Move on George
MOVES ARE AFOOT to have St Andrew MP George Payne expelled from the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) on an allegation that he breached the party’s constitution.
SATURDAY SUN investigations have revealed that a coalition of BLP candidates has retained the services of legal counsel and is preparing to carry out a probe into Payne’s conduct.
It’s the latest twist to a bitter leadership fight that pits Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley against her former leader, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur.
But Payne, who has been in the forefront of efforts to have Mottley removed from the BLP’s helm, could be faced with a fight of his own, as the group’s lawyers review Chapter 15, with specific reference to Section 81 Clause (b), of BLP’s constitution.
The rules indicate that the national council of the BLP reserves the right to discipline, through suspension or expulsion, any member: “If through writings or utterances or in any other way it can be established that he acted in [a] manner inimical to the best interest of the party.”
Quizzed about the development, Payne reacted with surprise. In fact, he told the SATURDAY SUN it all “sounded like a joke” to him.
Meantime, the plot thickened yesterday as some party insiders expressed discomfort with Payne presiding over the national council. This after the St Andrew MP, who is being challenged by Mottley for the chairmanship of the BLP, cancelled a council meeting on Thursday night, which was slated to discuss complaints of vote rigging ahead of this monthend’s internal elections.
St James North MP Rawle Eastmond, who is supporting Mottley’s bid for the chairmanship, went public last weekend after discovering that someone had sent in a list of 56 delegates from his branch to the BLP’s general secretary Cynthia Forde without his prior knowledge or that of his branch executive.
Yesterday, a party source raised concerns about the postponement of Thursday’s meeting.
And in another turn of events, a member of the BLP’s Women’s League revealed that a list of 210 delegates had been sent in to the general secretary although the women’s arm had not met officially to choose delegates. She said the concerns were similar to those highlighted by Eastmond.
However, when contacted Women’s League president Pat Parris denied the allegation.
“The executive met and agreed on a number of delegates and every since then I have been receiving requests from various female members of the party asking to be delegates of the Women’s League. There are thousands of women in the BLP . . . During the past four years whenever we had an annual general meeting we had in excess of 200 members,” she said.
When asked if the delegates were “officially selected”, Parris reiterated that the executive “met and agreed” on a number of delegates. She said she would not comment on the term “officially selected”. (WG/KJ)