Open letter to BLP leadership
Yes, there is a collective leadership made up of individuals who, when they speak, are identified as part and parcel of the Barbados Labour Party leadership.
1. Let me deal seriatim with matters at hand. I believe that most of you may recall that when Mr Owen Arthur was nominated as Leader of the Opposition, there was opposition. Indeed, some were even diametrically opposed, but there was certainly none of the vitriol such as being spewed now.
2 No former leader rushed back to take over the leadership when there seemed to be a great possibility of victory at the polls at the next election.
3. What followed, however, was a closing of the ranks and the election was won, granting Mr Arthur the best possible team of experience and new thinking since “the great combination”.
4. I am sure that not all the decisions, policies and programmes during the 14 years which found favour with the people came from the “wisdom” of one man – the Prime Minister. He may have been lauded but I am sure that it was a team effort. Yet, I believe that some of you found that Mr Arthur did not always listen. Indeed, a leader cannot always listen to or hear all the voices clamouring for attention. In fact, however, as one senior minister mentioned to me concerning a particular matter, he had to remind the same prime minister that he should return his minister’s telephone calls.
5. Mr Arthur says he has resigned from the party. Why, may I ask, is he still meddling in the affairs of the party? Just as those who were opposed to his nomination as leader subsequently contained themselves and gave him the benefit of their collective “wisdom”, why could it not be the same with this leader? Is it not your (all leaders) role to together discuss, refashion and hone ideas and policies for the benefit of the country?
6. Now I have heard it said that the present Leader of the Opposition Miss Mia Mottley does not listen. I put that to her during a meeting we had some months ago. Her succinct reply was: “Am I not listening to you?” And she was, as I could tell by her responses.
7. Ladies and gentlemen of the party, I am sure that you are all aware that your repeated public display of division and divisiveness, some of which seems, unfortunately, meant to sully the reputation and ability of the current leader, in fact impacts on the party of which you are also a leader.
8. I do not think that you are so “sagacious” as to believe that the bickering and ‘bad-mouthing’ is not a boon to the Democratic Labour Party and a clear signal to the electorate that “a house divided against itself will not stand”. And it will then be obvious to them (the electorate) that they shall not trust the ‘fortunes of the country’ to what is then perceived as a ragtag group of people who cannot even regulate themselves. Is this what you want? Within a previous group of leaders, as I noted above, even though they did not agree with the election of Mr Arthur as leader at that time, rationality prevailed. May we expect the same?
9. As far as the Dr Maria Agard matter is concerned, I had written to her offering to mediate. I got no reply. I understand that the former constituency representatives and other seniors in the party had also offered and/or tried to mediate over time. I have not heard that the man who had suggested her as a candidate was one of those who offered to mediate. It would be useful to know his stance.
10. Finally, let me say that this initiative is entirely mine. I have had no contact with the Leader of the Opposition Ms Mottley concerning any of these points raised in this open letter. One thing is certain, however: the longer the diatribe and frivolity continues, the closer is election defeat for the party. The ball is in your court – leaders.
– Michael Rudder