PM says BLP a party of elitism
Elitism and snobbery have long been the hallmarks of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and in 2017 they are still quite alive and thriving, according to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
At the opening of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP)’s 62nd annual General Conference, Stuart, who acknowledged he has been accused of talking too little, gave the assurance that he would shortly be speaking much more on this and other issues.
Stuart said former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, who he said had 15 years to make inroads into the same snobbery that kept former Minister of Labour under the Grantley Adams administration, Mencea Cox from ascending to the head of the BLP, but did not.
Recounting a conversation he had with Arthur on the grounds of Parliament, Stuart said he reprimanded him for his lack of action.
“You were born in the working class in Barbados. You were raised in the working class of Barbados, you were educated at the expense of the working class in Barbados. You were given the rare opportunity of getting a chance to lead the most conservative political organisation in Barbados, the Barbados Labour Party; you were given that chance in 1993, you led it for 15 years. The chance you were given was a chance that a man called Mencea Cox wanted in 1958 . . . but the snobs and the elitists did not feel that a former taxi driver who educated himself and presented himself in Barbadian politics should lead so distinguished an organisation as the Barbados Labour Party.
“Let me tell you what I have against you, that after 15 years of leading the Barbados Labour Party, given your origins, given all the support that went into your formation, when you were ready to give up the Barbados Labour Party, you had not brought along anybody from your class to whom you could hand it. You had to hand it back to the conservatives. I said it; as far as I am concerned that is a block on your escutcheon and you wouldn’t correct it so it falls on me to correct it because as our theme says, we have got to put Barbados first,” said Stuart Friday night at George Street auditorium.
Stuart charged he did not believe the best interest of Barbados would be served by allowing an “arch conservative in the Barbados Labour Party to preside over the destiny of hard-working working class men and women in this country”. (SDB Media)
To a thunderous applause from his parliamentary and party members and faithful packed inside the George Street auditorium, he posited that he has listened, observed, kept his peace and that their day of reckoning is nigh.
“I have said in public, on the floor of the House of Assembly, on national television, I don’t attack people in politics- I explain. And the time is going to come not too long from now when I will have a chance to do that explanation. I said then and will repeat tonight, the effects of attacks don’t really last. People have a good time and they laugh and so on but they don’t really last; but explanations last and somebody has to put him or herself with trouble to explain the present leader of the Barbados Labour Party to Barbadians and I am going to do it.
“. . . . And you will be hearing from me over the next few months as we go towards that historic day. . . . Make no mistake we are seeking a third mandate from the people of Barbados. I am satisfied that as a party in Government over the last ten years we have nothing of which we can be made to feel ashamed . . . we will be at the rendezvous of victory,” Stuart signalled.
Several young people who were described as assets, were also recognised for their contribution across various fields to make Barbados greater Friday night, under the theme Barbados First. They were Yannic Boyce, Omari Eastmond, Mario Burke, Roger Husbands, Naomi Forde- Hinds and Samantha “Miss Sammy G” Greaves. (SDB Media)