Move on Mia
A PLOT seeking to prevent Opposition Leader Mia Mottley from winning her bid to be chairman of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) at the party’s annual general conference this monthend has been unearthed.
And those seeking to influence the chairmanship outcome have targeted the St James North branch of MP Rawle Eastmond as one avenue to influence the vote. Eastmond’s branch has been described as a certain supporter of Mottley’s bid for the three-year term of office. St Andrew MP George Payne will be seeking to retain chairmanship of the party at the October 29 to 31 conference.
SUNDAY SUN investigations revealed that 560 people were recruited into the St James North branch and 56 delegates chosen to represent the branch at the conference without Eastmond’s knowledge. That list of delegates did not include Eastmond’s branch president, secretary or treasurer.
Speaking exclusively yesterday to the SUNDAY SUN, Eastmond revealed that the plot had been uncovered and had been dealt with.
He said that on October 5 he received information that a list of St James North delegates for the BLP’s annual general conference had been submitted.
He added that when he checked, the executive of his branch had not prepared the list in question nor authorised or delegated anyone to prepare such a list.
“The list left off the president, the secretary, and other officers from the executive, as well as long-standing members who have been delegates at conferences for 30 to 40 years.
“The upshot is that the executive did meet afterwards and went through that list and rejected it on the grounds that it had not been cleared with the executive,” he said.
Eastmond added it was recognised that the purpose of the list was to angle votes in a particular direction at the imminent BLP annual conference. He said the St James North list that went into the BLP’s general secretary Cynthia Forde on September 30 did not originate in St James North.
“Historically battles for nominations and for positions in parties are often witnessed by the joining of forces loyal to those who joined them up, with one aim, and that is to secure votes for the persons who pay to join them up,” he said, adding he got the information in time to correct the situation.
Eastmond lamented what had happened and said people who would have been automatically chosen in his branch were deliberately left out because they were perceived to be more loyal to him than aspirants “seeking office at the party conference”.
According to the BLP’s constitution, every ten registered members of a branch entitles that branch to one delegate. Indications are that at least two rural constituencies and one St Michael riding have shown a recent upsurge in membership recruitment.
Yesterday, Mottley told the SUNDAY SUN she was “horrified” that anyone would try to bypass the legitimately elected branch executive – and the MP – to submit a delegates list.
“I will not be involved in any skulduggery. This is a matter for the national council of the party to resolve,” she said.
Yesterday, Payne said he did not usually discuss internal party matters with the media but stressed he was the BLP’s chairman and he was not aware of anyone else who had publicly indicated an interest in challenging him for that position.
At a St Andrew branch meeting at the Ermy Bourne Centre on September 26, Payne said that despite the tradition of the leader of the party and the chairman being the same person heading into an election, the 2008 general election saw Owen Arthur being leader of the BLP and Dame Billie Miller being the chairman.