BLP Leadership Vote Today To End Rumours

The leadership of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) will be determined once and for all with a vote by the nine-member Parliamentary group today.

Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley, addressed rumours of a leadership struggle yesterday and said that the public perception of a divide was hurting the party’s chances of unseating the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration in the next election. Therefore, Mottley said she was prepared to take the issue to the Parliamentary group and that “come Tuesday, this issue must be resolved and we must go forward”.

Mottley was at the time giving an address on the second day of the BLP 71st Annual Conference at the Barbados Community College Gymnasium. In her one hour and forty-five minute speech, she told the BLP membership that “the mechanism for the leadership of this party is well-known, it has been in place since inception and it rests with elected members of parliament”.

“And I, in all sincerity, would stand prepared at any stage to put my leadership back before that mechanism. Because what is bothering us now is not even the people in here, it is the public perception … that there is a divide among us.” Mottley said, therefore, that during the vote anyone who wanted to compete for the leadership position was willing to do so, but stressed if she was reaffirmed she would not tolerate insubordination.

The BLP has been dogged by rumours of infighting for leadership since losing control of the Government in January 2009 (8) after which Mottley was appointed as Opposition Leader. This is despite repeated statements by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur that he had no interest in leading the party, but would continue to represent the people of St. Peter. A recent opinion poll also showed that both party members and the public held more support for Arthur than Mottley in the leadership of the BLP.

Mottley, who also reiterated her strategy of early preparation for the next election, stressed that, “If this party is to have a genuine chance at success in the next election, I want to make it clear that we must do so as a united force.” She cited the defeat of the DLP in 1999 as an example that the electorate would not tolerate a divided party. She noted that it was currently halfway into the administration of the DLP and that to move forward the public perception of BLP leadership must resolved.

She assured the BLP membership that, “I will never support any other political party so whatever the outcome is, the outcome is. But, what I will not stand for is going and putting at risk the prosperity that awaits Barbadians, we need to stop the pain that Barbadians are feeling.” The Opposition Leader added, “I will not put my personal interest, or any other interest, above the interests of this country or this party,” and said she did not want to see the distinguished record of the party tarnished by the issue.

She stressed the BLP did not wash its dirty linen in public, “And I will not lead a party that starts it now! We are a party that knows how to resolve our differences, because in every family there will be differences.” She noted that every leader of the BLP has had to withstand challenges and attacks from within and outside, since no political party will agree on everything, but stressed there must be discipline and institutional order, and that no one person was bigger than the party. Mottley also stressed that there was always a role for the BLP’s political stalwarts in the party.


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