Friday, February 01, 2013

Election time musings

Election time in Barbados is almost like Christmas for me. It's a short season, with a special feel in the air that takes over the whole country (save the grinches). This time around, we've had a somewhat extended season and like too much Christmas music, it's getting old quick but more on that another time. It's like Christmas because I'm a political science student and the subject is my first love.

I thought I'd take the time over the next three weeks to record my thoughts, observations, interesting facts. Perhaps not my thoughts/opinions on issues of substance because election time is also aptly known as the silly season, and operatives and yardfowls are always trying to infer from people's comments what just isn't there. AND I'd like to stay employed no matter who wins...but we'll see.

**DISCLAIMERS**

  1. Anything I say is from a non-partisan position. No party is being endorsed here. If you do something well/poorly and I feel to highlight it, I will. 
  2. The only advice you will get from me about who you should vote for is as follows: Read the manifestos and vote with your interests and the well-being of Barbados in mind.
Feel free to comment, debate etc INTELLECTUALLY. but be civil and don't curse anyone. So I'll post as necessary and let me know if you have anything interesting to add.

Opinion #1: Ya MUST vote. I was in Sheraton Centre when the election date was announced. As I was paying for my item, the cashier was talking to the other one next to her. She said, "Oh, so that means I get two hours for lunch? I ain voting. I going in town to buy hair". Me: O_O. To be honest, how she said it was kind of funny. So being the believer in the system, I told her she should vote and let her voice be heard. She then told me that before she wasn't eligible to vote but now that she is, she doesn't plan to. No matter what I said, she just said "nope". Observation #1 here: a first time, seemingly intelligent young person refusing to vote. Indictment on the system? On the candidates? Why not vote?

Observation #2: The ringing of the bell was done via GIS press release. N.B. It caught my attention, probably like many others, before the opposition talked about it in the next day's papers. Little splash about it, but there was never a surprise element associated with the calling of the elections, so was more needed anyway? No opportunity for soundbites but note well these can help and harm you. Method or madness?

Observation #3: The opposition BLP was out the gate with haste with promotional material. The GIS press release on the date came out at approximately 5.20 p.m. on Tuesday and was carried on the 5.30 p.m. news (albeit the news was broken after midday that the PM was advising the Governor General to dissolve parliament). By 9.30 p.m., posters were up on poles and by 6 a.m. the next day, radio jingles were being played. the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race. Visibility doesn't necessarily translate into votes. All those things could apply here. As of today, Friday at 8 p.m., I haven't seen a DLP poster or heard a jingle. I have seen a newspaper ad. Again, method or madness?

Observation #4: Where de bus? Where de bus? Where de bus to town? Ask the BLP. The BLP bus went to town, to the Treasury building to be exact, to allow the 30 candidates to pay candidature deposits. Is this just a regular political tactic or a case of "thou doth protest too much"? What do I mean? The BLP has a perceived unity issue, so...let's go on a family picnic down to town? Which brings me to my next point...

Opinion #2: The PM said that Mia Mottley told him personally to call the elections in 2010 and surprise Owen Arthur. He then said Owen Arthur wrote him a note asking/begging him to take Ms. Mottley off his hands. IF the ALLEGATIONS are true, then Mottley and Arthur are two full fools.

Fact #1: The DLP has stated it has a four tiered approach to its campaign:
  1. Volunteers. Some 380 called in one day. Someone from a position of authority/knowledge please let me know if this is a positive statistic in the context of Barbados.
  2. Constituency offices.
  3. Campaign managers.
  4. A core team that decides the strategy, led by the party leader.
Opinion #3: Code of conduct=JOKES. And I mean jokes literally, not that the concept of a code is funny. Although...really that is true too. All this talk about codes and running a decent campaign, the jokes and casting aspersions done take over. People in red bodices and men at karaoke singing about once, twice, three times a lady....a slew of videos, need I say more? Jokes are a part of the Barbadian political landscape. Keep it relatively clean and the general populace won't have a problem with it. DO NOT insult our (certainly my) intelligence with codes of conduct and decent campaigns if you are not going to stick to it (which you haven't and you've just started).

Observation #5: Of fetes and bashment jingles. The new political paradigm?

That's it for now. More as the campaign unfolds.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this insightful review of the situation so far. I look forward to reading more as I am not in the island and can only observe from far away. I am glad you tried to encourage the young woman to vote. I usually like to tell people "If you don't vote, you cannot complain for the next 4 years" ... that sometimes gets them thinking. I really do hope there is a high turn out at the polls, that said, I really feel that people are just fed up with the choices presented right now.

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