Stuart defends record
That’s according to Prime Minister Freudel Stuart, who addressed a meeting at Grazettes, St. Michael last night, as he endorsed three candidates – James Paul of St. Michael West Central; Francis DePeiza of St. Michael North and Patricia Inniss of St. Michael North East.
He gave the small crowd ample reasons why he believed they should vote for these three, as opposed to their opponents, Ian Gooding Edghill, Ronald Toppin or Mia Mottley respectively.
The campaign thus far, said Stuart, had been very educational as the BLP had introduced a new vocabulary of abuse wherever they went, dangling carrots before the electorate and trying to convince people the DLP had been a failed Administration over the past five years.
But, the Prime Minister said the stakes were too high to allow that kind of “deception” to last, pointing at the record of the DLP not just over the past five years, but even beyond that.
In a choice between the two parties, he argued the DLP had “a better record … than any political party in the Caribbean.
Citing “concrete examples”, he said on the issue of the youth there was no better way to look after their interest than to provide educational opportunities which the DLP had done with first the introduction of free education and then the increase of physical educational institutions in the island both at the secondary and tertiary levels. He pointed to free bus fares for school children as a feather in the cap of the party.
On the issue of women, while he said the BLP used to boast of being the party with the most women in the House of Assembly, when it had four representatives at one point, when it came to legislation, it was the DLP which did more for women.
In 1962 the DLP passed equal work for equal pay legislation, then also introduced maternity leave with pay and in 1975 introduced the Succession Act, allowing children born out of wedlock to inherit property from fathers in same way children of married unions did.
In 1992 the DLP passed the Domestic Violence Orders Act, and under Stuart’s Administration from February 1, single women who had children could go to court and claim money for those children whether the fathers had contributed or not, the Prime Minister insisted.
The National Insurance and Social Security Act had passed under the DLP as well, said Stuart, to protect workers who got injured or when they retired allowing them to receive benefits. A Severance Payment Act for workers, was also introduced by the party and employment protection legislation also came into being under the DLP, he pointed out.
He told the crowd this was ample evidence to show that the DLP had the record of putting the interest of the people first, encouraging them to support the party at the polls. (LB)