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FULL STORY: All not lost

Dawne Parris

FULL STORY: All not lost

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A prominent Caribbean political scientist says don’t count the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) out of possible victory in the next elections despite the leadership controversy now swirling around.
Professor Neville Duncan said the 11 parliamentarians who have expressed concerns in a letter to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart about his leadership have damaged the party, but he does not believe it was irreparable.
He told the WEEKEND NATION there may also be issues within the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) which could put the two parties on a more even keel when the election bell was rung.
Duncan was speaking on the heels of NATION?reports that 11 Government MPs had written to the Prime Minister seeking an “urgent audience” to discuss matters pertaining to his leadership and “to chart a path forward for the retention of our party in Government”.
 “On the face of it, it’s bad for the Democratic Labour Party,” the regional academic said. “Most of these are members of Cabinet and if they had any issues with policies, that is the framework in which they should have discussed it and had their fights hidden away from the public . . . . I think they’re still relatively young; so they have a lot to learn.”
“I think they have hurt the party, but there’s still time to recover,” he added, pointing out that the DLP should find “an appropriate development path that they can all support and bring it to the public”.
“Between now and 2013, or whenever elections are called, the party can do a fair bit of damage control, and more than that, the Barbados Labour Party will have its measure of internal difficulty although they probably won’t make it as public as the governing party did.”
Duncan’s comments also came days after the release of results of a recent CADRES survey which pointed to the DLP, led by Stuart, possibly losing the next election.
The political scientist noted that while the latest controversy did not help the party’s chances, there were other issues which both parties had to address in order to sway the electorate.
“I think both sides have difficulties in how they’re going to offer to the public proper solutions to the global financial and economic crisis,” he said.
Despite responses from five of the 11 identified as having concerns with Stuart’s leadership, the Prime Minister himself has not made any public statement.Stuart returned home yesterday from New York where he attended the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level panel on Global Sustainability.Although reporting on the outcome of the meeting in a brief telephone interview with the WEEKEND?NATION?while still in New York, Stuart did not discuss the leadership controversy at home.
He did indicate though that he was “feeling fine”.