Friday, April 19, 2024

All fired up

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The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Sunday night launched an attack on Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader Mia Mottley in the heart of the St Michael North East constituency.

Abandoning their stamping ground of Independence Square, The City, for its first major event in the May 24 General Election campaign, the Dems took the fight to the St Michael riding where Mottley has been reigning since 1994.

Several of the night’s nine speakers questioned her competence to be a Prime Minister – as touted by her supporters – and cited the internal falling out with members of her party.

In his 45-minute address, which ended at quarter past midnight, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, the last speaker, said the DLP’s existence was to fight the notion that anyone’s bloodline entitled them to be privileged so that there was no one who could anchor their achievement to their family.

Stuart, who had long promised to “explain” Mottley, argued that she was privileged and believed her bloodline gave her a sense of entitlement.

“We cannot allow those kind of thought processes to cast root again in Barbados; we left that behind a long time ago,” he told the thousands gathered outside the National Stadium at Waterford, St Michael.

The Prime Minister went back to an article in March 2002 when Mottley became a Queen’s Counsel where then Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, in his citation, stated “. . . whose bloodlines spell and portend limitless and boundless opportunities for even greater achievement”.

Stuart said the days of people getting through based on their bloodline were long gone.

In an atmosphere which was sometimes celebratory and other times serious, the speakers used unflattering pictures of Mottley as they reviewed her tenure as Minister of Education and the EduTech programme, which they blasted as a failure, along with the burning of HMP Glendairy Prisons under Mottley’s watch as Attorney General.

Stuart went through a list of candidates within the BLP line-up, including George Payne, Ralph Thorne, Gline Clarke and Kerrie Symmonds, and questioned their ability to stand up to Mottley.

Both Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick warned that promises coming from Mottley on the platform could not be achieved.

Sinckler referred to a promise of increasing non-contributory pensions, pointing out that any increase there would run into millions and the contributory pensions would also have to increase. He pointed out that the prison burning had left the country with an annual $30 million debt.

Estwick said Mottley appeared to have a magic wand that could solve every problem, including the South Coast sewage crisis. He criticised her suggestion that the businesses there should be closed down and Government pay workers while the Barbados Water Authority worked on the crisis.

He described as “hogwash” Mottley’s proposal to get rid of the National Social Responsibilty Levy and other taxes, while increasing givebacks to the people.  

Patrick Todd, the DLP candidate who is up against Mottley, reminded those on hand that she had been beaten before and he intended to win the seat back for the DLP.

The team, which has dubbed itself the People’s Army, was missing two from among its ranks. Dr Denis Lowe, candidate for Christ Church East, was said to be still recovering from knee surgery and had spent the day canvassing, while St Michael North candidate Kim Tudor was under the weather. (AC)

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