The ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has come out swinging against Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, accusing her of having alternative motives for wanting to stage a national march of disgust on March 11.
In making the announcement on Wednesday, Mottley said the primary aim of the protest action was to signal to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart that Barbadians simply could not “bear the weight of the indifference and incompetence” of his Government for another 12 months.
However, while expressing full confidence in Stuart, DLP General Secretary George Pilgrim accused Mottley of creating a platform of hate and division in the country.
“We believe the agenda of the Barbados Labour Party continues to be extremely corrosive,” Pilgrim told reporters during a news conference at party headquarters George Street, St Michael Thursday.
As for the proposed Opposition march, Pilgrim warned that it was not about Stuart’s leadership, but all about Mottley and what she wants for herself.
“The Opposition must tell Barbadians the truth about March 11 and why the date was chosen . . . . This is pure Opposition opportunism. This is not a march against the Prime Minister . . . this is a march for Mia Mottley; what she wants,” he said, without elaborating.
However, during the party’s weekly lunchtime lecture today, former Chief Electoral Officer and ex-High Commissioner to London Donville Johnson said the Opposition’s march coincided with international activities against gender-based violence.
He therefore accused Mottley of attempting to draw attention away from this important cause.
“Ever so often what do we get? Marches in the hot sun. And if I could recall correctly March 11 is a day set aside for prevention of violence against women. Why would you want to set a march on that day?
“I hope only 11 people turn up. I believe that would be appropriate for them. What does this march achieve? We know that Barbados has its political challenges, we know that we have certain deficits . . . .However there are political challenges all over the world,” the former diplomat said.
He further dismissed the planned “march of disgust” as “nothing more than useless noise”, while insisting that it was up to the Prime Minister to determine when the election will be held.
It was a point made by Pilgrim a day earlier, when he told the press conference that the constitutional deadline for the election was next year.
While warning the Opposition that it could not sell fear in exchange for hope, the DLP general secretary announced the launch of a campaign called Facts, to be rolled out at its mid-term conference on March 4 at Queen’s College.
Pilgrim said the conference, which also uses Facts as its theme, will provide the opportunity for party members to have interactive sessions with ministers of Government.
He said while the party’s annual conference takes place this August, next month’s mid-term meeting would ensure the facts are delivered about the Government’s achievements and the actions taken to ensure the nation’s viability.
This year the DLP will honour 30 young Barbadians with its “Patriots Award”, which Pilgrim said was a continuation of the party’s Independence contribution, showing appreciation and celebrating the talented youth.
Awards will be presented for in music, theatre, cricket, road tennis, religion, business and technology. Special tribute will also be paid to National Hero and Father of Independence Errol Barrow during the first week in June.