The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) opened its 76th Annual Conference last night with the honouring of longstanding servants and a call from veteran Dame Billie Miller for members to give their 100 per cent support to party leader Mia Mottley and also do more work on the ground.
Dame Billie told the gathering that packed the St Leonard’s Boys’ School auditorium that she wanted to see a “strong and rousing show of support” for the Opposition Leader.
“I want to hear that you are toeing the party line. This is not the time to be going off on a tangent of your own,” she said.
The former deputy prime minister also told the audience of the virtues of constant political footwork in their communities, and advised them to be in a constant state of preparedness.
“I want to appeal to the sitting members of the House of Assembly and caretakers to get down to work. We are living in a time when you do not know when the [election] bell will ring. The Government may not have any say about when the bell may ring, but we have to be in a state of readiness,” Dame Billie insisted.
“Go in there and clean your list,” she urged the conference that, for the first time in many years, saw the absence of Owen Arthur who earlier this year broke ties with the BLP.
“Cleaning the list means that you have to look at transfers and things of that sort. Do not wait until the last minute to be scrambling. Candidates go out there and do your work . . . start to prepare now and try to finish before Easter next year. You have your work cut out for you.”
During last night’s opening ceremony, Member of Parliament for St Thomas Cynthia Forde received the BLP’s highest honour, the Grantley Adams Award, for unstinting service over the years, while fellow parliamentarians Ronald Toppin and Gline Clarke were among the other party faithful and young outstanding Barbadians to be awarded.
The conference continues today, with this evening’s address by Mottley the highlight.
This morning there were scheduled elections of office bearers, all of whom were expected to return unopposed. Prior to the party leader’s address there will be a panel discussion on education, law and order, and health.