DLP cut off
It’s a case of no seats, no money for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
Because of the 30-nil drubbing it received in the May 24 General Election, the party can no longer benefit from the $150 000 it received annually from Parliament for the last 21 years.
That money, which is paid quarterly, is part of the $300 000 subvention set aside for political parties which have elected members of Parliament. The sum is intended to assist these organisations with their daily administration costs.
“They cannot get it. The party has to have an elected representative,” explained Clerk of Parliament Pedro Eastmond on Saturday.
He said Leader of the Opposition, Bishop Joe Atherley, would also not be entitled to the subvention because he does not represent a political party.
“He hasn’t indicated that he has any party. Until such time as he forms one, he would not be entitled to the funds,” said Eastmond.
The Clerk said until that day, Atherley would only get what the Leader of the Opposition is entitled to.
The Parliament (Administration) Act allows for the Leader of the Opposition to have staff appointed by the Clerk on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition.
Eastmond said the Management Commission of Parliament, established by that act, was responsible for implementing this policy.
This same policy stipulates the payments of up to $1 200 per month for each constituency office, as well as the salary of a constituency assistant attached to each Member of Parliament.
When asked how the absence of this $150 000 annual subvention would impact the operations of the DLP, general secretary George Pilgrim said he preferred not to comment on internal party matters.
However, a senior DLP member who preferred anonymity, said the party would ride out this period.
“The DLP is 63 years old, so prior to that subvention the party survived. It will continue to survive,” he said.
He added that when the party built the George Street Auditorium there was no subvention either, but they achieved that then and would succeed now.
It’s now left to be seen whether the DLP may be forced to trim its administrative staff as the then Opposition Barbados Labour Party had to do back in 2011. Then, citing the impact of the global financial crisis, it severed long-serving chief executive officer David “Joey” Harper, as well as administrative secretary Marilyn Forde. And that was despite being in receipt of the subvention. (SP)