For some, last Sunday’s Friends of Barbados DLP Brooklyn town meeting was a forum for party supporters to receive a report card and put questions to the DLP team from Barbados. Ultimately, it was informative, feisty and had as a part of its audience members of the New York BLP Branch, and Anthony Wood, the former parliamentary representative for St. Philip South, the seat currently held by Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite.
Truth be told, the panel presented varied arguments and strategies, and fielded a wide range of questions, but, none of them brought the kind of quiet hush and applause that came towards the end of the programme when Mr. Denny took the floor.
Listen to Chairman Shirley Lashley: “The evening has been a long. I will take three more questions. Mr. Denny.”
Denny, walked towards the front of the room (nearer to the panel’s table and said:
“I have a comment with regard to the legislation of behaviour and a basic question about leadership… For instance we can criminally lock up a few people; disband a few; sanction a few publicly and privately; maintain malpractice insurance and a continuing legal education programme that includes ethics.”
The attorney then made reference to the recent change in the BLP leadership, the alleged leadership issues within the DLP, and then asked the panel, through Attorney General Brathwaite, to give a view of the leadership attributes of Prime Minister Stuart and Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler.
Brathwaite argued that the party is in a dogfight with some who would wish to portray the DLP and its leadership in a negative light, to the extent that whatever Stuart does is wrong.
“If he wears a yellow tie, then it doesn’t look right; if he wears a blue tie something is wrong with it also… Let me put it this way: If you ask me whether or not Freundel Stuart receives my support, the answer is yes. If you ask me if Stuart has the attributes to lead Barbados tonight, I will say yes. Ask me if the DLP is the party which can lead Barbados, tonight. I will say yes.
When reminded that the question included Finance Minister Sinckler, Brathwaite reminded Denny that Sinckler was a colleague and Cabinet member like himself, and for that reason he wouldn’t comment.
Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, then added this additional perspective:
“It is admirable, Mr. Denny that you see so many people in Cabinet with leadership qualities, because when a cabinet has the potential for leadership, that is evidence of succession planning, and anyone can become the leader.
“The BLP seems to have a problem with succession planning… As a woman, I find it very distasteful that Ms Mottley was cut down from the leadership of that party. Mr. Arthur has already had three terms and it is time for him to let a younger leader take charge. From the time it was known that David Thompson was going to pass, she [Ms Mottley] became the sacrificial lamb… As a woman I find that to be demeaning. So when we talk about leadership, let us talk about a myriad of issues.”
Within the space of one month, the Diaspora has had two town meetings. One must now wonder if the battle lines have been drawn in the proverbial sands of time. However, certain issues are emerging: leadership, records, approach, beliefs and values. What is clear is the fact that if professor Gill — a founder member of the Democratic Labour Party has his way — Sandiford-Garner, will one day lead the DLP.