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President of the PEP David Comissiong

by Donna Sealy

Count the People’s Empowerment Party out of the next general election.

David Comissiong, president of the PEP, which had fielded a few candidates in the 2008 general election, said yesterday he did not think they would be bringing any, despite his plea for men and women to step forward and join them.

“We put forward that concept urging Barbadians to see the situation in those terms, or to be willing to come forward, but clearly we are not yet that kind of society. We obviously still have a lot of work to do to develop a sense of citizenship where people understand that the society belongs to them and that they should be involved,” he said.

Comissiong stated that governance of the country should not be left up to two groups of people — the Democratic Labour Party and the Barbados Labour Party.

“I honestly believe that the existing political system is excluding far too much of the talent in this society and it is fatally flawed in that respect. When you look at the 30 people in the House of Assembly, honestly there is a serious dearth of talent there,” he added.

Comissiong said that if the support was there for the PEP, and the party felt that Barbadians were willing to embrace something other than DLP/BLP “we would put candidates in the race”.

“But the likelihood is that the PEP would be out there involved in the campaign at the level of raising issues and discussing issues, but right now the likelihood of us contesting seats I would say is slim at this stage. But we will be in the fray one way or the other,” he said.

The president of the PEP noted that the development paradigm this country had been using had in many ways come to an end and some new directions was needed, which they would have to be pioneer.

“The PEP is going to make the effort but it is a project that we’re going to have to, in a sense, be starting from scratch, trying to determine who are the people and institutions in Barbados that we’re going to have to be working with.

“Barbados is going to have to look much more seriously towards South America in terms of economic and trade relations. That has to be developed — it is not just going to happen. Barbados is going to have to look at a much more environmentally appropriate style of life for our country.

“Some of the things that we’re doing right now are unsustainable and we’re going to have to start giving new thought as to a style of life that is really suited to our environment and our resources and a lot of pioneering work is going to have to be done in that area.

“Barbados is going to have to realise the limitations of an economy based predominately based on tourism, We’re going to have to look at high technology, forms of manufacturing. We’re going to have to look at our education system that is absolutely first class internationally, not only for three of four schools at the top but right across the entire spectrum.

“I’m saying that if we take time to pause and to really consider the challenges facing Barbados now, there are some fundamental things that we’re going to have to do if we’re going to go forward as a country in the future.

“The PEP is very aware that it is not about jumping on some bandwagon. It is going to be about doing some very serious work, working with Barbadian people and institutions that are interested in working with new directions and we’re going to have to be prepared to work at it over a period of time — it is not a ready made anything, it is going to call for a lot of work,” he said.

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