Let me declare that I not a member or supporter of any political party. Last election, I endorsed two politicians, one from the DLP and the other from the BLP. This election, I only received the manifestos from the respective political parties this weekend, and have therefore had limited time to critically analyse them given that tomorrow is election day in Barbados.
Let me congratulate these two political parties on running exciting election campaigns, and for offering attractive incentive manifesto promises. Barbados is therefore fortunate to have such a high standard of political campaigning, and essentially free of violence.
Both political organisations have put forward reasonable arguments of why they should be allowed to lead the next government. On the one hand, we have the Rt Hon Owen Arthur, who has done a remarkable job of managing the country during challenging times, and who suggests that we should trust him and his party to continue. On the other, we have a party that has been in opposition for the past three terms and who believe that it is now their turn at the helm, since they cannot be expected to remain in opposition for perpetuity.
In order to make a decision on where to cast my vote, I had to ask myself whether there was anything that a political party could have done in order to secure it? There were several things, and any one of them would have secured not only my vote, but my active support. I list below my principal four.
1. Since the party in opposition in every country always accuses the party in power of mismanagement, and since the efficient running of any business relies on the effective management of government services, then why not simply ensure that each government department complies with an effective quality management system. Why is that such a difficult thing? I have recommended the ISO 9001 Quality Management System for some time now, but none of the political parties have harkened.
2. Since the party in opposition in every country always accuses the party in power of corruption, and since government corruption is of critical concern to international lending agencies, and since government corruption can guarantee its citizens a fearful, violent, and miserable existence, then effective anti-corruption legislation is required. However, effective anti-corruption legislation in Barbados would clearly be dependant upon effective Whistleblower legislation. Regrettably, none of the political parties have proposed the critical Whistleblower legislation which would have increased the likelihood of their anti-corruption legislation being workable.
3. The spiral educational curriculum, which was developed in 1960 and subsequently adopted by Barbados, has proven to be a costly failure; however, we have persisted with its use. Also, the physiological assumption upon which the decision to pursue a co-educational learning environment at secondary schools in the 1970’s was based, has been proven to be false, with damaging consequences for our male students. Yet we have persisted with these practices despite their blatantly obvious failures, including approximately 70% of our secondary school students leaving school with little evidence of having attended – i.e. without passing any subjects. No political party has proposed a critical review of this spiral curriculum; however, the DLP’s promise to re-examine co-education within the first 100 days is encouraging.
4. There have been approximately 1 billion babies that have been murdered in the womb of their mothers worldwide over the past 25 years. Not because the life of the mother was in jeopardy, or because of rape or incest, but because irresponsible persons have convinced women that they have a right to kill their babies in the womb, if they feel that caring for their babies would inconvenience them. In my opinion, abortion for convenience, as a method of birth control, is way beyond wrong – it is evil. Regrettably, none of the political parties have articulated their position on this practise.
Since none of the political parties has articulated their position on any of the four critical items, they have not secured my vote. I will therefore enter the voting booth tomorrow unsure of where to cast my ballot, and do as my conscience dictates.