Hewitt: Trying to save country’s soul
In officially launching his campaign to become the next leader of the embattled Democratic Labour Party (DLP) yesterday at Hilton Barbados, former diplomat Reverend Guy Hewitt revealed that a week before deciding to challenge current leader Verla De Peiza, he had no interest in elective politics.
What changed was what he was seeing in Barbados, Hewitt told a small crowd gathered at the Needham’s Point, St Michael venue, that included former ministers Ronald Jones and John Boyce, as well as former Speaker of the House Michael Carrington, former MP James Paul, and another former diplomat and senator, Haynesley Benn.
In a 40-minute speech punctuated with references to the DLP founder and Father of Independence, National Hero and former Prime Minister Errol Walton Barrow, Hewitt said his challenge of the current president was in no way a sign of internal issues, but a true test of democracy at a time when preservation of the country’s soul was most important.
“A few weeks ago, I affirmed I had no desire for there to be a contested leadership of the DLP. However, my perspective quickly changed as persons both inside and outside the party made it clear that the time has come for new leadership.”
The clergyman reminded all present that challenges of DLP leadership was nothing new. He recalled that Sir Frederick “Sleepy” Smith had challenged Barrow, while Brandford Taitt had come up against Clyde Mascoll, who was later challenged by former Prime Minister, the late David Thompson.
“Today is the first step in the quest to reclaim the soul of our nation,” he said about his desire to lead the country’s largest mass-based political organisation.
Hewitt, the former High Commissioner to London, said the Dems needed to get back to basics since the way Barbados voted as a single constituency in the 2018 election was not to vanquish the party forever.
“We need to restore democracy, social values and cohesion and create opportunities for economic empowerment. It cannot be that our young unskilled males are faced with the binary choice of drugs or cleaning the public road.”
The fledgling politician noted that though Barbadians had spoken in no uncertain terms during the last election, he did not believe they did so to create a one-party state.
“However, I’m equally aware that the populace wanted to send a clear message to the type of leadership and politics that will not be tolerated,” Hewitt added. (BA)