Wednesday, April 24, 2024

GUEST COLUMN – Annual family reunion

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The family of the Democratic Labour Party will be meeting for its 55th Annual Conference from the August 20 to 22.A political party is like a family. We care, trust, support and have a strong feeling of affection for each other. We sweat; cry on occasion and occasionally bleed for this family. This Annual Conference will probably go down in history as one of our most important family reunions. Our young patriarch, comrade, president, political leader, friend, Prime Minister David Thompson is on leave for medical reasons up to the end of August. The power of prayer continues to be very positive and in his absence, in a tribute to him and ourselves, we must each excel at what we do. David’s wise choice of statesman the Honourable Freundel Stuart as Deputy Prime Minister, now Acting Prime Minister, and as our leader during this period, it is our obligation to give him our full support. As I have said on several occasions, we went out to bat as Government on a difficult wicket which has worsened over the last two years. Now comes the time for us to galvanise the best ideas, maximise our support and turn our economy around, not depending only on what is happening outside of Barbados but on what we can do to ensure in every facet of our efforts, we excel. It is imperative we make this Annual Conference the best ever and surpass our 1985 conference. I hope that 2000 financial members attend this event and demonstrate the camaraderie, loyalty and unity that are the essential ingredients of our family.There are many areas in which our family has excelled in the last year. Space does not allow me to list all but one shining example is the work of Stephen Lashley who appears to be in a sense “to the Manor born”, clearly demonstrating his ability to get things done, his accessibility, and is an example to be followed.Outside of Cabinet, people like Undene Whittaker, our Mother Theresa, and others should be highly complimented for the extraordinary work they are doing.As an honest party we must also examine some areas in which we can and must do better.  Firstly, our irrevocable commitment to establish the best integrity legislation with full accountability and freedom of information is now significantly overdue, and I call on all citizens of this country to demonstrate in as many tangible ways as possible support for our Government to fulfil its overdue commitment.Tobacco kills and I fail to understand that after almost three years a Government that was chosen by the people because of its commitment to change, cannot bring about the legislation necessary to ban smoking from public places. Further, implementing the breathalyzer is also an imperative.Our political family was only 37 years old when it faced an economic crisis in starting in late 1991 and it found a formula to do things within weeks, not months or years.Senior public servants, politicians, the private sector with the full support of the labour movement played an important role in demonstrating that the team approach worked then and could work now. If members of our present Government are unaware of this, may I invite them to a round table discussion so that they can fully appreciate the absolute necessity to implement and take the necessary steps now, as we did then, to turn the economy around in the shortest possible time.Let us make a commitment to this Annual Conference to unite as fully as we can and make August 2010 to August 2011 a year of solid achievements.
Frank da Silva is a member of the Democratic Labour Party and a former high commissioner.

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