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Seeing red

Mother of all BLP battles coming, claims Pilgrim

A top official of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is warning of an unfolding leadership crisis within the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP).

DLP General Secretary George Pilgrim levelled the serious charge this evening, while telling reporters they can expect the matter to come to a head at this weekend’s BLP annual conference.

“That party is in crisis about who should lead it,” said Pilgrim, who further charged that the BLP’s leadership had not been resolved ever since former Prime Minister Owen Arthur gave way to Mia Mottley in the immediate aftermath of the 2013 general elections.

Arthur subsequently quit the party in 2014, saying he would no longer subject himself to Mottley’s leadership.

However, in keeping with the party’s constitution, Mottley cannot seek re-election as party chairman, having served out her three year term. And there have been reports that a George Payne-led faction of the party will be looking to take the reins of the BLP’s executive this time around.

This has also triggered speculation about Arthur making a comeback to the BLP, so too recently dismissed Member of Parliament for Christ Church West Dr Maria Agard, who fell out of favour with the Mottley-led National Council last November 22.

However, party insiders say Dr Agard continues to enjoy the support and respect of Payne and several other senior BLP members.

With rumours swirling all around, Pilgrim went as far Wednesday as to suggest that there would be a “coup” at the Lester Vaughan School on Sunday.

DLP General Secretary George Payne

DLP General Secretary George Payne

He also sought to tear to shreds the BLP’s internal nomination process, saying the party had consistently reflected chaos in the course of selecting representatives for the next elections.

However, to date none has been more acrimonious than the nomination of 37-year-old economist Marsha Caddle in St Michael South Central earlier this month.

Her election also spelt defeat for longstanding BLP candidate David Gill, who declared immediately following the nomination that though he remained committed to the party which he joined over 40 years ago, he wanted nothing more to do with Mottley or General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott.

“There are many people who would like to speak like me, but they are afraid to come out and speak. I cannot work with the Chairman of the party because she did not want me. It is no longer the Barbados Labour Party, it is the Barbados Liberal Party,” Gill had charged.

The former BLP Member of Parliament, who represented the St Michael South Central constituency in the House of Assembly between 1999 and 2003 also suggested that he had been manipulated and that the entire process was rigged.

Wednesday night, the BLP is due to complete its final nomination in St Michael North West, where there have also been reports of serious infighting between representatives of two of the four political hopefuls in that constituency.

Barbados TODAY had previously reported that what started out as a verbal clash had ended up in threats which have been reported to police, following a heated row over voter eligibility.

“I guarantee that when October comes, the Barbados Labour Party, you’re going to have a trilogy of leaders, mark my words,” said Pilgrim today, adding, “in four days at Lester Vaughan, a ‘Red October’ will take place where you will see at least three leaders emerging for the Barbados Labour Party’s conference”.

Suggesting that there was no leadership fight in the ruling DLP, Pilgrim went on to criticize the BLP for airing its dirty laundry in public, while charging that its entire approach to internal nominations was unethical.

“One realizes that the process which the Barbados Labour Party uses is always shrouded in controversy. After every nomination count there is some question of whether or not somebody’s name was on the list and whose name should be on the list and this whole notion of voter padding that has seemed to be part of their DNA, in that regard,” the DLP General Secretary alleged.

Calling it “pure madness”, Pilgrim continued his critique of the BLP’s method of selecting representatives.

“We don’t say to them that you must join 500 people because your nomination is on Sunday and therefore you need to pretend that you are walking around the constituency meeting people, shaking hands for the sake of a particular meeting and then when the meeting is finished, you are hugged by leadership of the party,” Pilgrim said, adding “our people engage in a rigorous process in terms of working in the field morning, noon and night”.

BLP General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott

BLP General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott

However, when contacted this evening for a response to Pilgrim’s claimed, Walcott, who is currently in Jamaica, dismissed his DLP counterpart out of hand.

“Rubbish, utter rubbish! Why should I respond to rubbish?” the BLP general secretary told Barbados TODAY.

