George Payne was today unanimously elected Barbados Labour Party chairman, as party leader, Mia Mottley, thumbed her nose at the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) General Secretary, George Pilgrim, who had predicted a BLP coup.
Earlier this week Pilgrim said the BLP has been faced with a crisis of leadership since 2013 that would come to a head at this weekend’s conference.
The DLP top official had suggested that the crisis would emerge after a George Payne-led faction attempts to take over the leadership of the Opposition party.
But at the BLP’s executive election proceedings at the Lester Vaughn Secondary School today, the other candidate contesting the chairmanship, Cynthia Forde, withdrew her name, paving the way for a smooth passage of the St Andrew Member of Parliament to the top post.
Forde, the St Thomas MP, was instead elected first vice-chairman, followed by Dwight Sutherland as second vice-chairman, and Edmund Hinkson, the third vice-chairman.
Former BLP government minister, Reginald Farley, was elected treasurer, while Jerome Walcott remains general secretary.
“Let me say how happy I am this afternoon, not only having a team of nominated candidates, but to stand here and salute the Chairman of the Barbados Labour Party, who has been unanimously elected this afternoon, George Payne,” Mottley said at the beginning of her feature presentation as party leader.
Responding to comments of the DLP general Secretary, Mottley said: “I saw where poor George Pilgrim … wished publicly for an implosion of the [Barbados] Labour Party this weekend. He said we would emerge from this conference with three leaders. I think the three leaders he was thinking about were David Estwick, Donville Innis, and Chris Sinckler wanting to challenge Freundel Stuart.”
She described Pilgrim’s statements as “simply the Democratic Labour Party outlining what they believe to be their only hope for salvation in the forthcoming general election, that the Barbados Labour Party fades away and disappears”.
“We are on the cusp of what I predict to you will be one of the largest victories of the Barbados Labour Party in many a year,” Mottley declared.