Political activist David Comissiong is not siding with embattled Christ Church West MP Dr Maria Agard in her ongoing impasse with members of the Opposition Labour Party.
In fact, Comissiong has stopped just short of saying that Dr Agard, who is due to appear before the BLP’s national council on Sunday to answer nine disciplinary charges, should be expelled over her refusal to work with the newly-elected executive of her branch.
However, Comissiong warns that Dr Agard has issued a “fundamental challenge” to the legitimacy of the BLP.
“The thing that Ms Agard has to be conscious of is that if she declares publicly and openly that she doesn’t consider herself to be accountable or beholden to the constituency branch or its executive committee, then the constituency branch is entitled to say, ‘if you no longer consider yourself to be accountable to us or to be representative in some way of us, then we obviously are at liberty to choose another person to be our candidate in any upcoming election’.
“I mean that is the logic of the position that she has taken and she needs to recognise that, Comissiong told Barbados TODAY.
In a statement this afternoon, Comissiong further warned that the BLP branch needs to respond to what he calls an “outright dismissal of its legitimacy and existence”.
He argued that failure to do so would mean the branch was “tacitly accepting the notion that the political party – outside of the general election season – is a meaningless irrelevancy that simply plays second fiddle to the powerful and all-important MP.
“In other words,” the statement said, “they would be perpetuating the under-development of the institution known as the Barbadian political party!”
The national council, headed by party leader Mia Mottley, has taken issue with the fact that Dr Agard recently appeared to criticise the BLP in certain sections of the media.
She has also been accused of embarrassing the party and of making utterances that were “inimical” to the BLP.
Comissiong argued that one of the reasons why the local political system was “so dysfunctional” was because the Barbadian political party remains an underdeveloped institution.
“The typical scenario is that the political party mobilises to contest a general election, but once the election is won, members of parliament elected, and Ministers of Government and a Prime Minister installed in office, the political party fades into the background and becomes a mere appendage to the MPs, ministers and Prime Minister . . “Thus, even when an MP behaves in a manner that reflects negatively on the political party that he or she belongs to, the constituency branch or the branch executive typically does not seek to protect its own institutional reputation or interests by reprimanding or otherwise taking the MP to task. Rather it tends to merely fall in line and go along with the MP,” Comissiong said, pointing to a recent issue involving House Speaker Michael Carrington following a High Court ruling, as an example.