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ELEVEN GOVERNMENT MEMBERS?of parliament (MPs) – including seven senior Cabinet ministers – yesterday affixed their signatures to a formal letter and immediately dispatched it to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart requesting an “urgent” audience.
The move came at the same time that the SUNDAY SUN was handed a copy of a recent survey by CADRES, which points to a real and present danger of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP), led by Stuart, losing the next general election.
“Against the backdrop of growing concern among supporters of the Government and our party, with respect to perceived weaknesses in our leadership of the country, and a sense of drift and inertia arising therefrom, we the undersigned elected members of the Parliamentary Group seek an urgent audience with you to discuss matters of grave concern to us, as well as to chart a path forward for the retention of our party in Government,” the letter states.
The stepped-up action by the MPs followed a verbal request made of the Prime Minister before his departure early last week for Trinidad. It also came ahead of another official trip planned by Stuart for tomorrow.
“We are mindful of your planned travel, on Monday, December 12, 2011. However, given the magnitude of this situation and our deep concern over its implications, we would wish that this meeting be held before your departure,” added the MPs in their correspondence, a copy of which was obtained by the SUNDAY SUN.
They have also chosen Leader of Government Business John Boyce, who is also second vice-president of the DLP, to liaise with Stuart on a time and place for the meeting.
Up to press time, the SUNDAY SUN was unable to reach either Stuart or Boyce for comment on the development, but informed sources were confident a meeting would be held later today.
When contacted, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler also refused comment on the matter; so too did Minister of Health Donville Inniss and Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett, who said: “I know nothing about that nonsense!”
Sinckler also strongly rejected reports that he was being put forward by the group of 11 as the person they wanted to lead them.“I don’t know of any such thing . . . . Barbados is a place of rumours,” he said.
However, the matter of his elevation is being strongly backed by pollster Peter Wickham in the June survey carried out by CADRES.In fact, the summary judgement of the poll, which was carried out in four constituencies – two marginal DLP seats, one bellwether and one the party came close to winning and believes it should win on the next occasion – clearly states that Sinckler is “most favoured” in these ridings and that this “speaks to a national preferential trend in our opinion”.Mottley over Arthur In much the same vein, Wickham indicated that Mia Mottley was better placed than Owen Arthur to lead the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) into the next election.
“This presents a peculiar scenario where the preferred leader in both parties is not leading those parties and it is noteworthy that both PM Stuart and former PM Arthur rank lowest among these options,” the report states.
Overall, the survey points to a four to six per cent national swing against the DLP, which would theoretically remove it from office.CADRES emphasized that the survey was not national, but based on its localized investigations, it was recommending that “the DLP explore these findings at the national level at the earliest opportunity and specifically seek to elucidate the leadership situation with a view to identifying the source of Stuart’s unpopularity in the hope that these issues can be addressed before it faces the polls in 2013”. (KJ)