Our attention is drawn to one of our Caricom partners and to the stunning event that has taken place in this territory.
After fourteen years of unbroken rule, the Barbados Labour Party led by Mr. Owen Arthur surrendered primacy to the Democratic Labour Party and the mantle of leadership passed from the hands of Owen Arthur.
The electoral contest was keen and Mr. Arthur’s party lost in a surprising turnaround of the people of Barbados. What is the surprising factor in that encounter between the parties is that the Barbados Labour Party was expected to win on its record of achievement over the past fourteen years.
This did not happen, however, and the contesting party won a great victory in the name of the majority of the people of Barbados.
It was refreshing to hear the defeated prime minister graciously concede. Election results are such a serious problem with such deadly results in other parts of the world where the losing party is always ready with accusations of fraud, that it is heartening to find a country where the loser concedes graciously.
Barbados is a good example of democracy. It is a good object lesson in free and fair elections and in the smooth transition of power from one party to the next.
Among recently emergent independent nations this small island Caribbean nation stands as a beacon of good government and shines against such larger and richer Black nations as Kenya which has descended into a pool of blood over the result of an election.
Mr. Arthur has something to teach to his fellow Caribbean leaders, many of whom resort to a variety of high-handed tricks in order to gain political power and perpetuate it.
Against those Caribbean rulers who feel that once they are in office, they should not be removed from office, Mr. Arthur’s concession to defeat highlights the fact that the countries should never be regarded as the personal domains of politicians, that politicians must be ready and willing to surrender political office when it becomes necessary to do so.