Politicians should never assume they can’t lose a no confidence motion, Peter Wickham says

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Noted Pollster and Politcal Scientist Peter Wickhamm


(BARBADOS TODAY) — Barbadian politicians are being warned to take heed of last Friday ‘no confidence’ vote which went against the coalition government in Guyana, forcing it to have to call an early general election.

A disaffected member of one of the parties that comprise the coalition administration of president David Granger, shocked his colleagues in Parliament when he voted ‘yes’ in favour of the Bharrat Jagdeo-led Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic.

The government, which holds a slim majority in the National Assembly, has since expelled the dissenting MP, Charrandas Persaud who told reporters after the vote he was disappointed with the way in which the administration was allowed to do what it liked by “yes men”.

But political scientist Peter Wickham told Barbados TODAY that politicians in Barbados, particularly those who formed the Government of the day must never assume they cannot lose a ‘no confidence’ motion.

“I think there is a danger in assuming that a vote of ‘no confidence’ will succeed. And I think this is where Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford went wrong [in 1994]. The assumption is that people will vote with you and it is clear that they didn’t. The personality type of President Granger and prime minister Tilman Thomas [of Grenada] and [Freundel [Stuart of Barbados] is not really the ideal for politics, because you have to be aware of your political circumstances,” Wickham said.

He noted that Charrandas had been complaining of issues he was not happy about for a long time. “He was like a voice crying in the wilderness. They were happy to get on with the business of government without taking into consideration the concerns that he had. The lesson in all of this is that you have to be very, very careful with your politics, especially when you have a narrow majority. Your political life has to be looked after even as you get on with running the business of the government,” he insisted.

Wickham is of the view that as the country prepares for a new election, the governing party would have to identify new leadership and take fresh guard.

He noted that president Granger was not in good health at the moment and from this incident he was not handling his politics well.

“President Granger has not done his political homework and I think that they need to look for a new leader,” the political scientist added.

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