The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has yet to select its full slate of candidates for the next general election but this has not precluded it from demanding that Prime Minister calls an early poll.
The BLP said it was fed up with “incompetence” and “indifference” exhibited by the Stuart administration, which it said had become “a burden from around the necks” of Barbadians.
And Opposition Leader Mia Mottley today charged that the country could not survive two more years of Democratic Labour Party (DLP) rule.
“We don’t have all the candidates but we are pretty much in a place to know who they will be . . . . The Barbados Labour Party will be ready for any eventuality. What is more important is, does Barbados have the time to suffer or to carry the weight of the incompetence and indifference of the Democratic Labour Party?” Mottley said.
The BLP plans to step up the pressure on Stuart by moving a motion of no confidence in the administration when Parliament resumes on April 19 after the Easter break, on the grounds that the island had experienced 13 weeks of “an unparalleled series of dislocation, bad news, challenges and crisis”.
“We do not believe that Barbados can continue to drift for another 22 months on a platform of indifference, incompetence and indeed corruption, and to that extent Barbadians need to be given the facts,” Mottley announced.
Flanked by several party members, the BLP leader seemed resigned to losing the vote, making it clear that she was aware the BLP did not have the Parliamentary majority. Instead, it was about making a case against the DLP.
“This motion of no confidence is not about having the Parliamentary majority because we clearly do not have the Parliamentary majority; but it is about bringing the facts to the people of the country because Barbadians deserve the right to be able to determine their future and their destiny on the basis of the facts available to them,” Mottley maintained.
It was a position also expressed by Member of Parliament for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds who explained that the intention was to remind Barbadians that the administration had “broken faith” with the population.
“[The Government’s] majority not withstanding, it’s our duty to bring the country face to face with the stark reality of what is happening before us. Every citizen has a stake in the country . . . whatever your stake in Barbados is, it is true to say that the Government of this country has broken faith with you.
“Notwithstanding what the Government’s red herrings maybe, we as an Opposition are asking that the Government remove itself as a burden from around the necks of the people,” Symmonds said.
Meanwhile, Mottley gave a preview of the line her party intended to take during debate on the motion. She complained that Government had remained “indifferent” to issues such as the water crisis, the strike at the Barbados Water Authority, which led to the shutdown of both the airport and the seaport, and challenges at a number Government schools.
She also accused the Stuart administration of seeking to govern by “stealth” when it came to issues such as the delayed fingerprinting system at the ports of entry, the repeal of the tax refund, or rumours surrounding the removal of the chairman of the Barbados Water Authority.
“We cannot have a Government by stealth, a Government by rumour and a Government by anonymity. That all equates to no Government at all and a Government by stealth, by rumour, anonymity is bred by a culture of silence which is unacceptable given the dire state of affairs in this country today.”
However she explained that it was Government’s failure to address the latest Moody’s downgrade and the future of the controversial Cahill waste-to-energy project that “literally became the straws that broke the camel’s back” as officials remained “mum, silent and comatose” on issues that have dire consequences for the country’s ailing economy.
“How many more downgrades must the country face before the Government believes that it has a duty to speak to us? [This] is unacceptable at this stage; we can only go further down the hole.
“One of the reasons why the Moody’s downgrade is even more worrisome is because Moody’s outlined for us the reality of what would trigger an upward revision and a downward revision. Barbados now finds itself at the bottom of the barrel of the countries whose having its bonds being rated by Moody’s,” she charged, claiming that Barbados was at the same level as Greece, Venezuela, Belarus and Ukraine.
“We have to come clean with the facts and we will use this motion of no confidence to bring the facts to the people of Barbados. It is not about having a Parliamentary majority, it is about doing our duty as the official opposition of this country.”
This is the third such motion being led by Mottley following her submission on the CLICO issue in 2008 and one against Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in 2013 over his fiscal strategy.