It is safe to say that the election race is on.
We are now two weeks away from the voters who will decide who will be entrusted with the responsibility of managing the affairs of this island for the next five years.
With the settlement of their candidacy for the January 19 general election on nomination day complete, candidates are expected to connect with voters one-on-one, online, on platforms, in any way possible to earn their money. favor and ultimately their vote. .
According to the Election and Boundaries Commission, a total of 108 candidates officially registered to participate in the poll. The breakdown shows that the Barbados Labor Party and the Democratic Labor Party present full lists of 30 candidates; the Party of the Alliance for Progress, 20; Solutions Barbados, 11; New Alliance of the Kingdom of Barbados, 2; Bajan Free Day, 4; Barbados Sovereignty Party, 2; and there are nine independent candidates.
While COVID-19 has somewhat limited the usual intense activity on the election campaign, we still expect the next two weeks to be interesting.
Masked politicians and their representatives are expected to be watching voters, although for some it is the first time since the general election in May 2018.
The most important decision rests solely in the hands of the voters. Hence, the reason there are many concerns that COVID-19 positive patients will not be allowed to practice their franchise. Certainly in a modern, democratic Barbados there has to be a way.
Right now, we expect some voters to have already decided who should represent them in Parliament. Some, of course, based their decision on long-standing party loyalty, tradition, personal gain or even lack of it.
But more and more, a more demanding electorate is emerging. Like it should be.
The old politics of charismatic promising politicians who appear with handouts when the election bell rings must be a thing of the past.
With all that is at stake, our votes are too integral to the future of our country to let them slip or slip.
The origin of the word “political” describes the practice of conducting prudently the affairs of a country. Therefore, one could easily assume that a politician should be someone naturally inclined to serve, with an interest in leadership.
Throughout our history, we have been fortunate to have leaders who, while imperfect, had a clear identity and an unwavering commitment to duty, such as Errol Barrow, Grantley Adams, Tom Adams and others. Today we deserve no less.
Leadership has always counted and politicians who through their actions, not their rhetoric, work with commitment and integrity to improve the lives of the voters who place them in positions of power, should be the only winners on the night of January 19. .
Shouting on a political platform and making lofty, unrealistic promises is simply not enough for the discerning voter.
This voter is not interested in blindly supporting politicians A, B, C, D or U and sticking with them no matter what. This voter examines candidates and looks for leaders whose actions match their words, who are empowered and willing to work to improve the lives of every Barbadian, regardless of class, age or gender.
At this point in our development, Barbados needs leaders who take responsibility for their actions and empower others to hold them accountable; leaders who resist the urge to bow to a few while ignoring the plight of many.
We need the kind of leadership that will show us the way forward as we build a new republic and take on the difficult and unpopular task of economic and social transformation that will reposition Barbados.
Will our political candidates be up to the task?