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FORMER GENERAL SECRETARY of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Lionel Sealy, believes that ailing Prime Minister David Thompson should step down from office.
And, he adds the DLP’s parliamentary group needs to use the unfortunate circumstances of Thompson’s illness as the impetus to put legislation in place to protect any Prime Minister and his (her) family in the event that sickness results in that Prime Minister demitting office.
“In the interest of Prime Minister Thompson, who is a son, father, with a vibrant family, consideration should be given to replacing him as Prime
Minister, a position to which he can return to once he has regained his health,” Sealy said.
He added that an acting Prime Minister should and could not function in the same manner as the person mandated to hold that office. He said that as a developing country in the present world economic environment, Barbados needed a leader who was ever present, mindful and available to pursue investment and development opportunities in the interest of the people.
He said traditionally when foreign or local investors were seeking to do business in any of the English-speaking Caribbean territories, they always wanted to seek audience with the Prime Minister because of the structure of government and the total power vested in the office of Prime Minister.
On September 30 Thompson told the nation his reduced physical capacity had placed a strain on his ability to serve Barbados as he wanted.
The chairman of the board of management of Her Majesty’s Prisons, Dodds, said every resource should continue to be made available to assist in Thompson’s recovery. But, he added, it was apparent from his recent televised comments that his was a long-term recuperative process.
He said Government needed to learn from the prevailing situation and amend existing legislation to provide for the care of a Prime Minister and his (her) family whether in office or forced to leave office because of an unexpected illness.
“If you are forced to demit office during your term, the state should not cease to look after your interests because you have an unexpected illness. It should continue and your family should be looked after,” Sealy said.
He called on the DLP’s parliamentary group to heed Thompson’s most recent televised comments and in the event that there was a change of leadership, they should undertake that task as stipulated and conduct the process of selecting a new Prime Minister in the interest of Barbados.
Sealy suggested that the best person to lead the DLP Government in circumstances of prolonged illness or the death of Thompson was the latter’s own appointment as his deputy, Freundel Stuart.