Senior Democratic Labour Party (DLP) member Donville Inniss is denying that he is pulling out of the party’s race for general secretary because of problems within the DLP.
Inniss, who has held the post for the past year, is being challenged by George Pilgrim, whom he had defeated in the elections at the DLP’s annual general conference in 2013.
The St James South representative said he opted not to contest the position in order to focus on his constituency and the Ministry of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, which he heads.
“The year has been a very interesting year and I have decided that I need to, at this juncture, refocus my energies on other work for the party, refocus my energy on my own constituency of St James South [and] certainly to redouble my efforts in the ministry I have responsibility for,” he said.
“My departure from the Office of General Secretary must not be construed as there being any rift within the party or between myself and anybody. As a matter of fact, I’m very energised to continue to work even harder on behalf of my own party. So I’m not going to fall off the face of the earth because I’m no longer general secretary. I have great faith in this party and I will continue to work on their behalf albeit in another role.”
The longstanding DLP member pledged his support to Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart who is not being challenged for the post of party president.
Meantime, Inniss indicated that there has not been any reduction in membership of the DLP, despite complaints about dissatisfaction with the administration’s handling of the economy.
On the contrary, he said, the ruling party is reporting that more Barbadians have been signing up.
Only two people resigned from the the DLP in the last year, Inniss revealed, while noting that the party executive has welcomed 125 members.
But with some residents discontented with the country’s state of affairs, the general secretary pointed out that the conference is the ideal time to speak out.
“We have to ensure that there is that strong connection between the party and the Government. I would say to you that there have been some concerns that there has been a disconnect sometimes and the annual conference certainly allows for rank and file members, ordinary members, to come here to George Street and to speak their minds and to hold our feet to the fire,” he said, pointing out that members of political parties do not hold politicians accountable enough.
“Where there are pockets of dissent and discomfort . . . we want to hear those as well. Where there are matters that we can celebrate, we want to hear them as well.”
The conference, being held under the theme, Achieving Global Competitiveness, will be presented with reports from Minister of Education Ronald Jones on matters such as access to university education, and Minister of Environment Dr Denis Lowe on solid waste management.