The divide in the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) couldn’t have come at a worse
time for the Opposition, political scientist Peter Wickham said today.
And the Opposition needs to set it’s damage control machinery in motion as a
matter of urgency.
The division in the BLP ranks came to light when the contents of a letter former Prime
Minister Owen Arthur wrote to Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Assembly,
Kerrie Symmonds, was published in another section of the Press.
In that December 30, 2013 correspondence, Arthur criticized the leadership of Opposition
Leader Mia Mottley and took issue with her publicly nominating him as a member of an eminent
persons group which she proposed to help deal with the economic crisis facing the island.
Arthur, who stepped down as BLP leader after the party’s loss in last February’s general
election, said he told Mottley he belived such a body would be meaningless and he wanted
no part of it.
Speaking today via Skype from France, Wickham said Arthur’s timing was off and suggested
that he should apologize and “give the opportunity for his successor to grow and emerge
in the post and also for the opportunity for the BLP to be able to assert itself in the eyes
“I think that it is unfortunate that Mr Arthur is creating an
environment of doubt and suspicion by these attacks on Mottley,”
he said, suggesting that “I think the people of Barbados are
looking to the BLP to offer some level of comfort and guidance in
terms of the turbulent issues we’re dealing with. The Democratic
Labour Party administration is an extremely delicately balanced
one and it is not an unlikely concept that it is a Government that
could collapse where the appropriate situation is in place”.
“The BLP has a perception problem it has to deal with. I don’t
know if Miss Mottley can deal with it any better than she is able
to deal with it now, but certainly the party needs to see it as a
priority for them to send a clear signal that it is united behind
Miss Mottley in every way, shape and form,” the political s
“I don’t know that the BLP machinery is really in a position to
deal with Mr Arthur the way it should, but certainly one would
think that it should be able to arrest this matter and to send a
clear signal to the people of Barbados that it is ready.”
What would be even better, he suggested, was if Arthur
would apologize “for any inconvenience he has caused”.
While he has given Arthur thumbs down for his criticism,
Wickham gave Mottley a thumbs up for her response. In a
prepared statement, the Opposition Leader declined to respond
to Arthur’s criticism about her suitability for BLP leadership.
Instead she insisted that she and the party would remain focused
in their fight for the people of Barbados.
Wickham said it was the correct strategy: “I think that this is the appropriate approach which
she needs to take to essentially try to get people’s minds back on the main issue and away from
the whole question of what is going on in the Barbados Labour Party, because in a time like this
you want people to remember what the real issue is –– which is essentially the 3,000 people
who are going home and the extent to which this does not represent a promise that was made
by the Democratic Labour Party.” [email protected]