Political scientist Peter Wickham says there is absolutely no reason to be concerned about the leadership of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) ahead of this weekend’s BLP annual conference.
And today he rubbished, in like manner to BLP General Secretary Dr Jereme Walcott, the suggestion made by the General Secretary of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) George Pilgrim that the BLP has been faced with a crisis of leadership since 2013 that was about to come to a head.
“I don’t know that George Pilgrim’s remarks as General Secretary of the Democratic Labour Party are relevant in the context of understanding what the mood is going into a Barbados Labour Party annual conference,” Wickham said while chiding Barbados TODAY for giving credence to Pilgrim’s comments, which he said were devoid of any objective value.
The pollster was equally adamant that there was no reason to be concerned about Mottley’s leadership of the BLP at this time, even though he acknowledged that she would have to relinquish the chairmanship this weekend.
“Everyone knows that Mia cannot be re-elected as chairman. It is not a state secret. The Barbados Labour Party has a constitution that says that the chairman of the party cannot serve more than three terms consecutively. That has been the case from the time the Barbados Labour Party has been in existence.
“So to say that there is news in the fact that Mia [Mottley] cannot be re-elected and a new leader will emerge is where I am finding my difficulty, because there is nothing newsworthy in that,” he stressed.
There have been reports that a George Payne-led faction of the party will be looking to take the reins of the BLP’s executive. This has also triggered speculation about former leader Owen Arthur making a comeback to the BLP, so too recently dismissed Member of Parliament for Christ Church West Dr Maria Agard, who fell out of favour with the Mottley-led National Council last November 22.
However, while highlighting recent public opinion polls, Wickham contended that Mottley was still the preferred national leader, enjoying more public support than even Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
“The last public opinion poll that I saw said that the majority of the people in Barbados were comfortable with the leadership of Mia Mottley and they were unhappy with the leadership of the other individual who currently leads this country,” Wickham said, making it clear that the political survey was not done by his polling organization, CADRES.
He said the same public opinion poll had also shown that the BLP enjoyed more support than the DLP.
“To me that is not [reflective of] a political party in crisis,” the pollster said, adding that suggestions to the contrary were “mischievous”.
“Unless based on what George [Pilgrim] is telling me, I am to assume that there is another person who is going to lead the party into the election or I am to assume that the Barbados Labour Party is now less popular than the Democratic Labour Party or that there is another person who is more popular than Mia Mottley, then to me there is not any basis for a conversation the likes of which we are having now,” he stressed.