Saying that democracy, good governance and government are under threat, a government lawmaker in Barbados has switched to the other political side to take up the vacant position as opposition leader, contending that he can no longer put up with the political excesses of the governing Barbados Labor Party (BLP).

Backbencher Ralph Thorne, an parliamentarian for Christ Church South, said on Monday as he was sworn in as opposition leader, that he can no longer sit on the government side in parliament and watch as ordinary Barbadians are fired from lifeline jobs to cut government spending to meet austerity targets while being replaced by high paying, entitled consultants who are living and eating well while most are struggling with runaway inflation. He is also upset with authorities for missteps in reforming the education sector.

In abandoning the government side, Thorne is taking up the vacant opposition leader’s position because the BLP has for the past two election cycles decimated the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) by winning all 30 seats.

Thorne argues that the result is that democracy is being eroded, the government is not being held to account for spending and other ills and the time has come for him to act because “I am not a hypocrite. I had a choice between blind obedience and principled objection. I could not go on indefinitely,” he said, as critics and political observers watch closely to see if he will eventually switch to the beleaguered DLP

Speculation in this area has to do with the fact that Thorne had been a longtime DLP member and activist before changing allegiances to the BLP after two unsuccessful efforts to win a DLP seat in St. Michael North in the commercial capital of Bridgetown. He first won a seat as a BLP candidate six years ago.

He complained bitterly about teh concept of “unanimity in parliament” as there was no one to oppose or critique government policies in the house as the BLP had all 30 seats. Many times, he said he had diplomatically held his tongue out of political and party loyalty, but contends that he has reached to the point where enough is enough.

“You know that diplomacy often leads to hypocrisy. This society and this economy are in crisis. I could not stand in a parliament from week to week and defend the indefensible. I could not stand in the parliament week after week and try to be diplomatic. I could not stand in the parliament every week and began to sound like a hypocrite. I am not a hypocrite. The upbringing that I have had as a child tells me that I should adhere to the truth, even when it hurts. I know that the truth hurts the cause of the government, but there’s a time when a man must do what a man must and I did what I had to do.”  He says he will work to revive and resuscitate the public accounts committee so government spending can be properly scrutinized and held to account,” said Thorne.

As the dust begins to settle in Barbados, two other incumbent BLP lawmakers say they are open to many options including joining Thorne on the opposition benches for the sake of democracy in Barbados.

The Today newspaper quoted St. Michael East member Trevor Prescod and Sonia Browne of St. Phillip North as dropping broad hints that they too are dissatisfied with governance in Barbados.

“All things are possible,” said former minister Prescod who is responsible in government for reparations and economic empowerment.

Sonia Browne who had quit as state minister at the health ministry position last month, does not rule out splitting with the BLP but is prepared to hold her hand for now. “My door has always been open to anything. I am one that will speak if I don’t agree with government policy or proposal in the politest way I know how; I will say. And I will also do that from the backbench in which I sit now. It does not necessarily mean I have to cross the floor to do that.” She said Thorne’s move is good for the country as it needs an opposition voice, a position similar to that of the region’s leading political pollster and commentator Peter Wickham.