Party probe urged
DOZENS OF St James North residents are calling for an investigation into their irregular registration as delegates for next weekend’s Barbados Labour Party (BLP) annual conference.
And they are asking the BLP’s hierarchy to identify publicly the person(s) responsible and to administer the requisite punishment allowable under the party’s constitution.
A DAILY NATION team yesterday spoke to a number of constituents who complained that they had never joined the BLP but yet discovered they had been registered as members and delegates without their knowledge or permission. Some agreed to go public while most spoke on condition of anonymity.
Former schoolteacher Anthony Bovell of Westmoreland, St James, said he never wrote or signed an application form to be a member of the northern branch or to be a delegate, but that was precisely what he was now.
Public official Keith Henry of Greenwich Village, St James, stressed he had never joined either the BLP, Democratic Labour Party or any other party, yet he had been registered as a member of the BLP and was down as a St James North delegate.
Marcia Jordan denied signing any application form to join the BLP or agreeing to be a delegate but understood she was now a member of the St James North branch.
DAILY NATION enquiries in Greenwich Village also revealed that Gladstone Wilson, of the St James Central constituency, had also been registered as a member and delegate of the St James North branch.
Last month St James North MP Rawle Eastmond revealed he had unearthed a plot where 560 people were recruited into his branch and 56 delegates chosen to represent St James North at the conference without his knowledge or that of his executive.
Despite Eastmond’s call for an investigation, none has yet been conducted.
Yesterday the DAILY NATION caught up with Eastmond canvassing the constituency and several of the constituents voiced their complete support for him and indicated they would reject any attempt to undermine him in the riding.
Eastmond, an attorney-at-law, said at least one resolution would be brought to the floor of next weekend’s annual conference to deal with the manner in which delegates were to be chosen in the future.
He said he also expected that many of the delegates who were “lawfully chosen” would protest the manner the St James North delegates were originally chosen.
“The fact is that the [BLP] national executive council’s meeting to deal with this matter was aborted at very short notice. Curiously, later on over 210 delegates from the BLP’s Women League were selected in the absence of any meeting to choose delegates,” he said.
Yesterday BLP general secretary Cynthia Forde confirmed that some members of the Women’s League executive had written and indicated they did not know how delegates could be chosen when no formal meeting was held to select them.
The St Thomas MP also said she was aware of correspondence from people of St James North indicating they had no knowledge of how they had become members of the BLP.
When reached for comment yesterday BLP chairman George Payne said it was not the party’s policy to discuss internal matters in the public domain and that he would not be deviating from that.