Owen and Mia to meet
THE HEALING PROCESS in the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) appears to have begun.
Opposition Leader Owen Arthur and his immediate predecessor Mia Mottley are scheduled to have their first sit-down together, since her ouster, at 11 a.m. tomorrow to thrash out a number of differences.
Mottley was replaced as BLP leader last year under acrimonious circumstances that have split the party.
It is anticipated that St Thomas MP Cynthia Forde and St James North MP Rawle Eastmond will also be at what has been dubbed the “Peace Summit”. Mottley is on an overseas engagement but is due to return to Barbados today.
On Thursday night an upbeat Arthur met behind closed doors with the executive membership of the BLP’s St James North branch at a residence in St James, where a number of contentious issues were discussed, chief of which was external interference into the branch’s affairs.
It marked the first occasion that an attempt had been made to deal with the concern raised by Eastmond and his branch about membership padding and voting irregularities prior to last year’s BLP annual conference.
The St James North executive membership wrote to BLP chairman and St Andrew MP George Payne last year calling for an enquiry by the party’s national executive council into those allegations but to date no formal investigation has been conducted. Payne heads the council.
Some members of the executive complained to Arthur on Thursday night about Payne’s involvement in the branch’s affairs.
When contacted, Eastmond told the SATURDAY SUN the meeting was held in an amicable spirit and that Arthur had given him the authority to deal with the public relations aspect of the reconciliation process.
He said Arthur indicated a need for an amendment to the party’s constitution to require new people joining a branch to be interviewed by existing membership before gaining admittance.
“He voiced his opposition to the overnight flooding of membership registers,” Eastmond said, stressing that Arthur’s principal role at the more than two-hour meeting was to promote unity.