DLP ship on course
Prime Minister David Thompson is still the captain of the Democratic Labour Party ship.This was made clear by Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart yesterday on the final day of the party’s 55th annual general conference.“There has been no changing of the guard in Barbados. The Prime Minister is still the Honourable David John Howard Thompson. He is on leave, and I am acting, as I have done on numerous occasions,” Stuart told a full house at the party’s George Street Auditorium headquarters.“The absence of Prime Minister Thompson has brought refreshingly to the fore the level-headedness of the men and women he left in charge of Barbados. The Cabinet has continued the business of Government in and out of Parliament with confidence, determination and calm. “The public has been able to rely on the uninterrupted and timely delivery of Government services, the extended absence of the Prime Minister notwithstanding,” the Acting Prime Minister said.And according to Stuart, there is no way that Thompson, and by extension the party, will forget the people of Barbados during these trying times.Stirring addressIn a stirring 90-minute address, Stuart said the party would continue on its path to keep unemployment to a minimum, revive business for small contractors, protect the vulnerable, and continue to offer low-income earners the chance to buy their first homes.The Acting Prime Minister revealed yesterday that Government’s latest move to deal with the worldwide recession would be to increase National Insurance payments for unemployed people from 26 weeks to 40 weeks, with the additional 14 weeks to be paid at a slightly adjusted rate. “This facility will remain in place, in the first instance, until 2011, and is designed to alleviate distress of those who would have lost their jobs and have been experiencing difficulty in securing employment.”Stuart, the Member of Parliament for St Michael South, was especially critical of attempts by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party to derail the Government with continuous talk about CLICO and other issues.“When you listen to the Barbados Labour Party, the voice in your head will be saying, in the familiar words of calypsonian Li’l Rick, ‘guh down, guh down, guh down’. When you listen to the Democratic Labour Party, the voice in your head will be saying, ‘Don’t stop down dey; come up, come up, come up,” Stuart said to deafening applause from a standing-room only crowd.The Acting Prime Minister noted that for the DLP, politics was about how power could be used for change to better the lives of the vulnerable and the voiceless in society.Regarding CLICO and what he called the BLP’s “white noise and statistics”, Stuart reiterated that Barbadians who had invested in the company would not lose the principal they had invested.