The battle for the hearts and votes of Barbadians has taken an unusual and aggressive twist, with the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) today declaring a “war of facts” on the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
With general elections due within a year, the DLP made no secret that it was moving full throttle in campaign mode with constituency-wide mass canvassing.
A coach load of party supporters, decked in white tee-shirts displaying the words “DLP FACTS”, and led by General Secretary George Pilgrim, arrived at the constituency office of Member of Parliament for St Michael Central Steve Blackett to herald what Pilgrim called a war of facts against the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
Stating that the mission – which began with a mid-year conference on March 4 to expound on Government’s achievements – was now taking a new dimension, Pilgrim told reporters that this morning’s canvassing would be replicated across the country.
“The ‘mis-facts’ that have been circulated, the counter to it that is now surfacing is long overdue. It’s a pity that Brand Barbados has come under attack on social media. But today, we are going to knock on homes, we are going to visit the people and we are going to leave with them the old-fashioned way, the truth on a piece of paper that they can read and digest,” the DLP spokesman said.
Pilgrim added that the DLP team would touch people, shake hands and listen to the voters, who will decide next year whether or not to give the incumbent a third straight term.
“All of this will be done by human beings, not under some anonymous name online, spreading the gospel according to lies,” he declared to applause from the hand-picked group of supporters, armed with files of paper and gathered at the front the constituency office.
Pilgrim, with Blackett at his side, told reporters the reason for beginning the mission in St Michael Central, which adjoins Opposition Leader Mia Mottley’s St Michael North-East constituency, was to respond to the “mis-truths” told by the Opposition.
He said this month’s FACTS – Flooding All Constituencies with Truths, according to Pilgrim – would tie into a second conference on Sunday at the George Lamming Primary School in Welches, St Michael, which will be addressed by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Minister of Education Ronald Jones, Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo and Blackett during a three-hour session scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
“So the FACTS mission has taken a new dimension today, as we take to the streets of Barbados to tell Barbadians about the truth of what is happening in this country,” Pilgrim stressed.
Blackett narrowly held onto the seat in the 2013 general election, defeating the BLP’s Arthur Holder by 39 votes.
In an immediate response to today’s offensive, the BLP ridiculed the ruling party’s efforts, with General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott contending that pressure from the Opposition had forced the DLP to react in strange ways.
“The pressure of the Barbados Labour Party’s on the road campaign and general canvassing by its team, is forcing the Democratic Labour Party to react in bizarre and unusual fashions,” Walcott stated in a news release.
He said the ruling party had started a “facts propaganda” event, which was “dead on arrival”, even as he took the DLP to task for the “extraordinary step” of streaming today’s canvassing “live” on the state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
“This was a clear sign of desperation, and confirms the BLP’s position that CBC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the DLP party, rather than a Government entity serving the general public,” the BLP official said.
Walcott said the BLP would soon have its say on CBC, an entity that reported a debt of $115 million.
“Instead of being allowed to seek ways to earn money, [CBC] is dragged about and subsumed in the political machinery of the DLP,” he complained, adding that his party would continue its on-the-road and other programmes, “which are being extremely well-received wherever we go”.