BLP gears up for snap election
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) believes Prime Minister Freundel Stuart will call snap elections, and the General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott has warned that the party must not be caught off guard.
Walcott told a St George North party branch meeting Sunday evening that Stuart was unpredictable and he might use year-long celebrations in observance of the country’s 50th anniversary of independence to announce a surprise poll.
The district’s elected representative, Gline Clarke, had suggested that Stuart, as he did in 2013, would delay the 2018 elections as late as possible.
However, Walcott thought otherwise, telling supporters who gathered at Clarke’s constituency office in the Glebe, he anticipated year-long celebrations across the island from November 2015 fostering “the feel-good factor [with] music, performances, food, drink [and]cultural shows” in a show of Barbadian nationalism.
“And at the end of it, this massive celebration for your 50th [independence] anniversary in November next year, hit you with a snap election before the Christmas, when you expect it in 2018, because he doesn’t like to be predicted. And I think the BLP has to be prepared for that if it does occur,” Walcott warned.
He told the branch members that the BLP’s aim must be “to rescue Barbados from the Democratic Labour Party” whenever the elections are called.
This, he said, must begin with the selection of the right candidates and the development of a new “covenant” to guide the campaign.
“The party has to present a . . . team for the times, in terms of the rescue of Barbados, a team of tried and tested, a mixture of persons with experience and youth, and more importantly [we] must present to Barbados a team of people who are concerned about people in Barbados, who know how to interact with people, who like people, can get on well with people, and have good intentions for the people of Barbados; not candidates for the sake of being candidates,” he argued.
Walcott recommended a ‘mini-conference’ ahead of the BLP’s annual conference to discuss “the covenant and the hope for the new Barbados Labour Party in terms of things that will set us away from the DLP, in terms of our commitment to certain things”.
The BLP has already begun the process of selecting candidates for the next poll, constitutionally due in 2018.
The party has chosen Ian Gooding-Edghill as its St Michael West Central candidate; Colin Jordan will represent it in St Peter and Peter Phillips will run in St Lucy.
“We have started the process of the nomination of candidates to be the team of the Barbados Labour Party that would be offered to the country in the next election whenever that is called,” Party Leader Mia Mottley said last month at the meeting at which Gooding-Edghill was nominated unopposed.
Mottley also gave notice of plans for an intense campaign, imploring supporters not to take anything for granted.
“Get fit now, because nothing will be left to chance, because this is no ordinary election. What is at stake is the soul of a country and the future of a people,” the BLP leader said at the time.