With its 75th Annual Conference in full stride, Barbados Labour Party faithful were today told to ready themselves for any form of agitation to change the island’s government, or at least how it is governed.
In the strongest indication of its intention, since public admission by government four months ago that the economy was in grave danger, BLP Leader and Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley, showed that her party is not prepared to wait for the constitutionally due national elections in 2018 to effect changes to governance of the country.
She pointed out to a packed St George Secondary School auditorium that this Annual Conference should have been a time for members to console and re-assure themselves following the February defeat in national elections. “I’m saying to you however, prepare yourself for a rescue mission. We are not going to draw arms. We will not crack any heads. But as sure as night follows day, rapid decline in this our fair land cannot continue… something will have to give,” she said.
Contending that if Barbadians want better, they must get rid of the current government, she said, “A change of government is non-negotiable to the people of Barbados who believe that better cannot happen under this Democratic Labour Party… A positive meaningful change will not come about with [Prime Minister] Freundel Stuart, [Finance Minister]Chris Sinckler, or any of them, so we have to change them”.
Speaking to some 500 party members at the conference in her first such address since re-gaining party leadership, she asked, “Can we afford to wait four years, or do we indicate from now that we are not satisfied…does this country have four years, or is this really the government that has four years and not the country?
She called out the private sector, the labour movement, civil society, media organisations, and said, “That is the question that each and every one of you from all walks of life must answer”.
Describing the current administration as “a helpless, hapless drifting administration that is doing untold damage, eroding the gains that we’ve made as a country,” she said, it is the responsibility of the BLP “to respond to the concerns of well wishers, and tens of thousands of Barbadians who have already started to sign [a petition calling for removal of Finance Minister Chris Sinckler]”.
Using that petition as an indication that a desire for change is felt beyond party faithful, Mottley said, “Bajans have told us in their tens of thousands in the last week or two that they are prepared to stand up for love of country”.
“I ask you to ready yourself, because we will be ready whenever the time comes, not because we want to be the government, but because this country needs people ready for any eventuality to conduct a restoration,” she said to thunderous applause.
The three-day BLP Annual Conference ends this evening.