From opposition to government

What took place

Up to January 13 Clyde Mascoll was leader of the Opposition in Barbados. Now a mere 12 days later he’s a member of the government.

It all started with some clandestine moves where four members of the opposition, including David Thompson, sent a letter to the Governor General (GG) stating that they no longer accepted Mascoll as their leader and in his place they want Thompson. The same Thompson who was a signatory to the letter. Hours earlier Mascoll had written the GG informing him that he has resigned as opposition leader.

Mascoll promptly quit the opposition Democratic Labour Party, alleging devious dealings, and became an independent member of the parliament. Following discussion with his constituents, Mascoll applied to join the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and was  accepted as a member on January 25.

Speculation is rife about the role Mascoll will play and as he said, he would accept any role that the Prime Minister offered.

Commentators’ views

In its weekly political column in both daily newspapers in Barbados, the BLP stated that Mascoll’s departure from the DLP is not the source of the problem in that party. It is merely the symptom. It went on to say that the mindset of the DLP that Mascoll was not fit to lead them because he is the son of a poor man is archaic and out of place.

Columnist Oliver Jackman, writing in the Sunday Sun,  stated: “The brutal singularity of the Mascoll crossing lies in the fact that this is the very first time in our (Barbados) 40 years of Independence that the maximum leader and chief ideologue of one of our two political dynasties has found it morally and intellectually feasible to take the oath of allegiance to the maximum leader on the other side.”

He added that whether or not Mascoll’s “credibility” is at stake here is, franly, a matter for Mascoll and the electors who may be called upon in due course to vote for or against him.

According to Jackman” “What has certainly taken a severe and perhaps irremediable beating, as a result of his seamless transition from Leader of the Opposition to Minister-in-Waiting in the ruling party, is the credibility of our two-party political system.”

The Nation newspaper’s political correspondent Albert Brandford stated “it has now become embarrassingly clear that those involved in the plan to remove former Leader of the Opposition Clyde Mascoll did not factor in his possible resignation from the Democratic Labour Party.”

He expresses the view that Mascoll’s membership is a plus for the ruling party.

Brandford analysed the situation  and pointed out that it must now be clear to all that Mascoll’s resignation came before he was pushed (as is being pedalled by some opposition memers).

The  political correspondent said the question remains: why would four Opposition MPs see the need to sign a letter of no-confidence if Mascoll had indicated his intention to resign?