Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is ready to battle critics of the 2014-2015 budget and those who want to unseat his party from government.
In a feisty presentation to the opening of the Democratic Labour Party’s 58th Annual Conference Stuart defended his government’s shift away from tuition fees subsidies or Barbadians attending the University of the West Indies Cave Hill, said no political party ever faced the current economic challenges, and asserted himself as the leader in the fight for a better Barbados.
“I do not fight battles until I have to … nobody chooses any battleground for me or the way of battle, I choose them,” he said to rousing applause at the George Street DLP Headquarters Friday evening at the beginning of the conference that ends Sunday.
“Let the enemy know that you are not dealing with a kitten, you are dealing with a real warrior, “said Stuart, who is also Party President.
Stuart said, “We have a lot of people around here who believe that because we are civil, because we are good-mannered, that means that we are weak and they try to push us to the limit. I just want to remind them, civility is not a sign of weakness, and this government is going to govern Barbados in the interest of the people of Barbados.
Assuring the party faithful that he will on Sunday speak at length on education and the new budget’s imposition of tuition fees for UWI students, Stuart reminded the audience that one of the platforms on which his party won the 1961 elections was free meals for primary school children and free education for those in secondary school.
“On both of these issues it was energetically opposed by the Barbados Labour Party,” Stuart said. “We were told in 1961 that the country could not afford school meals for primary school children. And, the Barbados Labour Party pledged in 1961 that if they were elected, all the plans … that were put in place to make the programme effective and to bring it to reality were going to be disposed of because it was nonsense”.