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GUEST COLUMN: BLP at Haggatt Hall

Frank da Silva

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ON SUNDAY August 29 the Barbados Labour Party held a meeting at Haggatt Hall at which I was present. In keeping with a long-established habit, I stood in the middle of those attending. Many people chose to sit in their cars and there was no shortage of cars in and around the area.
I was impressed at the early start of the meeting (slightly after 7 p.m.), the quality of the chairpersons, and the fact that Santia Bradshaw is a rising star in her political party.
The speakers did a good job. Naturally, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur and the undisputed leader of the Barbados Labour Party, Mia Mottley, played major roles.
I had said in my previous column that the general election campaign for 2013 had started itself during the recently held Annual Conference of my party, the DLP. It is equally clear that the same thing happened at the Barbados Labour Party meeting at Haggatt Hall.
I suspect from now until the end of Election Day 2013, the campaign is on. In my judgement this is good for Barbados.
The absence of the Hon. David Thompson from active duty over the last two months clearly presented some challenges for our team, but there are examples of people rising to a level of excellence. We welcome our Prime Minister’s return to Barbados.
Let me state categorically that I have complete confidence in the integrity of the Democratic Labour Party. And, by the time this column is published, or shortly afterwards, I expect a full and unequivocal explanation of the various charges made, in particular those made by Owen Arthur and Mia Mottley, as they related to questions about the Pierhead Project and the strong allegations that small contractors are not being given their fair share of the 40 per cent commitment made by our Government.
These explanations and rebuttals must be given as soon as possible and remove any odour of impropriety that these unanswered challenges will result in. Failing to do so would not be right and could have significant political implications.
The irrevocable commitment given by the DLP as it relates to world-class integrity legislation, accountability and transparency have taken far too long to be implemented. Therefore, I am exceptionally pleased to report that our recently concluded Annual Conference delivered a message by the Acting Prime Minister, the Hon Freundel Stuart, and supported by the Hon Christopher Sinckler that this would be done without further delay.
I would like to encourage all Barbadians to attend major political meetings of both political parties, even if your political loyalty is to another party.
I would welcome Barbados Labour Party members to attend any public meetings that the DLP may plan to have and equally ask DLP supporters to visit BLP meetings and to do it in a transparent manner – stand among the crowd.
Attending the BLP’s meeting was very worthwhile, not only from the point of view of part of the content but also because it allowed many of our brothers and a few sisters who belong to that family to engage with me in robust debate.