Former BLP MP chairs coalition of fringe parties
A major effort is under way to have all the fringe political parties contest next year’s general election as a single entity.
However, architect of the movement Wendell Callender said it was not a sinister plot by ex-Barbados Labour Party (BLP) members to hurt the Opposition’s chances in the election.
Callender, a former BLP parliamentarian, today launched the Citizen Action Partnership (CAP) at the Sky Mall conference centre in Haggatt Hall, St Michael, with an open invitation to the increasing number of fringe parties to join his coalition.
Since the start of 2017, the Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) and the United Progressive Party (UPP) have added to the list of outliers seeking to challenge the traditional two-party framework of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the Opposition BLP.
Both new parties comprise disgruntled BLP members, some of whom have been dismissed repeatedly by voters.
Already, BLP reject David Gill, who lost the St Michael South Central nomination to economist Marsha Caddle in October last year, has cast his lot with the coalition effort.
And it was revealed today that CAP and the UPP, led by former BLP Senator Lynette Eastmond, are discussing a political merger.
However, despite this alignment of spurned Opposition candidates, Callender dismissed suggestions that their aim was to spoil the BLP’s chances of forming the next Government.
In fact, the CAP chairman was confident that they would cause a political earthquake by winning sufficient seats to influence the country’s future.
“For those who think that way [that we want to spoil the BLP’s chances] I have to say that they are thinking negatively. We have met and we are positive that we can win enough seats to make ourselves a formidable group to make the necessary change that Barbados needs.
“At this point in time we believe that Barbados is in such a dire crisis that self-preservation comes first. So it is about people recognizing that we are in danger . . . . This is a different time and a different paradigm and we are saying now that circumstances have converged to make people see that they need to look at a new alternative that can give them hope. So this is not about talk of being spoilers, this is about presenting ourselves in the best possible way and offering the best candidates,” Callender insisted.
Also committing to the coalition are the New Barbados Kingdom Alliance, whose leader Lynroy Scantlebury contested the St Peter seat in 2013, and the Mark Adamson-led People’s Democratic Congress.
But BIM leader Neil Holder told Barbados TODAY he was surprised at the open invitation from CAP, “even though Callender had dismissed BIM when the party announced its intent to contest the next general elections”.
This notwithstanding, Holder said that if approached he was open to the idea of joining forces, but only if CAP’s agenda aligned with that of his party.
“We are for anything that is going to be for the betterment of the country, but certainly have to vet the process and modus operandi behind it because we are working to bring solutions to the country and we don’t want to be in any organization that would take away from the seriousness of the current situation in front of us or what we have to do,” Holder stressed.