6-2 BLP Leadership Vote Retains Mottley

  Opposition Leader Mia Mottley swept away all doubts about her leadership of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) with a convincing victory at the Roebuck Street, Bridgetown party headquarters last night.

With former Prime Minister Owen Arthur glaringly absent, Mottley was announced political leader and Leader of the Opposition shortly before 10 p.m. after a three-hour-long parliamentary group meeting.

Thanking the group for its confidence, she said it was critical for the party to move forward with certainty at this point since the Government was not performing.

“It was not only an internal issue, but this step was necessary to stop the public debate as well,” she added, noting that one difficulty of living in a small society was that “if you give a rumour a headstart, it’s very difficult to catch up with it”.

Regarding Arthur’s absence, Mottley said “everyone has noticed. We’ve made the decision and that’s all I’ll say at this stage”.

While sources said it was a 6-2 victory for the former Deputy Prime Minister, she would not disclose the actual vote among the eight MPs – Gline Clarke, Ronald Toppin, Rawle Eastmond, Cynthia Forde, William Duguid, George Payne, Mottley herself and Deputy Opposition Leader Dale Marshall.

Marshall told the media that “after a full and frank discussion, the parliamentary group has reaffirmed its support of Mottley as political leader and Leader of the Opposition”, and that she would lead the BLP into the next general election, constitutionally due in 2013.

Mottley, upon descending the stairs from the headquarters’ conference room, was overwhelmed by hugs and kisses from about 30 supporters who had started arriving around 9:30 p.m.

Earlier, Marshall was the first of the MPs to arrive at 5:55 p.m. followed by Duguid, Forde, Payne, Mottley, Eastmond, Clarke and Toppin. Opposition Senators Liz Thompson and Arthur Holder also filed in, but were unable to vote since only MPs can constitutionally vote for the leadership of the Opposition.

“This party will move forward as a united force, recognising that we have a deeper obligation to the people . . . . We have a duty to put an alternative vision to the people of Barbados, as well as to defend them, and I think that we are all agreed in here that this is what we will do and we will do vigorously,” Mottley promised.


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