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Kelly’s way to being PM

Trevor Yearwood

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A prime minister has to be able to keep his parliamentary seat and help other contestants win theirs.
This is the message which outspoken Member of Parliament for St Lucy Denis Kellman has for any MP with ambitions of becoming Prime Minister.
Kellman told the WEEKEND NATION yesterday that if ailing Prime Minister David Thompson decides to step down “for whatever reason”, his Democratic Labour Party (DLP) should exercise care in its selection of a replacement.
“Any persons seeking to be Prime Minister in this scenario must be capable of winning his or her seat and helping others to win their seats,” he said.
According to Kellman, it makes no sense selecting as a Prime Minister anyone who has to “spend all of their energy” fighting to win a seat in the next general election.
“The leader must be able to leave his constituency, go into other constituencies and lead the battle and use his goodwill everywhere to help the party capture more seats or at least retain its seats,” he declared.
The DLP must not return to the situation of 2003, when “we spent a lot of time trying to get [former party leader Clyde Mascoll] a seat and did not have time to win a Government,” Kellman said.
The Ambassador to CARICOM also argued that the  DLP leader had to be someone who understood “the economic, financial and other policies that have to be undertaken to turn Barbados around”.
He noted that Thompson’s deputy Freundel Stuart’s advance to the prime ministership is not automatic, since the Prime Minister has to be chosen by the majority of his party’s House of Assembly members.
 He said that while the elders of the party did not have a vote, MPs should seriously consider their suggestions in picking a new leader.
Kellman did not say whether he considered throwing his hat in the ring, but said people across the island rated him a lot higher than local pollsters did.
He told the WEEKEND NATION he had joined the party in the 1970s, had represented it in parliament since 1994 and had stood by it through its bad periods, including 1999 to 2003, “when I was one of only two DLP Members of Parliament”.
With Thompson very ill, a major talking point across Barbados is who would be the best person to replace him.
A poll conducted for The Nation by Peter Wickham’s CADRES showed that new Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler is the people’s pick as Thompson’s successor.