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GUEST COLUMN: Party loyalists

Frank da Silva

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My major mission today is to address this column to party loyalists and, through them, to all members of our political family.  I ask you once again to make every effort to attend this weekend’s Annual conference and to participate fully in its activities.It is your group who made the most significant contribution to Barbados through the Democratic Labour Party under Errol Barrow and the other founding parents of our organisation, and played a strong supporting role in the transformation of Barbados during the period 1961 to 1976 and have continued to some extent.There can be no question of the economic difficulties of the time. And, there can be no question of a number of outstanding performances at different levels in our country.  However, as the statesman the Honourable Fruendel Stuart said at the beginning of last year, we have to move to a level of excellence and stay there.Almost two-thirds of the present term of Government is finished. As we approach the last 40 per cent we must recognise the absolute necessity of firing on all cylinders.  Last year you may recall I cautioned against ministers accepting responsibilities and taking on the important position of vice-presidents in our party.The last year of our party’s existence is overwhelming evidence that my concerns were legitimate. Our ministers have got a very difficult job to do and I am now predicting that 2011 will have its serious challenges as well. Therefore, I urge all attending our conference to take special note of the areas we need to correct and strengthen in our organisation. There are only two exceptions that we must make in this context; one refers to the position of president of our party for many reasons. If the Honourable David Thompson wishes to, we must ensure that he becomes our president once again by acclamation.  Of equal importance in a major supporting role, the First vice-president position must fall on the highly competent shoulders of the Honourable Freundel Stuart.However, every party member attending this Annual conference must examine carefully who among the candidates available will do the best job in the 2010/2011 party year.I have decided that it would be an injustice for anyone who does not have the time, and maybe the energy, to put in a position that reflects the current year.Additionally, we are privileged to have strong and talented woman candidates in Dr Esther and Irene as members of our Parliament, as well as Maxine McClean. We need to recognise the power and influence of our female comrades and increase their involvement.This annual conference, in my judgement, must be the official starting point of our next general election campaign and this is why I urge the maximum attendance in solidarity and unity.Let us not forget the vision that Errol Walton Barrow left us and that the inescapable fact that his vision is the best platform to build on as said on more than one occasion by the Prime Minister whom we must continue to pray for.It is my conviction that our prayers are being answered. In Errol Barrow’s immortal words, which are more relevant today than when they were first spoken on the evening of the May 13, 1986, we must demonstrate the mirror image we have of ourselves.
•Frank da Silva is a member of the Democratic Labour Party and a former high commissioner.