BLP to deal with Kerrie privately
General secretary responds to public outburst by Symmonds
Any disciplinary action that may be taken against St James Central MP Kerrie Symmonds will take place within the confines of the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) Roebuck Street headquarters and not in the newspapers or on the airwaves.
This was made clear today by the party’s general secretary Dr Jerome Walcott, following yesterday’s public outburst by Symmonds in which he emphatically stated that he was not a clone of the Opposition Leader Mia Mottley while refusing to side with her on the need for repeal of the Government’s Municipal Solid Waste Tax.
Walcott, who had also taken to the airwaves yesterday to publicly chastise Symmonds over his comments, told reporters today that the obvious internal conflict would be addressed in private going forward.
Walcott, who is an Opposition senator, also said the BLP would not be sidetracked from its stated mission of improving the lives of Barbadians and would be pressing ahead with Thursday’s march, which is scheduled to begin at Heroes Square, The City and end at Government Headquarters on Bay’s Street, St Michael where a letter will be presented to the receptionist, addressed to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
“Over the past 76 years being focused and not being distracted has allowed the Barbados Labour Party to assist on improving the lives of Barbadians and that is how we operate.
“From time to time there will be distractions, but we remain focused in our goal to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Barbados. That is how we have been guided over the past 76 years.
“Many of you would be curious and I would say from time to time there are internal issues in any political party but the culture of the Barbados Labour Party over these years is that we deal with matters within our headquarters and not necessarily in the newspapers or on the airwaves,” he added.
In response to Symmonds, Walcott also denied that the decision taken by the party on the highly controversial Municipal Solid Waste Tax was sprung on its sitting parliamentarians.
“We have discussed this matter in terms of our plans to deal with it at various levels within the party. I know that persons might have said that there has not been discussion but that is far from the truth.
“As general secretary I can tell you that a parliamentary group meeting was held on July 7 at which the matter and the plans that we have rolled out over the last two weeks were discussed and agreed to. Reverend Joseph Atherley can attest to the fact that a meeting was held on Wednesday, July 9 where the caretakers of the various constituencies, that is persons who do not sit in parliament, were informed. Finally, the National Council of the party discussed the matter on Thursday, July 10,” Walcott said.
“We discussed and agreed to a number of activities. Many of you may be familiar with the fact that Mr Owen Arthur had presented a letter that can be used in terms of persons within constituencies obtaining relief and we endorsed this letter as something that will be used throughout the constituencies, not only at the political level, but by individuals who had been calling the Opposition Office and to the headquarters, who are not necessarily affiliated to the party, seeking to get these letters to sign,” Walcott added.
The Opposition senator went on to say that the party held a number of town hall meetings across the country and spot meetings last Friday and Saturday night, culminating in a mass meeting in Carlisle Car Park on Sunday night.
Meanwhile, former parliamentary representative for St Michael West, Reverend Atherley, told the press that he had been tasked with getting in contact with the branches across the country and he reported that their reaction has been enthusiastic.
The former parliamentarian stressed that the BLP did not see Thursday’s march as an exclusively BLP walk because the tax had been viewed with disfavour across the country.
Atherley disclosed that he was further tasked with sensitizing the church on the position the party had taken on the tax as he voiced concern that an institution which had never been taxed before was now caught in the solid waste tax net.