Barbadians should put aside whatever misgivings they might have about Opposition Leader Mia Mottley and give her a chance to reverse the country’s economic woes, says a former Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate.
Businessman Taan Abed, who fell out of favour with his party ahead of the 2013 general election when he was replaced as a candidate in Christ Church West by attorney-at-law Verla DePeiza, has switched allegiance to Mottley and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) after 28 years as a member of the DLP.
Abed argued that the BLP leader is the only one at present with the skill, competence and charisma to lead the country amid a crippling economic crisis.
“Why don’t we give Mia Mottley a chance? She is a great woman . . . . Mottley has a vision for Barbados and in addition she has come from a good family. The type of leadership shown by the late Right Excellent Errol Barrow no longer exists in the DLP. Put Mia as leader and the country will go forward. She has the charisma to attract most things to this country,” he told Barbados TODAY in an interview Monday at his Rockley, Christ Church home.
Despite being rejected by the Freundel Stuart-led DLP General Council in 2013 after winning the nomination, Abed said Stuart was a decent leader.
However, he contended that unlike Mottley and some within Stuart’s own Cabinet, the Prime Minister simply lacked the gift of charisma.
In addition, the businessman argued, Mottley would get sound economic advice from people like Dr Clyde Mascoll, something he contended Stuart could not get from Minister of Finance Christ Sinckler.
“You have to have the capacity like Minister of Small Business Donville Inniss and Dr David Estwick who seemed to have been born with charisma. Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler is a waste of time, [but] Dr Clyde Mascoll is a top man and will give good advice to Mottley.”
It was only on Sunday night that Minister of Education Ronald Jones castigated Mottley, telling a DLP branch meeting in St Andrew that the Opposition Leader believes she must be the first female Prime Minister of Barbados,
However, without making reference to Jones’ comment, Abed said Mottley’s gender ought not be an issue.
“In Jamaica and Australia there were female prime ministers. There is currently a female prime minister in Great Britain and a female president [chancellor] in Germany,” he said in reference to Jamaica’s Portia Simpson Miller, Australia’s Julia Gillard, who was prime minister from 2010 to 2013, Britain’s Theresa May and Angela Merkel of Germany.
Abed also criticized the printing of money by the Central Bank to finance Government’s social programmes and public servants’ wages, saying the practice placed the Barbados dollar at risk of devaluation.
He also said the DLP was ill advised to restore the ten per cent cut from the salaries of parliamentarians and senior civil servants in 2014 at the height of austerity.
“In a recession you should cut expenses. Enough is enough. You elect a politician to help and assist you, not work for himself and glory like certain politicians I know,” said Abed, who insisted he was a “people’s person”, not a lover of any political party.
After the DLP hierarchy overlooked him in 2013, Abed contested the election as an independent, pulling 303 votes to 1,777 by DePeiza and 2,288 by Dr Maria Agard, who won the seat for the DLP before she, too, was dumped by her party in November 2015 and now sits at an independent member of parliament.