Feminist warns BLP over Dr Agard’s expulsion

The Barbadian head of a regional women’s group has sent an emphatic message to the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) that women here won’t take Dr Maria Agard’s expulsion lightly.

Speaking to the media this morning at the Baobab Tower, Warrens, St Michael following the launch of this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, president of the Caribbean Women’s Association (CARIWA) Marilyn Rice-Bowen did not hide her displeasure at the BLP’s decision on Sunday to expel the Christ Church West Member of Parliament.

She likened the action to the beheading of a woman and described it as extreme and unappealing to Barbadian women, especially prospective politicians.

And she warned they won’t go quietly and would respond when the time was right.

“The women have been silent, but the women will speak at the appropriate time, in the appropriate language that only aspirina politicians will understand. The women of this country will speak,” Rice-Bowen warned.

“This is 2015. We have fought over the past 20 years in signing the Beijing Platform For Action, signing other conventions because you are seeking to empower women. So at this stage when we are celebrating Bajan, is it now an appropriate time to behead a woman? It is an unfair [act] and it is an unjust act. There are women who are probably sitting there planning to enter politics. It is a retrograde step in this country.”

After 17 years of service, Dr Agard’s tenure with the BLP came to a dramatic and acrimonious end on Sunday night when the party’s National Council took the decision to expel her following a meeting called to discipline her.

BLP leader Mia Mottley outlined a number of “fundamental” charges against the Christ Church West MP including her failure to be a team player “and to play her part by attendance at the [BLP’s] annual conference and a series of nominations in the very parish where she is the only sitting Member of Parliament for the Party”.

Her expulsion has provoked much discussion, with supporters of both sides weighing in, including Mottley’s predecessor, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, who labelled the action as nothing short of “despotism”.

Among the nine charges that were laid against Dr Agard was speaking to the media, something Rice-Bowen looked at with cynicism. Arthur also shredded Mottley over this charge.

Speaking to journalists on the steps of Parliament yesterday, Arthur revealed that Mottley did not attend any meetings of his parliamentary group between 2010 and 2013, adding that there was never any “urge to expel her”. He also pointed out that Mottley was free to express herself under his leadership.

“She came to this Parliament to a Budget reply, hand in hand with [Minister of Finance] Chris Sinckler and nobody thought that was reason to expel her. [Therefore] when I hear people being expelled for putting things in the media, there has to be full disclosure now,” the St Peter MP said.

Rice-Bowen, the former National Organization of Women president looked at the issue from a different perspective, saying she anticipated that other parliamentarians who speak publicly about the party’s internal affairs would be dragged before the council.

The outspoken feminist advised those who wish to contest in a safe seat to “wait their turn”. Christ Church West is considered as BLP safe seat.

The CARIWA boss also encouraged female parliamentarians to stand firm and not to be discouraged by the development.

“Don’t feel shattered and . . . don’t move because this move with Dr Agard may be an avalanche. No woman should have to move from any seat that she has. Anybody who wants a safe seat, therefore, has to wait their turn. Do not retire, do not resign, do not move. Women in this country must stand firm, stand tall and take representation to the people very seriously,” she said.

18 Responses to Beheaded

  1. Anne Ince
    Anne Ince November 26, 2015 at 12:55 am


  2. Anne Ince
    Anne Ince November 26, 2015 at 12:56 am

    Promoting yourselves….smh.

  3. Hunte Omar
    Hunte Omar November 26, 2015 at 1:26 am

    As a man, I am happy to hear the females speaking out and looking to see positive action.

    • Donild Trimp November 26, 2015 at 11:13 am

      Females should speak out and support other females who use rational thought, logic and common sense in their every day lives, especially when there is Dr in front of their names.

      Supporting “EDUCATED FOOLS” is not the way to go.

      • Bernard Codrington. November 26, 2015 at 12:01 pm

        What should we do wit f the uneducated fools,Mr Trimp?

  4. David November 26, 2015 at 6:46 am

    This was Is very nice to see this regional women group president has come out in support of Dr Agard, Mia and the council did not expect this , the expelltion was a very bad move , an I am in agreemen with Owen views on this one , let me see how the other women groups respond , if this was America all hell would break loose were these women groups are concerned , I wonder what the BLP women arm and the youth arm have to say

  5. Bhg November 26, 2015 at 7:02 am

    This issue has nothing to do with gender. This group appears to be opportunistic in pushing agenda!!

  6. BaJan boy.... November 26, 2015 at 7:17 am

    It is quite ironic that when Daivd Thompson dumped her for James Paul all she did was to retreat to a corner and put her head in her lap like a little puppy. Why didn’t she use the mouth she is now speaking from at that time to speak out against an even worst injustice. No one really wants to hear you nor the so called organization you always jump to put youself on for relevance Marilyn you are too hypocritical…no time for self aggrandizement….

  7. BaJan boy November 26, 2015 at 7:24 am

    That she is a hypocrit. She was treated worst by David Thompson. Why do think James Paul is in Parliament today?? Hypocrit…

  8. Olutoye Walrond November 26, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Still trying to figure out how this became a gender issue. The gender issue which the women’s groups should be taking up is the treatment of the first female leader of the Barbados Labour Party.

    None of her male predecessors had to put up with the disrespect she had to. CARIWA might want to look into that if believes women should take on more leadership roles.

    • ch November 27, 2015 at 3:02 am

      Well said.

  9. jrsmith November 26, 2015 at 11:21 am

    This is so rubbish, what, this matter , have anything to do with gender. why this matter was so forcefully ,brought into the public domain. just hoping ,this would hurt the leader of the party MIA.
    this is not today , this is long ago. but who’s is coming out of this smelling of roses.. one person, will.

  10. Ralph W Talma November 26, 2015 at 11:50 am

    1. What on earth is happening in my Father’s Parish. The learned Doctor, whether you agree with her or not, was within her rights to do what she did. I do believe Ms? Mottley behaved in a similar fashion some years ago, and the and ex Prime Minister Owen Arthur did not remove her.
    2. Come on Christ Church West, remember what has happened, and when the time comes in the not too distant future, do your duty for God and for your Country once again.

    • Bernard Codrington. November 26, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      I agree. Too much talking. Let us do what has to be done for the good of Barbados and Barbadians.

    • Donild Trimp November 26, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Come on Ralph Talma, how long is too long? Four years squabbling and still cannot get it right, especially for a person with her intellect?

      Smacks of arrogance to me.

      Mia did the right thing.

      • sunshinecanada November 26, 2015 at 5:04 pm

        i’m on my right side, keep them moving,

  11. jrsmith November 26, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    @,Ralph, Talma, hail,hail, this is rubbish, openly we can see what , which side you are on. everything seems to be surrounding , Owen Arthur. not surprised.

  12. Esther November 26, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    I would expect the ” professional president” to support Maria, since their behaviour and choice of foul language are the same. One only has to ask Clyde Mascoll when he left her party but Oh Lord, David got his portion when he took her out of the running for James Paul. You could also ask some of her board members at the Christian Association she mash up. She was so caustic on one new President that the poor lady resigned after a few months. Strange that Cariwa has no concern re: Mr. Arthur’s intoxicated charade on the leader of the Opposition.


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