Barbados Labour Party Wins General Elections
Serious Implications for Opposition Parties in the Region

The election date came as a thief in the night and by the time I catch myself it was all over. As a result I did not get the opportunity to call the elections. I don’t feel badly because it was so obvious that it was a BLP victory all the way. No way could have the BLP emerge victorious with such a strong showing of the Owen Arthur Government. It was 26 to 2, now it is 23 to 7. I wouldn’t even bother to look at percentages, except to mention that the BLP once again has a 2/3 majority in the Parliament.

If projections are worth anything, the BLP will be in office for a long time, at least it will take another two elections before the DLP before any attempt to replace the BLP by the DLP could be possible and then there is a big possibility that the incumbent can get stronger rather than weaker. It is interesting to note that the Prime Minister at the outset of this new term hit a boundary when he elected Hon. Mia Mottley as Deputy Prime Minister. This decision must have sent a shock to the DLP as they see their hope of winning the next general elections even more distant. I am ready to predict that should the going get rough, he will be ready to give Barbados its first female Prime Minister. I am not buying that the Prime Minister is ready to retire after this term. If I know politics well, it will not be his decision, if everything goes well this time around, the people will demand his services and as usual it is expected that he will oblige.

The two term system is taking a back door as the electorate seems to prefer to stick with a party and Government that in their view are delivering. Sometimes however, as in the case of Jamaica, it has to be something other than performance. I am convinced that keeping Governments in office for extended periods, affect the minds and ultimately the thinking of that portion of the population that are aligned to the opposition. As a result a lot of talent goes to waste as affirmative action creeps into the day to day operations of government. Political parties who are prepared to re define their policies to meet with the challenges of the times, drafting into their parties new entrants who are competent stand every chance of winning again and again. This strategy could render the opposition ineffective and limit the chance of becoming a party in government.

It is against the background of bringing new life to ruling parties lies the best hope for good governance and equal opportunity for all citizens. I look forward to the day when a political structure will evolve that will give the opportunity to individuals rather than party to emerge as the true representatives of the people. The elections will then reflect the will of the people, producing a government of the people by the people and for the people. In short a people’s government. There is a particular system that with some degree of adjustment could form the basis for a complete overhaul of the electoral system.

Our nations of this region are democratically governed. We have chosen democracy above the other ideologies such as Communism and it milder version – Socialism, but I feel the time has come for us to find a more relevant system to meet the needs of our people.

On a final note on Caribbean politics, I wish the people of Barbados continued success under the leadership of Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister and his team.