DLP to discuss republicanism
Barbados could be taking a step closer to a republican form of government when delegates attending the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) 60th annual conference discuss a resolution supporting a vision for a Republic of Barbados.
General Secretary of the DLP George Pilgrim made the disclosure today while announcing plans for this year’s annual conference which will be held at the party’s headquarters on George Street, St Michael from Saturday August 22.
In March last year, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart told members of the St George South constituency branch that he intended to move to a republican form of government “in the near future, ending the country’s relationship with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as its head of state.
“We cannot pat ourselves on the shoulder at having gone into independence; having decolonised our politics; we cannot pat ourselves on the shoulders at having decolonized our jurisprudence by delinking from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and explain to anybody why we continue to have a monarchical system.
“Therefore, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow decolonized the politics; Owen Arthur decolonized the jurisprudence and Freundel Stuart is going to complete the process,” Stuart said at the time.
Meantime, the general secretary disclosed that a resolution will be introduced urging Government to enagage the internet service providers and corporate Barbados to enhance the information technology conversation by ensuring that the island is totally WiFi accessible within three years.
Meanwhile, an upbeat Pilgrim told reporters that at a time when Government continued to be seen as incapable of satisfying the needs of the average citizen, it was able to attract just under 200 new members during the course of 2014/2015, the majority of whom were young women.
“Most of these persons who sought membership are young females who have expressed an interest in participating in party management at the branch and committee levels. The reality of the party structure is that the party is actually run by women. The persons voted to office may be males, but women make decisions in the DLP. They decide who is leader and who is not leader. Essentially, the women in the DLP have been the base in terms of support and loyalty. Women make up the majority in the councils of the party and committees of management of the party. It is a trend I came and found in terms of high participation by females in the politics of the party,” he said.
Dismissing claims that the DLP had sidelined women, the general secretary pointed out that in the last two years, the DLP administration had appointed Dr Donna Hunte-Cox as the new Consul General to New York; Yvonne Walkes as the High Commissioner to Canada and Althea Wiggins- Cox as Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
He added that the Freundel Stuart administration had appointed Senator Maxine McClean as leader of Government Business in the Senate, while Senator Esther Byer, Senator Verla De Peiza and Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner played major roles in the Parliament and Cabinet.
Party members will vote for a new executive from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. of the first day of the conference, with Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite and Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer scheduled to make policy presentations later that evening.
Pilgrim told reporters that the second day of the conference will feature the members gathering in fellowship to have breakfast, which will be followed by a church service conducted by Bishop Wesley Dear of the New Convenant Ministries.
On August 30, Prime Minister and Political Leader Freundel Stuart will deliver the president’s address. The DLP will conclude this year’s conference with a series of gospel acts at party headquarters on George Street.