Former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) stalwart, Anthony Wood, is calling on constituents of St George North to send a strong message to the Mia Amor Mottley administration that the “elitist governance” shown thus far will not be tolerated.
In a highly-anticipated address on Sunday night in Newbury, St George, from the platform of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Wood painted a picture of a BLP membership cowering in fear of reprisal from the top.
Wood was speaking leading up to the November 11 by-election for the St George North seat left vacant by former BLP member of Parliament Gline Clarke.
“There are some who tell me that all roads lead to Mottley. So they are like sheep, they are being dominated . . . ,” said Wood.
The former BLP member made it clear that while he has not joined the DLP, he “has come too far to be a boy in the yard under Mottley”.
Wood, who was the deputy campaign manager for the BLP during the 2018 General Election, argued that under Mottley there has been a high-handed approach to governance, which has been evident in policy decisions such as the Barbados Optional Savings Scheme (BOSS), which originally was pitched as a forced savings plan. He also questioned the manner in which the domestic debt restructuring was handled. He warned that if left unchecked, Barbadians will be sorry down the road.
“I am concerned . . . . When I first heard the term forced savings plan, I said to myself that I did the right thing in leaving the Barbados Labour Party because I cannot understand how a woman could be so forward . . . to think that she could determine better than the civil servants how to save their money,” said Wood,
He also argued that the “unilateral approach” to the domestic debt restructuring, during which people holding Government paper took a haircut, was another glaring example of autocratic rule by the current administration. He acknowledged that he was a proponent of the debt re-profiling plan while on the 2018 campaign trail, but he understood it to mean a lengthening of the repayment time rather than deny investors a significant portion of what was owed.
“A clown like me believing that was what debt reprofiling meant, I went and sell that to all sorts of Barbadians on platform after platform . . . ,” he said.
Wood also questioned the haste behind a by-election in the middle of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Gline Clarke resigned abruptly, it surprised me and Gline Clarke is my friend with whom I talk very often. He resigned after telling Barbadians on August 16, 2020 that he intends to contest the next election under the BLP banner. What has changed since August 16? He repeatedly said that he entered politics to represent the St George North constituents and not be a minister. The people of St George North took Gline Clarke at his word and they reposed confidence in him,” he said.
Wood also urged Barbadians to pay close attention to what he described as elitism on display on the BLP’s platform, noting the recent pronouncement by Delisle Bradshaw, who stated that “any idiot can play cricket”.
“When Mottley is telling you that you can’t have big works without talking to me, that is an elitist comment coming from Mia Mottley, whose socialism was different from mine. She is saying that Floyd Reifer is incapable of conceptualising anything that could be considered part of a big works programme, so he got to talk to Mottley to get some help to shape the programme and the policies that would result in big works being produced. That is an elitist statement,” said Wood, who served in the Cabinet of the late Owen Arthur from 1999 to 2008.
“You see these elitist and disparaging comments coming from the other side. I want you all to deal a telling blow to such comments and let them know that you still expect a high degree of respect in social relationships in Barbados. You still demand respect in how people interact with each other in Barbados. If they on the other side, led by Mottley, think that this is not important, then they must be reminded,” he said. (CLM)