In defence of his party’s approach to nominations, Dr Walcott said there was a clear process which the party followed under its constitution.

However, he said the same could not be said for the DLP.

In fact, he suggested that Barbados TODAY should speak to Taan Abed, who he said had won a DLP nomination process “nine to one” back in 2011, but was replaced by Verla Depeiza.

katrinaking@barbadostoday.bb

10 Responses to Seeing red

  1. Heather Cole
    Heather Cole October 26, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    He should be talking about the national crisis that the Democratic Labour Party has the island in. Taxing the life out of Barbadians, constant economic downgrades, no development projects, a handful of local businessmen who they give the taxpayers money. His party is unable to provide water to the residents of St. Joseph and the PM does not care. Mr Lowe still wants to build a waste to energy plant that is detrimental to the health of Barbadians. His government’s victimization of the NUPW Representative is a national disgrace. The Attorney General makes a mockery of the law, the speaker of the House is a thief and yet he wants to focus the county’s attention on the BLP which in not the government. Shame on you.

    Reply
  2. John Adams October 27, 2016 at 12:28 am

    Politics of distraction!

    Put simply, unlike the DLP, the BLP Chairman and Political Leader are two distinct posts, they are not one and the same.

    With the DLP, the President and Political Leader is one post.

    There is no “coup”, -as was stated in the article, the three terms of Mottley as Chairman are up BUT she remains Political Leader of the party.

    Reply
  3. Phil October 27, 2016 at 2:42 am

    Firstly, the General Secretary of the DLP is not George Payne as indicated in the caption under first Photograph. Secondly the person in the photograph is NOT George Payne. That individual has a mouth that looks like smokes a lot of cigars. Thirdly, this report is all over the place with inaccuracies. Both parties have inhouse conflicts. except in the DLP the leader is chosen by thi Knights of the round table. Everybody knows Estwick wants it but the knights can’t control him, Kelly wants it, Donville is right up there, Fruendel had enough so he dropping out. Richard is the most likely person to get it because the Knights can control him . Lowe is too ill amd will present problems, If Payne gets his way, Dale will become the leader of the BLP. Owen, Oh lord no. He too old and should bow out for real this time. We need a third and if possible , a fourth party. NOT to win the government, but to hold five or six seats to control the balance of power. That’s my view. OH lawd! look how de party faithfuls gine cuss me. But we gine see.

    Reply
  4. Baby October 27, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Well well. This is hilarious absolutely funny!!!

    Reply
  5. Mac October 27, 2016 at 10:23 am

    According the party’s constitution, Mottley cannot seek re-election as party chairman, having served out her three terms.
    Arthur resigned from the party in 2014. He is no longer a member of the party
    Dr Maria Agard was expelled in 2015. She is also no longer a member of the party.

    What is the point

    Reply
  6. Dixie October 27, 2016 at 10:45 am

    George pilgrim mind your . . . business this is a private setting, when you go low we go high.

    Reply
  7. Big Brown October 27, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    This is nothing but mischief from George Pilgrim to try to unsettle the BLP as it goes into its Conference. It is also a clear indication that DLP is ‘bigly’ (to use a trending term) worried about its own ability to win the next election.

    Mind your own business George Pilgrim, you are on very shaky ground with no water, lots of garbage and hardly a bus in sight.

    Reply
  8. Bajan boy October 27, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Dem does behave so where evet they and dont realize their panties showing..

    Reply
    • Sherlock Holmes. October 27, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Bajan Girl what color are your panties? Found it silly though Pilgrim’s statements. Mr Pilgrim their business should not concern you.i saw a serious lack in your political acumen when you made such silly statements.I cannot even say you should know better as apparently you don’t.

      Reply
  9. Lennox hewitt October 28, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Pilgrim i like wrestling n mma so i want to no when dis show down with BLP is ? Cause i like show downs so i wating on dis show down to see who gine win by knockout or submittion wid Rhonda Roussey arm bar see who tap out lol

    Reply

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