THE “PALACE COUP” has been aborted and Mia Mottley remains Leader of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
But after almost five hours of deliberations by five of the BLP’s nine-member parliamentary group at their Roebuck Street, St Michael headquarters yesterday, there was still some uncertainty whether Mottley’s leadership had the support of the majority of her colleagues.
However, secretary of the parliamentary group, Gline Clarke, who had convened the meeting, told a media briefing that Mottley was still Leader of the Opposition “at this present time”. Also present were BLP chairman George Payne, Ronald Toppin, William Duguid and Dale Marshall.
“She is still the Leader of the Opposition and we will give her that support until further notice,” Clarke said, adding there were still a number of leadership issues to be discussed.
The St George North MP said he had called the meeting to hear certain grievances, but due to the absence of Mottley, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, general secretary Cynthia Forde and Rawle Eastmond, it was thought best to postpone the meeting until a later date.
Clarke said they had a “full and frank discussion on the leadership of the party” and it was decided that the dialogue which had commenced would be allowed to continue to “bring about a speedy resolution to this matter on a soon date”.
Clarke also said Arthur’s absence was due to sickness.
He noted there was no surety that another meeting would be held before the restart of Parliament next week.
Responding to a suggestion that a meeting of BLP elders Monday night had influenced their decision not to oust Mottley, Payne said the BLP’s constitution only mentioned 30 constituency branches, a League of Young Socialists and the Women’s League.
“There is no mention of any elders in our constitution. There is no group in the BLP that is known as the elders,” Payne said.
Those who met on Monday night were Sir Henry Forde, Sir Louis Tull, Dame Billie Miller, Sir Fred Gollop, Sir Richard “Johnny” Cheltenham and Nigel Barrow.
Yesterday’s events followed a six-man meeting Monday night at Payne’s Prior Park, St James residence, reportedly to get majority support to return Arthur to the helm of the party.
But from as early as 12:30 p.m. dozens of the party faithful held court outside the BLP’s headquarters shouting vociferous support for Mottley and denouncing Arthur, under the watchful eyes of the police.
Speaking later outside Parliament, Mottley described the day as “long and interesting”. She said she needed to get further details about what occurred at Roebuck Street and she would then respond appropriately.
Mottley used the opportunity to urge Barbadians to redouble their prayers for ailing Prime Minister David Thompson.