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Mia’s call

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Mia’s call

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THE BALL is now in Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley’s court.
So says George Payne, lead spokesman for a dissident group of five Barbados Labour Party (BLP) MPs pushing to have former Prime Minister Owen Arthur replace Mottley.
The others are Arthur, Ronald Toppin, Gline Clarke and Dale Marshall, who have written to Mottley requesting a meeting on Monday, October 18, at 10 a.m. at party headquarters on Roebuck Street, The City, to review her leadership.
The five have also invited the other BLP MPs – Dr William Duguid, Cynthia Forde and Rawle Eastmond – each thought to be supporting Mottley, to the same meeting.
Both letters were dated October 12. They were released to the Press yesterday.
These developments came the day after a stay of execution was granted to
Mottley late Tuesday by the five, who along with Duguid, had earlier met at Payne’s home last Monday night.
However, Duguid has not signed the latest communication sent to Mottley, who seems determined to keep the job.
Payne said the letter was sent because they want to ensure that Mottley was given a fair hearing. It is part of the continuing process of dialogue.
He said that for Tuesday’s meeting of the parliamentary group she had 48 hours’ notice, “24 hours more than when she invited us to her meeting [earlier this year]”.
“Even though we can constitutionally move [to replace her], we decided to give her more than 48 hours this time,” said Payne, the BLP’s chairman.
He is not ruling out the possibility that she may eventually step down, even as he suggests that this is a matter entirely for Mottley.
Last night Mottley said she found out about the letter on a social media site on the Internet before she received it.
“I learnt about it on Facebook before I received the letter in an email which was copied to members of the media.”
When asked a series of questions, including if she would be attending Monday’s meeting, Mottley would only say: “At this stage I have nothing further to say.”
Earlier Payne had pointed out that the majority of BLP elected members were opposed to her continuing at the helm, but were prepared to hold strain for the moment in answer to concerns raised by Mottley.
“She had indicated that she did not have adequate opportunity to know who the persons were [calling for her removal]. We have now written to her, clearly indicating who those members are and requesting a meeting on Monday,” the St Andrew MP told the MIDWEEK NATION.
“We felt that though we could have brought closure to this matter, we wanted to be fair to her,” he said.
Payne stressed it was up to Mottley to decide on the next course of action, including whether she would resign, but said she would be given time to respond.
“As it stands now, we will wait, unless there is something that happens on her part. We hope she will turn up [for the meeting], but the ball is really in her court now,” Payne said.
He also confirmed that Arthur, who has been noticeably missing from the spotlight in recent days, had not been feeling well yesterday but said “he is okay today”.
“We met last night and we met again today and had further discussions on the matter,” he said.
In response to concerns by party elders about airing of “dirty laundry” in public last Tuesday, Payne said: “We didn’t want anything like that.”
Deputy BLP leader Dale Marshall dismissed suggestions that he may emerge as a compromise candidate as the leadership tussle dragged on.
“I want to serve my country, my constituency and my party. I am on no quest for leadership of the party,” said Marshall. (KJ/SP)