“Let’s get ready to rumble.”
These were the words of Chairman of the Democratic Labour Party’s 57th Annual Conference and Speaker of the House of Assembly, Michael Carrington, at this afternoon’s press conference to highlight this weekend’s activities.
“We are on the verge of a general election and while Prime Minister Stuart has not announced the date for general elections, the Democratic Labour Party is organised and ready. We will take the opportunity of this, our last annual conference before elections, to titillate our membership, as it were in this regard; you may consider it a call to arms if you wish, for that is what it is,” Carrington assured.
He said it was also a time to re-energise and refocus rather than getting weary.
“Annual conferences also provide opportunities for members to reflect and to re-energise. They also provide an opportunity to plan and to define new vistas and start new dreams. Dreams are at their best when they flow from imaginations that are wary of the circumstances in which they dream. Today’s circumstances provides for wary dreaming,” said Carrington.
The chairman of the upcoming conference also stressed that now was not the time to be overcome with worry and fear but for moving forward with the DLP.
“This conference is a time for moving forward, for planning for this country’s future and the future of this party. We cannot forget the challenges of yesterday nor the trials that presented themselves. We cannot and should not forget. Neither can we in the face of difficult times allow ourselves to be overcome and overwhelmed by the waves of worry and fear.
“Rather, we must look forward and do so with the knowledge that we have among us men and women with the skills , commitment and foresight to chart new paths, reach new vistas and achieve higher heights that can move this country and this great party forward,” he said.
Carrington added that of the three broad areas to be covered this weekend, constituency councils, the green economy and, membership recognition, the latter was of particular concern to him.
“I have always had the concern that in other countries, for arguments sake the United States of America, the average citizen is able to wear his political affiliation on his proverbial sleeve. Citizens proudly proclaim to be democrats, republicans or members of the tea party. Not so in Barbados where we seem to suggest that there is something wrong with belonging to a political party. Our members have at various times been vilified, often being called ‘yard fowl, driftwood, scavenger and other ignoble appellations.
“Yet these faithful souls continue to serve with loyalty, sacrifice and commitment, the only criteria for membership to the institution, and the only measure of the quality of performance. They must endure the emptiness of the Opposition, as well as the agony of some unfulfilled expectations while in Government in the harshest of economic times,” he stressed, adding that it was time to “reduce the negativity and accentuate the positives”.
He also pointed out that another area dear to him which will be focused on this weekend is the constituency councils, adding that the initial two-year mandate of the first set of constituency councils had come to an end and now was a good time for Government to take stock.
Carrington pointed out the constituency councils as a useful tool in broadening democracy and for the average citizen to have a say.
“In reality, who is best able to say whether a particular community needs a play park for arguments sake than the members of the community? Who is best able to prioritise the needs of a given community? The community itself or some bureaucrat with some book knowledge of the community?” he queried.
The Green Economy will also be in focus and Member or Parliament for St. George South Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo pointed to Prime Minister Stuart’s address to the United Nations Development Conference on Sustainable Development on June 20, 2012 as rolling out a programme which signalled the start of a new way of doing things.
“I am here to tell the world what Barbados has done, is doing, and will do to ensure a safe and secure future for current and future generations. The track record of Barbados on sustainable development is second to none.
“My Government has committed to transforming Barbados into the most advanced green economy in the Latin America and Caribbean region. In pursuing this vision, we have undertaken a comprehensive study on the policy implications and opportunities of this transition,” she said, while quoted from Stuart’s presentation.
She added that this weekend’s conference was a perfect opportunity to apprise the general membership of the initiatives and to inform them on the roles they can play. (DB)