Members of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) will boycott Friday’s official ceremony marking Parliament’s 375th anniversary.
This was made clear last night at a BLP’s People’s Assembly in Carrington’s Village, St Michael, where platform speakers complained about the level of Government expenditure for the event, amid widespread layoffs in the public sector.
The Royal Commonwealth Society and the Government of Barbados are joint hosts of this week’s reception which will be held in the courtyard of the Parliament Buildings.
“I will not be going. Not when people are being sent home by the truckload,” declared former BLP representative for the area David Gill, as he waved his official invitation to the large crowd gathered at Chadderton Road and Quakers Road.
St Thomas Member of Parliament Cynthia Forde, said: “They are looking to spend over $100,000 I heard. I will not support it. I will suck salt first that evening. That $100,000 can be spent on you all, those of you who are not employed; those of you whose family need to get a proper meal to eat,” she said.
Leader of the Opposition and BLP leader Mia Mottley also confirmed that she would not be in attendance.
She asked: “How can I walk through Marhill Street with people there, some of whom laid off and walk into a Parliament Yard Friday evening, with drinks and food and the Royal Family, and a Government spending $100,000 for a 90-minute party, and people cannot find food in this country?”
She added: “If I am to be criticized, so be it; but I cannot in all conscience do it. I don’t mean no disrespect to the Royal Family, but the royal suffering that people are going through in this country is what got me.”
She said the money to be spent could have been used on employment for some of the people laid off.