An unmatched record
The choice of Government for Barbados for the next five years will come down to three main factors — candidate, party and vision.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart told a meeting of the Democratic Labour Party in Weston, St. James that in the case of each, his party was clearly superior.
He told people of St. James North that when he looked at the fight for that seat, it was obvious that Harry Husbands was the right candidate.
Telling the crowd he knew the Opposition Barbados Labour Party candidate, Edmund Hinkson, from his days at law school, he added: “In any general election, the representation of a constituency has to be viewed at three levels. In the first instance, there is going to be a contest between two personalities.”
“One is the candidate for the Barbados Labour Party and the other is Harry Husbands… Harry brings to politics a strong conviction about the rights of ordinary men and women to actualise their full potential. If he did not believe that he would not be a member of DLP… The DLP provides fertile ground for the germination and maturity of commitment to the marginalised, the disadvantaged and the voiceless,” Stuart said.
As a former trade unionist, the St. Michael South MP noted that it was never a popular thing when a politician committed himself to the cause of workers, but that was what Husbands had done, whereas the BLP had been more concerned with the rights of the privileged and rich and the well-off.
“Politics is not a spectator sport. You do not enter to improve your CV, or because of the privileges, you enter and you fight to get elected because you want to make a difference to the lives of the people who need representation.”
In the choice of two political parties, Stuart added that the DLP had a history of creating policies in the interest of the people, leaving their fingerprints across the landscape in policy.
“[W]hen you look back at history, the fingerprints of DLP can be seen all across Barbados because the party has touched the lives of people at every level between 1961 and tonight. The BLP does not have a record that can equal, far less surpass that of the DLP.
“In the last five year the DLP has been governing in circumstances more difficult than that of any previous government; has achieved much for the people, much to the bafflement of onlookers who wonder how we got it done.”
Despite the economic crisis, he pointed out, they had been able to create more low income housing in five years than any other Government and had also increased services in the economy. Minimum wage was increased as well, Stuart said and the Government “put public servants in a position where … as result of adjustment of tax bands … some public servants are going home with $230 more to their pay packets than before”.
“We† have not had to cut back on any services made available. Rather than cut back, we have increased them… You have had a Government that is level headed, talked less and done more. If there is a choice between two parties the DLP is the obvious choice. The BLP cannot match the record of the DLP. The choice between two is no choice,” he stated.
Finally, the Prime Minister maintained that the vision of the DLP was the third reason that the people should elect them to Government once again.
“Let me tell you, we in DLP intend to create a society in which every man, woman, and child of whatever station can find his/her place to actualise his or her potential. There will be scope for the young, the middle aged and the old.”
Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, he said, had recently laid a national youth policy before Parliament, evidence that they were charting a way forward for the youth. Similarly, Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett had also received approval for the White Paper on Ageing, again proof that they were taking care of the aged, and had also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities.
“Our vision of the future is a clear vision. We want a society that is socially balanced, economically viable and environmentally sound. I feel proud to stand before you, look you in face and recite our record. I feel proud to look you in the face and tell what we have planned for future,” said Stuart. (LB)