PM: Much thought went into date
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart did not pull the May 24 General Election date out of any magic hat; it was strategic.
This he told an intimate gathering of supporters at a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) social held at the party’s headquarters at George Street, Belleville, St Michael, on Friday night, a day after informing the country about that date and Nomination Day on May 7.
“We did not fix the date whimsically or out of any sudden fancy. All the investigations and the background work which we had to do to make sure there would be no dislocation [to examinations], was done. So I dismiss, with contempt, the crocodile tears that are being shed because we are supposed to have an election on May 24,” Stuart said as he added that the upcoming election was not the first that was held in Barbados in May, a response to those complaining.
“All those who were calling for an election and demanding it wanted a date set. They have nothing to complain about now; a date has been set, and the battle has now begun in earnest,” he said.
The St Michael South incumbent also suggested he intentionally did not announce the election date earlier, even after the House of Assembly was automatically dissolved on March 6. The DLP also had not delivered an “election budget” of “good sweeteners”.
“We’ve got to face some stern facts in this country and have a genuine, authentic, credible dialogue with the people of Barbados about Barbados’ future. That is the context within which this election is going to be called and that is what I wanted because you can put as many plasters over sores as you like, the sore is still there,” the Prime Minister said.
In his hour-long address, Stuart gave a detailed account of the DLP’s accomplishments over the last 63 years, which he charged were the pillars on which Barbados stands today. These included social security, school meals, schools, labour and family laws and, more recently, sexual harassment in the workplace legislation, domestic violence legislation, cultural industries development and new sectors such as energy and offshore medical education.
Sounding the battle cry, the veteran politician maintained he was set for the fight ahead and was ready to confront his opponents, not with any untruths or fake news, as he believed would emerge from their camps.
He said the most powerful weapon the DLP could use against the Opposition Barbados Labour Party was the truth, and once that was told, Barbadians would find it “unpalatable and not easy to digest”.
Defending his party’s record over the last ten years, Stuart said it was one of which the Dems had nothing to feel ashamed about because they governed wisely.
“And we have played the hand we were dealt over the last decade and we are satisfied that we can go and look the people of Barbados in the face and explain and defend the decisions which we took, the policies we put in place and the way in which, for the benefit of the people of Barbados, we used the power which they vested us in January 2008,” Stuart stressed, while maintaining that no other party in Barbados had equalled the contributions the DLP had made. (SDB Media)