The Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) tomorrow night launches the first in a series of planned “parish consultations” at the Christ Church Foundation School.
Beginning at 7 p.m., it will be especially targeting persons in the 18-35 age group which seems to be particularly dissatisfied with the status quo.
In addition, come Thursday next week, the BLP will be recommencing its “rubbing shoulders campaign” during which front-line members are expected to hear the concerns of agricultural sector stakeholders.
BLP Political Leader and Leader of the Opposition in the House of Assembly, Mia Mottley, made these announcements today at a news conference at her Parliament Buildings office.
Both citizen outreach initiatives are clear indications that the BLP is stepping up its on-the-ground mobilization in preparation for the island’s next general election, constitutionally a year and a half away.
Explaining the rationale behind the parish consultations which are expected to move on to St James and St George with a break for Crop Over, Mottley said the party believes it is important that Barbadians are given an opportunity to tell the BLP how they think the party can fix the country.
She acknowledged that BLP parliamentarians have their own ideas, but maintained successive governments could not educate a people and then treat them as if they were uneducated.
The St Michael North East MP said: “We want to signal to the country that this is not what we believe in opposition; this is how we believe that Government should proceed and indeed we are committing ourselves to it and we have done so in the last few years.”
Explaining that the BLP’s recently released “Covenant of Hope” will be the background document against which the consultations will take place, Mottley said her party takes the view that it must get the country into the habit of understanding that “Barbados is ripe for a new governance”.
Mottley said: “It matters not only what we in the BLP do, but it must also matter how we do it, with whom we do it and for whom we do it.”
Pointing out that the party also hopes to break new ground in the process of writing a manifesto, Mottley said it will be an interactive process with the people of Barbados.
“The BLP is marking out new ground in relation to how it does its business in relation to policy formulation, manifesto writing and governance. We are starting and establishing a new phase in our preparation in giving Barbados a choice to build a new Barbados and a better Barbados,” she said.
The BLP leader acknowledged, however, that it takes time to build such a process and effect cultural change in the politics of a country.
Mottley expressed particular concern about issues affecting persons in the 18-35 group, noting many of them had received an education but were either not working or were underemployed.
She said there were many persons in this age group with Master’s degrees doing things that one will normally find someone with a few or no CXCs doing largely because there were not a lot of opportunities in the job market.
The Opposition Leader told members of this age group that the parish consultations will give them an opportunity to share their views and perspectives as to the type of Barbados they want to live in.
“We want to say to that age group: Hold faith, better days are coming. There is hope that is why we launched Our Covenant of Hope. We need you to be part of the process of building out a new Barbados,” Mottley said.