in the public service of Barbados went from $645 million to $860 million in financial year 2010-2011- and increase of some 33% in 6 years. As regards “Transfers and Subsidies,” Barbados first female Leader of the Opposition explained that in 2004-2005, some $716 million was being spent but by 2010-2011, that figure jumped to one billion one hundred and forty-seven million dollars – a 64% increase, almost double the rate of increase when compared to salaries and wages.
Warning that it will be painful if left to the IMF, Barbados first female Leader of the Opposition pointed out that dialogue will lead to consensus and prevent a lot of what is now happening in Greece and elsewhere but encourage the audience to demand action and serious attention to their business to improve Barbados’ fiscal situation because it cannot be business as usual.
Mia Mottley is a reminder that politics does not have to be a blood sport even when some try to tear you down. She therefore represents freshness and a new politics for Barbados. With Barbadians feeling the pain from this bitter recession, Mia Mottley seems genuinely concerned about how the people of this country are making it, and instead of simply blaming the government – she is not only doing something tangible to help many cope and keep body and soul together during these difficult times but is also making revolutionary suggestions, which proves that now is not the time for political stunts but for serious politics and for serious people to be in the driver’s seat.