by Neville Clarke
More than two years after her unceremonious removal as Barbados Labour Party leader, the St. Michael North East MP was chosen this morning by a now twice-defeated BLP to revive its fortunes against a newly re-elected but weakened Democratic Labour Party Administration.
But her predecessor, Owen Arthur, was not among those giving her the nod in person as Leader of the Opposition when the strengthened Parliamentary group met for four hours today at the party’s Roebuck Street headquarters.
Following unconfirmed reports suggesting her former boss preferred new St. James Central MP, Kerrie Symmonds, to be his successor, Mottley’s election was announced just before two this afternoon by Secretary of the BLP parliamentary group, St. George North MP, Gline Clarke.
And she immediately promised Barbadians their interests would be represented by a united and vibrant Opposition, including Arthur, whose contribution she praised.
“I want first and foremost to thank the members of the BLP’s parliamentary group for the confidence of the appointment as Leader of the Opposition and to indicate that we will as a united Opposition move forward in a very disciplined and strong way representing the 74,000 plus people who expressed their support for the BLP last Thursday,” Mottley told the media.
“We are equally aware that this is a very difficult time for the country and we pledge to the country that we will uphold the rights of people without in anyway placing obstacles that will anyway hinder the development of Barbados.
“But at the same time we are cognisant that this is a time for choices and that the people of Barbados will have to make choices, even after this election, that will determine what kind of Barbados we live in and what kind of society we build.
“And to that extent we feel gratified that the public of Barbados has given us such an exceptionally strong Opposition in order to be their voice without being an hindrance and an obstacle to the country’s development,” she added.
In response to a query about the party’s unity, Mottley dismissed any suggestions that the institution was divided at this time, said it had learned from earlier disputes, and pledged to go forward as a united party.
She also commented on Arthur’s absence from today’s meeting, pointing out that the former Prime Minister had opted to give the other members of parliamentary group the freedom to elect the candidate of their choice.
The BLP parliamentary group head said Arthur had indicated his intention be a full and vibrant member of the Opposition, noting that with 14 members on the Opposition benches now compared to Government’s 16 it would gave true meaning to the term “shadow minister”.
Mottley also lauded Arthur’s contribution over the past 28 years and said contrary to statements from the DLP, the BLP went through the recent general election campaign united and had emerged united.
Expectations of an announcement about the BLP’s leadership following the election loss heightened around 10 this morning when several of the party’s parliamentarians arrived at Grantley Adams House.
The nature of the talks were such that media personnel were asked to stay a safe distance from the party headquarters until the deliberations were completed.
About four hours later BLP General Secretary, George Griffith, emerged, informing the media a new leader had been chosen, and inviting reporters to meet her and the other parliamentarians. email@example.com