BLP wants marchers’ concerns discussed in Parliament

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Monday evening filed a motion for Parliament to defer the business of Tuesday’s sitting and discuss the concerns of trade unions and the private sector as a matter of urgency.

The Opposition took the action through its Member of Parliament for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds after a meeting of that party’s parliamentary group which decided that this morning march by an estimated 20,000 protesters, demanding talks with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), deserved urgent attention.

Symmonds told a hastily called BLP press conference Monday evening that he filed with Speaker of the House of Assembly Michael Carrington “an application for the House to be adjourned on the basis that a matter of definite urgent public importance has arisen and request his Honour to allow Parliament to have discussion on the matter.

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley (centre) and fellow Barbados Labour Party members Dale Marshall (second from right) and George Payne (right) were among the protesters.

“The specific matter is the deepening impasse between two members of the Social Partnership and the Government of Barbados. That impasse is so deep that it is fair to say that the Social Partnership is now fractured.

“We as legislators and part of the Governmental apparatus of Barbados feel that there is a role for the Opposition to play in this matter and that role is to try as best as possible to urge upon the Government to return to the table for the purpose of having discussions about the very austere and burdensome National Social Responsibility Levy.”

The BLP spokesman said that in canvassing constituents Opposition parliamentarians had concluded that “the levy . . . is a matter of significant concern for people in Barbados.

“Ordinary households have been faced with a 400 per cent increase in the cost of virtually everything in this country. That is a completely unexpected imposition which every household must tackle,” he said.

Explaining that the rules of the House “allow us to request the adjournment of the ordinary business of the House by way of a motion for definite urgent public importance”, he recalled that the last time the Opposition succeeded in getting such a motion heard was in 2014 when then BLP parliamentarian, now an Independent Member of Parliament for Christ  Church West, Dr Maria Agard, filed a motion demanding a breakdown of bills owed by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) to pharmacists and other suppliers.

At that time those suppliers had created a health crisis by refusing to forward goods to the QEH until at least a part of the outstanding accounts were settled.

“The Speaker tomorrow will be asked to make a determination as to whether in his view – and it is only the Speaker who can make this determination – this satisfies that it is in fact urgent, in fact a matter of definite urgent importance,” Symmonds said.

“As long as he is satisfied and allows us to raise this matter for discussion, as an Opposition we will be urging Government to convene a meeting with the Social Partnership as soon as possible, certainly before the 18th of August [official due date] because we genuinely do not believe that this matter can be allowed to fester for another month,” he said.

Reflecting that the Opposition had long been making known its willingness to discuss the matters raised by the protesters, BLP leader Mia Mottley said Parliament had a responsibility to act “without prejudice to our participation anywhere else”.

Mottley also reiterated that the Prime Minister ought to meet with the Social Partners now, and not wait for the previously scheduled date of August 18.

“I believe that the Prime Minister can find the time . . . even if it means him having to defer normal meetings [of Cabinet] in order to be able to meet with the Social Partnership rather than waiting for the 18th of August to meet with the Social Partnership.

“We appeal to him in the strongest possible terms,” Mottley said.

5 Responses to BLP wants marchers’ concerns discussed in Parliament

  1. jrsmith July 25, 2017 at 5:55 am

    What I would want to see discussed and put in place , is an act from our parliament namely so the ( ACCOUNTABILITY ACT ) which would be an automatic right to the voters of Barbados , that the same vote cast to elect (MPs) can then be applied to remove them from office if they are not working for or in the interest of the people…………………………………………..
    We cast a vote in barbados to elect these politicians and they have done noting for the masses ,……….. But here we are again sewage in the streets ………. For almost a decade we have suffered at the hands of these lying corrupt people and you know >>>>>>>>>>>> what , we guarantee they jobs for them and threat us as like ***t ………………………………………………….
    Lets be honest why our people marched because we have had enough of this government , better late than never …………. This marched should have been 5 years ago, we got there thats why we must put a check on these politicians ……. We must not give them the chance to punish us again , thats why we need some safe guard before the upcoming new elections …….

    We cannot give the thought of inflicting this kind of government on our young people , ( Thats why we need this Act of Parliament………I am scared of what will happen , just the thought of this government getting back in power … what then ,…. we are finish …….., but being able to remove them one by one gives us the upper hand ……….. We must not lose this chance for our nation survival………………………………..

  2. Patty July 25, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Signs of the times are everywhere…The end is near…God is watching us all

  3. John king July 25, 2017 at 8:18 am

    50.000 people placed their weight on one MAN.

    In my view that is a lot of weight for one Man to carry. considering he is not a heavyweight lifter.

    Me, if I was in his place would have gotten what my grand Mother call GOO-O-DEES my Balls would have bust up would have Dropped to the Ground and my colleagues would not be able to help me scramble them up with all that weight losing DEM thrown on Poor me.

  4. Sophia July 25, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I real confused. Everybody keep saying, the PM won’t meet to talk. Now this is 18 August sheduled meeting is the second one I hearing about…………………….Is it that the PM won’t meet or that he won’t meet fast enough for you all?………………… There is a difference.

    • Kevin July 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Wont meet fast enough. He meet with them just over a month ago. But yah know them, helped by the media…….. The story pushed is PM did not and not interested in meeting at all.


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