Barbados should take the next logical step in de-linking from our former colonial masters and adopt a republican form of government on November 30 this year, the 50th anniversary of its independence.
Minister of Industry and St James South MP, Donville Inniss, offered this suggestion tonight while addressing the monthly meeting of his constituency branch in Wanstead, St James.
“This is my personal opinion. One of the best things we could do as a country, in this 49th year going towards the 50th year of independence, is for Barbados to become a republic by November 30, 2016.
“I know it could be a very divisive issue, but for me it is the next logical step in political independence. I hold the view that Barbados must become a Republic and we should do it sooner rather than later. They are those who would quarrel and say a statement like that would scare off the British tourists, but show me one tourist that comes to Barbados that asks themselves if we are a Republic or not. There are those who would say that it would scare off investment, but I have not in my 30 years in the public sector encountered any investor that has any interest in whether Barbados is a Republic or not,” Inniss stated.
He said that as Barbados gears up to celebrate its 50th anniversary, he was surprised there had not yet been any meaningful discussion about Barbados becoming a republic.
“The DLP [Democratic Labour Party] is the best political organisation to take Barbados to the next logical step in independence and become a republic. So I really hope that we could do it this year.”
Inniss argued that while all of the “hooray, excitement, slogans and memorabilia would create some excitement”, the question Barbadians needed to look towards the future.
Taking a critical look at the DLP, Inniss insisted that there needed to be a greater level of enthusiasm in political matters within the party.
“I am a little concerned that sometimes before an election battle we are one big happy DLP family, [then]we win the government, we become cabinet ministers and then you get a gulf developing between the party in government and the party as a political organisation,” he explained.
“I hold steadfast to the view that one of the urgent matters that must be addressed is the rank and file party members to hold the feet of parliamentarians and candidates to the fire. Quite frankly, some of us do need to come down a peg or two and face a bit of reality in terms of what is happening around the country.”
The outspoken parliamentarian argued that some of the current crop of parliamentarians may have to indicate quickly to the party and constituencies if they are interested in running again in the next election or not.
He said: ” Every sitting member of parliament on our side, including the Prime Minister, must be subject to a thorough review by the party to see if they are fit and proper to be a candidate for the party going forward. If we do not have these kinds of frank conversations within our party , then we are going to find ourselves perhaps in a bit of trouble.”