What Do The Barbados Elections Tell Us

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The Parliament of Barbados in the early morning hours of the 25th May, the day after Mia Mottley led her Barbados Labour Party government to an historic victory over the party the Democratic Labour Party, the incumbent, to a 30 to 0 route.  This is not new for the region but new for Barbados.  In Jamaica, Michael Manley’s PNP decided to sit out the elections of 1983 and the JLP under Edward Seaga won all the seats.  Michael Manley started what was known as the People’s Parliaments to keep the troops together.  In Grenada, it has happened three times, most recently this year.  Now Barbados.   This is a serious development.  You can compare and contrast this with our situation in The Bahamas, where the PLP survived with only 4 of the seats to 35 by the Government.  Electorates have no sense of “we need an Opposition”.  There is a hatred for those in power which passes all understanding and people take joy in the fact that there is a complete wipe out.  There was great rejoicing that Perry Christie lost his seat, the first as a sitting Prime Minister.  Such is the meanness of politics in the region.  All the parties regroup and will come back again but the losses are painful.  Just as you see the deconstruction of all that is liberal and balanced in the United States, the creed that has held us all together since the Second World War, it now manifests itself in our region.  In Barbados as in Nassau, it was the legacy party that argued it should be re-elected because it was the party that took the country into independence, created the nation, kept the country together, cared for the ordinary man. Except when you looked at the audiences at both final rallies, the young people were all dressed in red, the white people were with the Opposition and the business community was also for the DLP.  Even Rihanna from her redoubt in the United States sent a tweet that Mia deserved to win. She has done so.  Now comes the hard part, that of governing.  Hubert Minnis has his eyes on winning all the seats as well. This should give him encouragement.