The Democratic Labour Party will overcome its challenges for the betterment of Barbados.
Prime Minister and DLP President Freundel Stuart made that vow last evening as he addressed the opening session of his party’s 59th Annual General Conference at its George Street headquarters.
In a 12-minute address, the Prime Minister spoke of the party’s resolve and strength, and threw barbs at the Opposition Barbados Labour Party, while promising to say much more at the conference’s closing ceremony tomorrow evening.
“We in the Democratic Labour Party, whenever the strength of our character has been tested, we have always made sure that we win,” Stuart said to applause by hundreds of party members in the DLP auditorium.
“We have been living in challenging times, but when you are confronted with times as challenging as the ones through which we are passing, continuously from the time we came into office until now, you have a choice between describing what you are passing through as a problem, or describing it as a test of the strength of your character,” he stated.
Stuart reasoned that the challenge is a test, adding, “If you describe it as a test of the strength of your character, even though you would still be looking around to get the challenge wrestled to the ground, you will make sure that in that test . . . your character does not lose but that it wins”.
In reference to the turbulent economic times facing Barbados, the Prime Minister said, “What we have been going through as a Government since 2008 has been a test of the strength, not only of the character of the Democratic Labour Party in Government, but a test of the strength of the character of the people of Barbados.
“And both the Democratic Labour Party and the people of Barbados are determined to win.”
He said the purpose of the weekend conference was to exchange ideas within the party.
According to the leader, a number of significant DLP achievements were highlighted during such conferences, regardless of whether the party was in power.
“Many of our significant accomplishments as a party resulted from ideas that were generated in our party conferences from year to year,” he said.
“When the decision was taken to create, for example, a Barbados Development Bank to assist small businessmen who were having difficulty in accessing capital from commercial banks and other lending institutions, that idea was first floated and discussed very energetically here at an annual conference of the Democratic Labour Party.”
Fifteen years after its establishment, the BDB incorporated into the Barbados National Bank, of which majority shares were sold to the private sector in 2003.
Prime Minister Stuart said, “the Barbados Development Bank which made so mighty and so significant a contribution to large numbers of businessmen, until the time came when some political Philistines came and decided that it should be no more, and we are now without a Barbados Development Bank, and the same complaints that we were hearing in the 1970’s and we thought we had quelled, we now have to start looking at again”.
DLP members in good financial standing got down to business today with the election of officers, amendments to the constitution, declarations of policy, and resolutions.
Tomorrow the elected officers will be installed and a number of speeches made, including that by Prime Minister Stuart.